By Molly Triffin
Sex is supposed to be the most ecstatic sensation on the planet. So of course you'd be worried, not to mention frustrated as hell, if it doesn't feel amazing. Sometimes your discomfort can signal a medical condition (if an issue appears out of the blue, is persistent, or just doesn't feel right to you, see your gyno), but often there's a relatively simple trigger-and fix. Deborah Coady, MD, author of Healing Painful Sex and founder of healingpainfulsex.com, lays out how to score the pleasure you deserve.
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The dude's hung like a horse. If his anaconda feels like it's tearing you, the first thing to do is spend lots of time on foreplay. The more turned on you are, the more relaxed your muscles become-plus your vagina expands when you're aroused. Have your guy gently massage the sides and base of your vagina, using downward pressure (avoid the top of your V-zone). When he does enter you, use lube and go sloooow. Since the most sensitive area is the rim of the vagina, stick to a rocking motion instead of thrusting. Another thing you can try to get accustomed to his bulge? Every other day, insert a vibrator for 15 minutes. Lelo makes vibes in a variety of sizes so you can choose one that's right for you.
You're a slave to your computer. Sitting for extended periods cramps up your pelvic floor muscles, decreases blood flow to your V-zone, and inflames below-the-belt nerves…all of which contribute to discomfort during a sack sesh later on. Every 20 minutes or so, make a point to walk around and stretch your muscles a little-like head to the bathroom or get a glass of water.
Skinny jeans aren't your BFF. A rising number of women are reporting clitoris irritation, thanks to chafing from too-tight pants. Take a hiatus from your favorite skinnies, and soothe the area by applying a natural oil once or twice a day-try pure vitamin E, olive or coconut oil, or aquaphor.
He manscapes. Hey, we appreciate a guy who grooms his groin, but those sharp little hairs can scratch the tender skin surrounding your vagina. To soften his scruff, treat him to a sexy massage using massage oil.
The Sahara's got nothing on you. Lack of lubrication is one of the top reasons why women experience pain during sex, and there are several possibilities why you might not be wet down below. Estrogen dips the first few days after your period, triggering a decline in lubrication; The Pill can dry you out because you aren't experiencing the estrogen surges of a natural cycle; plus some women tend to have drier skin in general. Of course, the most common explanation is lack of arousal-so definitely don't skimp on the foreplay, and supplement with lube when need be.
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That huge project is due tomorrow. Your vajay muscles are extremely responsive to stress, and if you're worried about something, they'll constrict…which leads to discomfort during intercourse. Another pelvic floor tension trigger is working out-sports like spinning, ballet, and horseback riding encourage those muscles to clench. Spend some time relaxing before sex, to take your mind off everything: Take a walk, bake some cookies, or have your guy rub your feet. Also try laying a warm washcloth over your pelvis or spending time with your vibe. Not only is arousal a natural muscle relaxant, but the vibrations are like a mini massage.
Things are, ahem, stopped up. Full bowels create a ton of pressure on your pelvic floor, and as a result, sex won't feel good. So eat plenty of vegetables and exercise regularly to keep things moving. On the flip-side, Montezuma's revenge can also be an issue. Your back door is so close to your vagina that when it's irritated, your V-zone might feel sore by proxy. Avoid over-wiping (it can cause tiny cracks in your skin) and smooth a natural oil over the area.
It was 2-for-1 margarita night. Drinking alcohol or caffeine or eating a spicy meal can irritate your bladder, which could make you feel like you have to pee during sex. Make sure to use the bathroom before getting busy.
You're PMS-ing. There's swelling in your uterus right before your period, so you're much more sensitive to his movements, and thrusting can make your cervix cramp up. Plus, some women experience heightened sensitivity in their ovaries post-ovulation. (If you feel pain on one side of your abdomen during sex, that might be why.) Stick to girl-on-top positions so that you can control the angle and depth of penetration, avoiding any ouchy spots.
It's five below outside. You know that cold, dry weather can make your hands and lips dry and flaky. Well, the same goes for south-of-the-border skin. Combined with hot showers and scratchy TP, it makes sense that you'd need extra moisture down there to prevent your vaginal tissue from getting dry and cracked-and rendering sex not-very-fun. Once or twice a day, apply some of the natural oils mentioned before to your V-zone and inner thighs.
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You ran 10 miles yesterday. Your vaginal muscles are connected to muscles in your hips, legs, and back-they're all part of the same network. So if you pull a hamstring, fall on your butt, or throw out your back, it can consequently create tension or nerve irritation in your pelvic floor. Once you fix the injury (via stretching, ice packs, heat, etc.), sex should feel better, too.
He's hitting your g-spot. The G can bring you big-time bliss…but might also make you feel like you have to pee. You won't, trust us, but if it's uncomfortable, switch positions.
You got a Brazilian. Shaving and waxing can irritate some women (particularly if you have fair skin, or are a natural blonde or redhead). Moisturize the inflamed area with a natural oil, and avoid creams containing propylene glycol, a preservative that many people are sensitive to. If you just have a couple of killer in-growns, apply a warm compress followed by some bacitracin to help release them. If you have tiny pustules all over, it's best to let them heal on their own. And in the future, opt for laser hair removal or trim your pubes with blunt-tip scissors instead.
So, you're allergic to sea urchin. Because your V-zone has so many mucous membranes, allergic reactions might only show up down there. If you're experiencing itchiness, swelling, or burning during sex, ask yourself whether you've eaten anything different lately, slept in a bed with pet hair, taken a new med or supplement, or used a product like a douche or scented tampon. If the symptoms don't calm down within a day or so, call your gyno to rule out a yeast infection.
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