Monday, June 08, 2009

Sex advice for the nervous.

Our question comes from the fabulous Apprehensive who says,

I'm a long-time lurker on your blog, and I was wondering if you could help me with an issue I'm confronting in my sex life.

I'm a female college student, and I am with a new boyfriend, whom I love. We have fooled around a fair amount, and it's been lovely. Right now, we're apart for the summer, but once we get back on campus in the fall, we want to give intercourse a try.

My boyfriend is completely inexperienced and naive, and I feel a certain responsibility to guide him, and make sure he has a good experience. At the same time, I'm quite concerned that I might have difficulties with intercourse.

I've had a variety of sexual relationships, many of them quite wonderful. But while I do find penetration pleasurable, it hurts! It doesn't seem to matter whom I'm with, or that they--or I--do.

I don't think I have vaginismus or some similar condition, since I can handle finger penetration just fine. But try and stick anything large in there, and things go horribly wrong.

I love my boyfriend, and I want his first experience with intercourse to be relaxed, fun, and all-around positive. I know he would be mortified by the thought of hurting me. But I feel that I need to address this issue with him, so that I don't end up suffering through more painful, unsatisfying sex.

Any help or advice would be WONDERFUL.

Thank-you so much!

Oookay my darling.

First of all you sound like an awesome partner for someone to have for their first time. And I will tell you that most likely your boyfriend is going to be so excited about doing it for the first time that wonderful or not, it's going to be a bit overwhelming and kinda like OH MY GOD SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEX and he's done.

That's fine and normal.

As far as guidance goes, for those first few times make sure that a.) he's not going all buck wild and poking you in the butt if you don't want that and b.) he's not going all buck wild and trying to get in there too soon. Be gentle but firm.

Now as for you I would ask you a few questions.

Have you been checked out by a gynecologist regularly?
Have you or do you penetrate yourself with toys or your fingers?

Now that second question I ask because all of us vagina having people, our vaginas while basically the same are not all the same. If you don't already penetrate yourself here is what I suggest.

Take some time by yourself while you're feeling good and explore the shape of your vagina with your fingers.

Next thing think about past sexual experiences that were pleasant. Do you feel pain or soreness from similar positions? Have you been with fellows endowed with the big peen?

Both of these things can cause soreness and pain during or after having penetrative sex.

And that brings me to my next question, are you experiencing pain during intercourse or are you sore after?

If you start to get sore during this could come from a lot of things. You and your partner might need lube. Or you may need to switch positions. If you're having pain high up, your partners penis can be hitting your cervix and that can hurt (albeit sometimes in a pleasurable OH THAT'S AWESOME way).

If you're sore after I say again you might need lube or to explore different positions. You also might need a break. There is nothing wrong with calling a mid sex time out for the home team. Just remember not to forget your partner during said time out.

Being that you're fairly certain you don't have vaginismus I will recommend some stuff that can help treat that, and that may help you.

Masturbate a lot. This goes back to the putting your own fingers inside yourself but try buying a smallish toy. Maybe start with something a bit smaller than whatever penis you're used to. This way you can take some time to figure out at what point you're experiencing discomfort before it turns into pain.

Also you can figure out if you're having lubrication issues, if maybe one angle of penetration is more painful for you than another.

Try doing some some Kegel Exercises.

I fucking love Kegel's like whoa.

Now the awesome things about these is aside from being able to proclaim that you have a Pussy of Might, you will learn how the different areas of muscles feel and how to relax them. Think of it as yoga for your crotch.

Here is a reasonably decent explanation of the how to do Kegel's. And despite how clinical that reads lemme give you some real talk scoop.

Once you have good PC muscle control it is possible to get yourself quite aroused without touching yourself and where ever you want. This is a great thing for those of us who are slow to arousal or have libido issues.

You can also learn to use your PC muscles during sex to help yourself get to orgasm which not only feels awesome for you, can be an awesome HOLY SHIT PUSSY IS AWESOME AND MIGHTY moment for your partner as well.

If you're planning on having kids I have heard that having exercised PC muscles can assist in childbirth. That I have not done the field research on cause that's not how I roll but it's what I hear.

Strong PC muscles can also (as the instructions above say) help to not be incontinent as you get older or after childbirth. Also awesome.

Boys, don't think you are being ignored. PC muscles can help you maintain erections if you have trouble with that, they can so I hear make a difference in what you're feeling. Also boys I know how you are and penis tricks can be really amusing. I will admit, sometimes (okay fairly often) I think silly peenor tricks are funny.

Back to you Apprehensive.

I suggest spending some time this summer working this out for yourself. Not for your partner but for you.

And my darling report back, do some experimenting and let me know how you're doing or if you need some more help. Also and I am sorry to be bossy baby but I demand you go to your girly doctor and get totally checked out.

I'm afraid I must insist.

And if you can't afford your regular doc go to Planned Parenthood or find a low cost/sliding scale clinic in your area. Your ladyparts must be looked after or they will rebel.

Now folks here's where I turn it over to my awesome readers of fantasticness. Have you had experience with these issues? Can you offer our darling Apprehensive a word of wisdom or understanding? Oh I know you can.

And one more thing before I flitter off to eat delicious soup, Will, my Virgin friend, Canelle (yikes off the top of my head I am not awesome) all you folks who have written how are you doing? Yes I do really want to know. Leave a comment or send me a note.

Okay that's all homies.

Tomorrow an awesome fashion question. Also An outfit post from yours truly.

And as always if there is anything, no I mean anything you want to ask me that you think I might know. Ask away. Even if you feel dumb or weird ask me anyway and give yourself a silly moniker while you do it.

Homo out.


Anonymous said...

I had a good friend in problem with a similar experience-- small penetration was fine but penis and toy was painful AND she got frequent bladder infections after intercourse. she *finally* went to the damned gyno after much insistence from friends, and it turned out she had a very strong hymen and intercourse was stretching out and going into her urinary tract! holy shit! the doctor surgically removed the hymen and stitched her poor urinary tract back tighter, and after a round of antibiotics and no sex for her u-track, she finally got to enjoy penetration!

Anonymous said...

apprehensive- i was in the same position as you, so don't worry! sex used to be hard for me-like, my boyfriend couldn't get 'in' sometimes, and i'd be sore afterwards.
for me it was just a matter of trying to relax, going slowly, using lube, and getting used to penetration. i would suggest buying a small toy-a vibrator is really what did it for me. after you practice with that and figure out what feels good, it helps you get used to it. although i would also definitely check yourself out at the gyno! good luck.

Anonymous said...

Is the pain sharp and high up near your belly, or is it the actual stretching of the skin around your opening that hurts? If it's the first, then it's likely more related to your cervix - I get pain if my cervix is "bumped" at a certain angle during intercourse, but, to complicate things, my cervix is less likely to hurt if the penetrating object (hand, penis, vibrator etc) is wider. Also, every woman is different and some of us have *shorter* vaginal canals than others, which sounds horrible but is perfectly normal. I'm a bit on the short side as far as I can tell, and experience pain or discomfort on occasion and in certain positions, and it used to make me feel very self-conscious until I learned there's no reason to feel that way. Everybody's different.

That said, you still want to be able to do the penetration thing! For me it had a lot to do with finding appropriate positions (and more importantly, the confidence and self-assurance to be able to address that with my sexual partners, to actually say during sex "this is really hot but it kinda hurts, I'd love it if we could see if this works, or this." Hint: most people love it when their partner is vocal and makes suggestions/asks questions, it's sexy. But it can take a lot of courage.)

Have you experimented with different "widths" in terms of penetration? Sounds sort of weird I know - especially if you don't own like 10 vibrators or sex-toys of varying widths, what are you going to use, right? (Obviously nothing harmful, within the realm of common sense etc.) But if you experiment maybe with more fingers, or like some others have said going reeeally slow with penetration, to see just *where* the pain starts (assuming you haven't tried that already.) I personally am less likely to feel cervix-related pain if the rest of my vaginal canal is being stretched sufficiently - I've been with guys who had shorter penises, but I experienced sharper pain, because they were also *slimmer* penises - whereas more length can be offset by width, for me anyway. I don't know if that makes any sense!

I used to get quite a bit of pain around the opening of my vagina, too, but that was when I was a teenager who knew almost nothing about sex, with a boyfriend who knew less :/ I wasn't physically aroused when penetration was attempted, which meant no lubrication and no muscle relaxation, no swelling of the labia to provide that wonderful cushioning etc - it stung, a lot, and of course when it hurts like that, your vagina reflexively tightens even more. Ouch. So, lots of foreplay, even massage can help to relax around your legs/lower back/stomach, lots of lube, lots of deep breathing too.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

When I first started having sex, I had pain the first few times just from being unfamiliar with having a penis in there and my partner is very large. What helped me is being on top. I found that being able to control things really helped me find pleasure in sex. Also at that angle I was able to touch myself and bring myself pleasure that way. Plus he thought that it was really hot and a testament to how good a lover he is. We also got a vibrator to use during sex and that was a god send. The G-spot ones stay where they're put so they can be ridden and they have adjustable speed.

This is going to sound stupid, but watch your posture while in doggy. I find that if I slouch he hits my cervix and it hurts but if I keep my back arched he hits something that feels really really good.

Also don't be afraid to speak up! It is in your partner's vested interest to make sure that you are having as much fun as he is. Men are notoriously obtuse and he will think that as long as he is enjoying himself you are too. Good luck!

Sara A.

mccn said...

You have a lot of good advice already - I totally agree first of all in terms of both lube and kegels - having some extra slide has, for me, made things that were previously painful or just not great into really tingly-amazing things, and the kegels help me to position him inside me in a more comfortable way (not to mention, he appreciates the extra grip, as he puts it).

I know that if my partner and I try to do the traditional "man in girl" thing in one of two situations, it won't work - one of these, would be right after I just orgasmed, and the other would be, if I'm really nervous or uptight about something. In both situations, I am clenching my muscles, and it's hard for him to slide in there, and it's not fun for me - sometimes painful, but sometimes just this-isn't-working-whats-on-TV not fun. I can try to think myself into relaxing them, but it doesn't always work. So one thing we do in those situations is to play around a while. He'll touch me on the outside, or other places I"m really sensitive, he gets excited, I get excited, and eventually the muscles start relaxing on their own. I'm not saying this is going to solve all your problems, but the distraction-for-a-while could help a bit.

Finally, do go to a doc or PP or someone just to see how things lay in there. We should do it when we're sexually active, in any case. But the second time I went to an OB, she mentioned that I have a bit of unusual positioning inside, and so I'll want to tilt my hips at an angle, and she showed me how, for penetration to be more fun. And I have to tell you, it changed my (sex) life. Don't be afraid to mention what's going on with you, and the doc may have some ideas!

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this happens to me too. (It also doesn't help that my first time wasn't consensual, so now I get tense and nervous whenever anything comes at my vagina. Tampons have never been a happy experience for me.) But I talked to my gynecologist, who said that the pain comes from the penetrative object tearing vaginal tissue.

She recommended an old midwife's trick apparently used to help women prepare themselves for childbirth: rub olive oil on your vagina and stretch it a little so that the tissue doesn't tear as easily. She said to do this every day or two for a couple weeks in advance, so if you decide you want to try this it's something you could do before you go back to school.

I haven't tried it (I kind of want a second opinion before I start sticking olive oil into orifices other than my mouth, plus I'm kind of paranoid and worry that too much oil residue will have a bad effect on any latex condoms I use), but it's something to look into.

I also asked a couple of friends for advice, and it turned out they'd had similar problems. They recommended that I use LOTS of lube, have lots of foreplay so that I'd be relaxed and turned on, and that being on top felt more comfortable at first, since they could control the angle, and the pressure. Once they became more comfortable with sex in general, they tried different positions without any problems.

All of the other tips sound great. When I start having sex again, I'll probably come back and take advantage of everyone's terrific advice. I hope all of this helps!

Virgin! said...

Hey Shannon, You are like the sweetest thing to still have thought of me after all these months and your own busy life. I knew I liked you for a reason! ;)
Well, so far nothing physical, not even a first kiss. Buut, I did go out on a date with a dude who is really into me (and a long time friend) and I thought I'd give him a shot but I just couldn't bear him touching me, I had a visceral negative reaction, and so I tried to like him back but it didn't work out. I currently though have an unrequited love interest with another dude so thats always fun. :/
But I think maybe now I believe that I am capable of being loved and able to love in return (even though unrequited on both ends so far, oh well).
But, I am fine in pretty much every other way and I read you daily to keep up on you and your advice which I always find interesting.
Thanks for being well, you I guess as corny as that sounds. It really means a lot. You continue to give advice like a big sister, one that I never had. :)

Pickle said...


I was one of those women with a supertuff hymen. I couldn't work out what I was doing wrong - I enjoyed the thought of sex, I enjoyed masturbation and fingers, but my lovers couldn't get in very far and it hurt like hell.

I went to an ordinary doctor first, and she thought I would probably need a small operation to remove my hyment. Instead, the gynecologist she recommended gave me a set of ugly plastic tubes, which I had to lubricate and insert for a few minutes a few times a day. Initially I could only fit the littlest one in, but worked up to something the size of a reasonable penis. Anyway, it was all very unsexy to a 20 year old girl, but it was painless, and I was having great sex in a month.

I was told that for other people the hymen is unflexible or can be scarred - you might be able to fit a penis up there, but the remaining tissue will cause pain unless removed.

Maybe whats hurting for you might not be so easy to fix as it was for me, but a gynecologist should be able to tell you something that can help out.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of great advice! I'm just going to emphasize going to the gyno because I had a lot of pain once with a partner; I was experienced and knew it wasn't normal, so I popped along to PP (wonderful people btw) and they found I had a cervical infection. Antibiotics cleared it up. Anyway, only a penis was long enough to get to the cervix and hurt, so something similar could be affecting you.

Anonymous said...

I need help. I've had sex once before(kinda of) and I know my hole is like broken and stuff.. but when I try to have sex with other people it hurts. I think I have a really weird angle that my first time's penis went into me so now its hard for other people to do it? maybe? I need help!!! I also think I'm having trouble getting wet enough for sex PLEASE HELP

sasha said...

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