It is more common than you might think for women to experience painful sex. Approximately 75 percent of women experience pain during or after sex at some point in their lives1. Because of the stigma around this issue, your partner might be hesitant to approach you about this.

Painful sex may be related to a condition called vaginismus, which is the involuntary tightening of vaginal muscles. While the tightening of the muscles itself might not be painful, pain can occur with attempted penetration. If your partner does indeed have vaginismus, you may be able to work together to make intercourse less painful.

Painful Sex Can Take its Toll on a Relationship

If neither you nor your partner addresses the issue of painful penetration, it can lead to problems in your relationship. One or both of you may decide just to have less sex since it causes pain, leading to unresolved tension about this issue in your relationship.

If you don’t discuss painful intercourse or work together to seek relief from the discomfort or pain, both of you may expect sex to be painful, which can then lead to avoidance of sex altogether. While the first step is communicating with your partner, you may also feel comfortable enough to look into options that empower you both to find ways to feel less pain during intercourse.

What Can I Do To Help Make Sex More Comfortable?

While your partner should talk to their healthcare provider to see if they have any medical conditions that cause sex to be painful, there are a few things you can try together to make sex more comfortable for both of you.

Maybe a little Foreplay

Foreplay is about more than just getting each other in the mood. It also stimulates lubrication of the vagina for penetration2. If you two only engage in a  short amount of foreplay before sex, then you may not be giving your partner’s body enough time to prepare for intercourse. Try to incorporate at least ten minutes of intimate foreplay before you progress to attempting penetrative sex.

Or a little bit of Lubricant

Are you using lubrication, or just relying on your partner’s body to generate enough lubricant on its own? Sometimes dryness can contribute to painful sex, so lube can be a great solution. Try using lubricant after you finish foreplay and before you start penetration, and use more throughout intercourse as necessary.

There’s also Dilation

If you learn the cause of your partner’s painful sex is vaginismus, dilation therapy may be a treatment option. The Milli Vaginal Dilator can be used for dilation for an examination (by your healthcare provider), in preparation for a surgical procedure or to help relieve the symptoms of vaginismus (condition that involves tightening of the vaginal muscles) and related painful sex (dyspareunia)