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Painful Sex for Women
Causes & Suggestions For Pain During Sex

There are a few reasons that sex can be painful for women and in this article we will review a variety of causes along with suggestions on how to overcome the cause of the pain for a healthy and happy sex life. The most common reasons sex can be painful for women are that the vaginal walls are too tight, dry or tense to allow for penetration. When this occurs, it can cause anything from a slight discomfort to extreme pain and may even cause vaginal tearing and bleeding.

There are some chronic vaginal pain caused by autoimmune related diagnoses such as vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis that are often dismissed by physicians as symptoms of menopause and psychological problems when in fact they are not and many times women are not given solutions that are helpful let alone a factual explanation for what is happening. This article will provide some information that is not commonly reviewed due to the lack of interest in giving women's sexuality the study and attention it deserves.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.


Many people make the assumption that only women who have not had intercourse (virgins) can have pain during sex and related difficulties, however, many women even after having sex for many years or even having had a child can experience these issues. This is especially true for those who have had a Cesarean section, have been sexually inactive or have other health related causes for vaginal pain.

In some cases, there are multiple issues that can contribute to vaginal pain rather than just one cause. This is important for women to understand as they may need to determine and treat all of the factors that are contributing to the pain. For example, if a woman experiences pain from something such as vulvodynia, she may stop having sex because the discomfort level is too high. This in turn can contribute to a woman also developing vaginismus (an involuntary muscular contraction caused by the anticipation of pain). Furthermore, the inactivity of penetration can cause the vaginal opening to re-tighten (especially in women whom have not had intercourse or have had C-sections) causing even more pain when attempted.

One of the most effective tools in a situation like the one explained above is the use of a dilator which provides mild stretching of the vaginal walls to keep them pliable and able to withstand penetration. Using a dilator or speculum can help with any added anticipation of pain as well to prevent the vaginal opening from becoming too tight. In these cases, regular stretching of the vagina is important as inactivity will cause it to revert to a more closed state along with increased pain. It is also encouraged for women to stimulate her clitoris by rubbing it with her finger or even through using a vibrator for clitoral stimulation before using a dilator or speculum as it will help the vagina to dilate and lubricate in preparation for the penetration of the dilator. Finally, it is also important to look at health through medication side effects, allergies and sensitivities, nutritional intake and detoxifying the body which we will explore further in this article.

If the vagina is very tight, using a dilator or speculum should be done daily in small increments using ample lubricant. Full results can take a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the pain, contractions and tightening of the opening and vaginal walls. The good news is that after time, most women have seen remarkable results by using this method to stretch the vaginal opening and walls as well as reduce pain.

Treatments are best done alone without the added sexual pressure of a partner's needs; however, if a woman is comfortable with having her partner there, her partner can help. The important thing is not to have any sexual expectation to ensure she is relaxed. Many women find that doing stretching exercises in a warm bath or shower helps to further relax them.

 

Typical Causes for Vaginal Pain during Sex

There are a variety of things that can cause pain during sex, therefore, it is always a good idea to rule out health issues with a physician first. Examples of things that can cause painful sex-

  • Sexual Inactivity
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Vaginismus
  • Vaginal infections
  • Open or Irritated Cervix
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis
  • Uterine prolapse
  • LSEA
    (Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus)
  • Generalized Vulvodynia
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Dyspareunia
  • Candidiasis (Yeast Infections)
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Intercourse After Surgery
  • STDs
  • Injuries from Childbirth
  • Vaginal Septa
  • Thickened, Undialatable Hymen
  • Hypoplasia of the Introitus
  • Retroverted Uterus
  • Cancer

Pain Caused by Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be caused by variety of factors such as hormone changes, loss of libido, cigarette smoking, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, prescription medications, douching, menopause and more. One of the healthiest natural lubricants is organic coconut oil as it naturally fights against yeast and bacterial infections and is quite effective in providing lubrication. However, be aware that using oil as a lubricant can break down diaphragms, condoms and some sex toys. If you use such items, then it will be best to use a paraben free waterbased lubricant.

Aloe Cadabra - Natural Lubricant

Nutritional Assistance for a Healthy Vagina

Keep in mind that your nutritional intake influences your sexual functioning and if you are experiencing vaginal dryness, you may want to increase your intake of certain foods and supplements. It may be in your best interest to have a full blood analysis done to determine your hormone levels, micronutrient levels and even an anemia / iron panel done to determine what nutrients you are deficient in and what may be contributing to any vaginal discomfort and pain. Do not underestimate the power of what you eat when it comes to your sexual functioning as it can make or break your ability to not only be sexually active but your health in general. For example, one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in pre-menopausal women is an iron deficiency. This can cause heavier periods, increased cramping, loss of sex drive, loss of sexual arousal and lubrication as well as vaginal pain. However, taking an iron supplement if you are not deficient can cause serious health problems; so again, it is a good idea to have your blood work done to review the nutritional issues that may be causing problems.

Here are some examples of food that you may find helpful for vaginal pain-

  • Increase Water Intake - Sometimes vaginal dryness is simply a part of being dehydrated.

  • Nuts, Seeds, Vegetable Oils & Vitamin E - Oils such as these help increase vaginal secretions allowing for more ease in creating natural lubrication. Examples of food that are loaded with healthy oils are raw pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, almonds, pecans, wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds and safflower oil. Seeds are best eaten when they are raw after having been soaked in water for several hours and then dried in a dehydrator to activate the full nutrients of the seeds.

  • Wild Yams - These can increase estrogen levels. Some women use wild yam creams for vaginal dryness.

  • Black Cohosh - Native Americans have long been using Black Cohosh to treat gynecological issues in women. It has known for reducing the frequency as well as the severity of irregular periods, hot flashes, headaches, night sweets, heart palpitations and vaginal dryness

  • Kudzu - Researchers have found that taking this herb in a capsule form helped to alleviate vaginal dryness when taken over a 24 week period.

  • Sea Buckthorn - This is rich in vitamins E, A, and C, minerals, beta-carotene, fatty acids and amino acids; it is used for vaginal dryness as it helps to protect the mucus membranes.

  • Soy - Soy mimics estrogen and has been shown to assist women having perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms from hot flashes to vaginal dryness. There has been controversy about soy and we have put together a helpful article about the health benefits and warnings of soy here.


Pain Caused by the Hymen

In the case of losing one's virginity, the pain is typically caused by the breaking of the hymen, which is a thin layer of skin that covers the vaginal opening. The hymen can cover the vaginal opening a little or a lot and can have multiple openings. Sometimes, the hymen can be completely closed. This is called an imperforate hymen. When this occurs it is important to have a Gynecologist help to open the hymen to allow menstrual blood to be able to drain properly. Signs that a hymen is closed are severe menstrual cramping without any signs of menstrual bleeding as well as not being able to insert a finger or tampon into the vagina. If this is the problem, a Gynecologist can perform a very simple surgery by making an incision to open up the hymen.


Pain Caused by Inactivity

Women may stop being sexually active for a variety of reasons such as a lack of a relationship, illness, surgery, etc. and the longer sex is refrained from the easier it is for the vaginal opening to become tight and resistant to penetration. This is typically and easily overcome by stretching the vaginal opening and ensuring that sufficient lubricant is used. Again, using a dilator or speculum has been shown to help keep the vaginal opening and walls comfortable with penetration.


Pain Caused by Low Estrogen Levels Not Caused by Menopause

Most people assume that low estrogen levels happen only in women who are going through menopause; however, there are other factors that can contribute to low levels. In younger women, this can often be seen in those who partake in excessive exercise, have too little body fat and struggles with an eating disorder. The low levels of estrogen can cause vaginal atrophy (a.k.a. atrophic vaginitis) which is when the vaginal walls become thinner and the surrounding tissue shrinks. It also decreases the production of lubrication and can cause, vaginal itching, soreness, pain during sex and bleeding after sex. Working with your medical professional to balance your hormone levels can be helpful through a variety of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.


Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia can occur at any age and is not related to menopause. It is often misdiagnosed as vaginal dryness, psychological issues and other non-related causes. Vulvodynia is the pain felt in the vaginal area which can feel like itching, nerve pain and burning when touched or stimulated and can be constant or intermittent pain ranging from being mild to excruciating lasting 6 months of longer. The medical community is generally still in the dark as to the cause but some research has suggested that allergies, excessive histamine, autoimmune disease, physical trauma, childbirth, surgery, neurological conditions, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome can trigger the onset.

There are two types of vulvodynia-

Generalized vulvodynia is when a woman feels pain in different areas of the vulva (outside external area of the vagina) at different times. Vulvar pain may be constant or occur on occasion. Pressure against it may make the pain worse and can make sitting, riding a bike and sexual activities painful.

Vulvar vestibulitis is a syndrome where the pain in the entrance (vestibule) inside the vagina. It often is in a patch or band around the vaginal walls and is typically only an inch or two inside the opening. It is often seen as a slightly more pink or red patch and creates a burning sensation when stretched from insertion of tampons, sex toys or penis. It is particularly painful to have sexual penetration with this type of vulvodynia.


Vulvodynia Treatments

Decreasing Pain Through Stretching Exercises

Using a dilator or speculum has been shown to help reduce the intensity of symptoms over time through reports by many of our clients. Typically results are seen after 1- 3 months of using them on a daily basis. Using them in the shower or bath with organic coconut oil is one of the more popular ways to do these stretching exercises. When you use lubricants, we recommend using only waterbased, paraben free lubricants.

While these stretching exercises will help reduce pain, keep your vagina from tightening and allow sex to be less painful we HIGHLY recommend the reevaluation of one's diet with this condition as it can dramatically and quickly deal with many of the autoimmune symptoms women may suffer from when dealing with vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis.

You can also look for other symptoms of excess histamine reactions in the body to determine if this may be a factor within a vulvodynia diagnosis-

  • Itching or pain of the skin especially around the eyes, ears, and nose
  • Hives
  • Tissue swelling especially of the hands, inside of mouth, throat and vagina
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Tachycardia (increased pulse or the feeling of your heart racing)
  • Anxiety and feelings of panic
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (irritated, watery, reddened eyes)
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue, confusion, irritability
  • Small blackouts that last for a few seconds.
  • Heartburn and reflux

In addition, you can look for other symptoms of autoimmune reactions in the body to determine if this may be a factor within a vulvodynia diagnosis. Autoimmune diseases are influenced by a variety of factors such as bacterial or viral infections, prescription and illicit drugs, chemical toxins, environmental pollutants. They most commonly affect the joints and muscles, skin, red blood cells, blood vessels and connective tissue. Here are just a few examples of the over 80 different types of autoimmune diagnoses-

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Graves' Disease
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Vulvodynia and Vulvar Vestibulitis
  • Diabetes (Type 1)
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Vasculitis
  • Lichen Sclerosus
  • Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

 

Fasting to Detoxify & Heal Autoimmune Responses

One of the most annoying things about having vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis is that most articles and doctors will tell you there is little to nothing that can be done. We say that is false, there are some things that you can do and that can give you permanent healing. The good news is that anyone can do it and it is free.

There is a helpful book called Fasting and Eating for Health- A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. that outlines great results through fasting and nutritional changes. To summarize, the book explains that the body reacts against unwanted invaders such as a virus, bacteria and toxins by attempting to attack them and remove them from the body. In these cases, the body reacts with inflammation in a variety of body parts but particularly affected are the skin (through rashes) and the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, sinuses, lungs, vagina and rectum.

For example, vaginitis or prostatitis may be associated with the overgrowth of infectious microbes. However, because most physicians cannot identify these to explain such symptoms they are often unable to help. It certainly explains the lack of knowledge the medical community still has with regard to vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis.

It is fairly typical for vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis patients to end up going to many doctors and getting no help or answers on what can be done. However, Dr. Fuhrman has seen recovery from simply detoxifying the body through fasting and then starting a healthy diet.

His fasting recommendations are 48 hours for women and 72 hours for men while drinking only water during the fast. It is not recommended to fast longer than this unless you are under the care of a physician so that they can determine how your body is handling the fast. However, we always recommend first discussing this with your doctor as some people should not fast unless supervised by their doctor such as AIDS patients. Dr. Fuhrman's book does indicate that some of the more severe cases can fast for 3-5 weeks drinking a minimum of a quart of water per day to see results, but again, this must be doctor supervised. The good news is that these healing results have been shown to be permanent after a fast.

Why fasting? Simply put, it allows your body to detoxify and heal on a level that it cannot when you are eating food because when you eat your body is always applying that cellular energy to digesting and processing food rather than being able to completely heal your body especially with health issues like autoimmune diseases, leaky gut, migraines, heart disease and more. When the body is allowed to put cellular efforts elsewhere it is able to heal itself.

Lisa's Smoothie & Lemonade Tea

For those of you who have been asking me for my green smoothie recipe that I have every morning. I make two servings and have one in the morning and one for lunch so you can half this recipe below if you are going to just make one. To make life easier I already have the powders, hemp seeds, etc. in little Tupperware containers that I fill many of every few weeks to have on hand and make my morning routine easier. I fill my 64 oz blender to the rim with greens which will give you all the greens you need in a day as you can see-


  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Cashew or Almond Milk
  • 1 Large Package of Super Greens
    (Kale, Spinach, Chard, etc.)
  • 1 Package of Frozen Organic Mixed Berries
  • Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder 1 tbsp
  • Sambucus Ultra Concentrated Black Elderberry Extract Syrup 1 tbsp
  • Organic Goji Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Organic Maqui Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Organic Pomegranate Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Organic Hemp Seed Shelled & Raw 1 tsp
  • NuStevia White Stevia™ Pure Extract 1/2 tsp
  • Organic Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Organic Tea White Peony 1/2 tsp

My special tea is very tart and sweet and a pleasure to have throughout the day. To make it I use a blend of Blueberry, Jasmine, Peach tea with freshly squeezed lemons to drink throughout the day as well. I use Stash tea brand and for each container I make I use 3 tea bags blueberry, 2 bags green jasmine tea and 1 peach, mixed with 1 tsp NuStevia™ White Stevia Pure Extract and 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Note- I like intense sweet and sour so you may want to take it down a notch with less lemon juice and stevia if you like a more mild flavor.

Dr. Fuhrman recommends only water during a fast as anything else (such a juice, herbs, vitamins) will keep the body from completely fulfilling the process where the body is able to deplete glycogen reserves and allow the liver to produce large quantities of ketones which simply put helps breakdown fatty tissue and remove atheromas and toxins in the body which may spark reactions like generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis.

If you decide you want to fast, we recommend that you have a plan in place before you begin. This means, discussing this with your doctor, having someone who can monitor you if you need help, making sure that you are able to rest during a fast and that you restrict your activity. Finally we recommend that you have a nutritionally dense diet planned that you follow up with after the fast. It is important that you do not return to eating large amounts right away, that you avoid salt, spicy foods and other things that may upset your stomach after a fast. Having a few bites of watermelon or sipping on a green smoothie are examples of what may be best to start with after a fast.

Important Nutrition Changes

An example of someone with excessive histamine was seen in the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead when the star of the movie Joe Cross had such reactions and was being treated with steroids. After he changed his diet to a healthy one, all symptoms disappeared and he no longer needed medication. This can happen in women and it can affect the vagina as friction to the skin is typically what stimulates the histamine reactions and pain in autoimmune reactions and vaginal penetration is a form of friction. Please note that we do not recommend juicing or juice diets like the one outlined in the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead because the fiber is important to consume so blending smoothies is better when you want to drink your food. We highly recommend green smoothies (using dark leafy greens and berries) at least once a day.

Foods that are particularly powerful and negative in the way they impact autoimmune and histamine levels are cheeses, vinegar, alcohol, pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut, fermented soy and processed meats such a lunch meats, hot dogs, etc. In addition to diet, looking at any medications one is taking is important as common pain killers such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as well as some antibiotics, diuretics, and antidepressants can affect histamine levels.

The general approach to healthy eating is making sure to eat nutrient dense foods to provide your body with the fuel it needs to not just survive but thrive. The most honest, fact and science based books that we recommend are any of those written by Joel Fuhrman M.D. We recommend the book Super Immunity for those looking to improve their health and Eat to Live and The End of Dieting for those looking to improve health and lose weight. There is also a great cookbook that he has (although there are recipes in the back of most of his books) called The Eat to Live Cookbook. Those who are familiar with Dr. Fuhrman's work know he calls eating this way being a nutritarian and primarily recommends eating greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds or as he likes to use the acronym - GBOMBS.

Another author we highly recommend is Michael Greger, M.D. whose book How Not To Die is exceptional and quite informative. He also has a great website called nutritionfacts.org for nutritional information.

 

To summarize, using a dilator, changing your diet and using fasting as a tool may be the best and most permanent ways to heal vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis.


Vaginismus Picture- Tight Vagina Causing Painful Sex

The diagram above shows the tightening of the pelvic floor muscles which result in extreme tightness of the vagina. This in turn causes painful sex and in some very extreme cases can make it impossible to penetrate the vaginal opening.

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Vaginismus

Vaginismus causes a great deal of pain for the woman that has it and is caused by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina. It makes for painful sex and makes vaginal penetration extremely challenging. We will spend some time covering this in this article as it can often become a secondary reason why a woman has painful sex. As mentioned before, she may have something that initially causes the pain that goes away or is ongoing but later also develops vaginismus because of the initial pain.

The good news is that it is easy to treat and the rate of successful treatment is very high. It does require stretching exercises and they are imperative in order to treat this medical condition.

Below you can review the causes as well as how to easily treat Vaginismus along with some helpful products we carry that can help with the stretching exercises. If you or someone you love suffers from vaginismus, please know that there is no reason why you cannot have a great sex life and overcome this medical problem.

Vaginismus is a main cause of sexless and unconsummated relationships. The tightening of the pelvic muscles cause the vaginal opening to become painfully tight and in some cases impenetrable. A woman, in the case of vaginismus, cannot control the tightness as it is an involuntary response.

In fact, a woman may not even know it is happening until she attempts to have sexual intercourse, insert a tampon or sex toy. When this happens, the pain from penetration is often a combination of a dull muscle ache along with mild to intense burning and stinging where the friction is occurring. The pain goes away shortly after intercourse or penetration ceases. It can be an ongoing condition that has to be regularly treated, however, it can also be treated and sometimes go away afterward. It can happen to any woman, even those who have had children by means of vaginal birth.

Vaginismus Physical Causes

Vaginismus is a medical condition. It has various possible causes as well as things that may influence its development as shown below. However, there is currently not a complete understanding on what specifically causes it.

We feel strongly that the medical community should do further research on this sexual disorder that affects so many women and are encouraging this to occur through medical practitioners as well as helping sex toy manufacturers to provide more helpful products for this condition.


Possible Medical Causes
Urinary tract infections or urination problems, yeast infections, sexually transmitted diseases, Endometriosis, genital or pelvic tumors, cysts, cancer, vulvodynia / vestibulodynia, pelvic inflammatory disease, lichen planus, lichen sclerosus, eczema, psoriasis, vaginal prolapse, pelvic scarring, gastrointestinal disorders and more.
Age Related Changes
Menopause and hormonal changes, vaginal dryness / inadequate lubrication, vaginal atrophy
Child Birth
Pain from normal or difficult vaginal deliveries and complications, c-sections, miscarriages, etc.
Pelvic Trauma
Any type of pelvic surgery, difficult pelvic examinations, or other pelvic trauma.
Medications
Side-effects may cause pelvic pain.


Vaginismus Psychological Influences


While vaginismus is a medical condition, in some cases it can be brought on by psychological stressors. Some of the various psychological causes are as shown below-

Fear
Fear or anticipation of intercourse pain, fear of not being completely physically healed following pelvic trauma, fear of tissue damage (i.e.. "Being torn"), fear of getting pregnant, concern that a pelvic medical problem may reoccur, etc.
Anxiety or Stress
General anxiety, performance pressures, previous unpleasant sexual experiences, negativity toward sex, guilt, emotional traumas, or other unhealthy sexual emotions
Child Birth
Pain from normal or difficult vaginal deliveries and complications, c-sections, miscarriages, etc.
Pelvic Trauma
Any type of pelvic surgery, difficult pelvic examinations, or other pelvic trauma
Abuse
Physical attack, rape, sexual/physical abuse or assault
Partner Issues
Abuse, emotional detachment, fear of commitment, distrust, anxiety about being vulnerable, losing control, etc.
Sexual Assault & Abuse
Past emotional/sexual abuse, witness of violence or abuse, repressed memories
Trauma
Overly rigid parenting, unbalanced religious teaching (i.e.."Sex is BAD"), exposure to shocking sexual imagery, inadequate sex education.


Myths Regarding Vaginismus

Comes From Being Frigid
Women who are having pain during sex are not frigid, and are experiencing a real medical condition.
It Will Go Away
Vaginismus will not go away on its own and does require treatment. The sooner the better, as it will get worse if left untreated. The most important thing to understand is that this is an treatable condition and there are many women that have it and have overcome it.
Just Relaxing Will Help
Changing one's diet, relaxing through mediation, drinking a glass of wine and even getting stimulated sexually will not make vaginismus go away. While relaxing during sex is always a great idea, this will not affect the muscles strong contraction as this is a medical condition not a psychological one.
Sex Is Supposed To Hurt
Sex should not cause unwanted pain (unless it is the first time) and the hymen is being stretched or ripped for the first time. If sex is painful on an ongoing basis, there is something wrong and symptoms should be explored to determine what is going on. Sex should be pleasurable.
Keep Trying To Have Sex Despite The Pain
If you try and keep having sex without stretching and working through this condition you will only traumatize the vagina and cause a psychological resistance to sexual intercourse. It is important to stop sexual intercourse until you can stretch the vaginal muscles enough that it is comfortable.
Women Who Have It Have Been Sexually Abused
This is a myth as many women with no history of sexual abuse have vaginismus. It is not a psychological condition, it is a physical condition, that while be impacted by psychological conditions is not caused by them.
My Partner Is Too Big
Even if your partner is well endowed, it should not cause ongoing pain, difficult entry and even bleeding after an initial acclimation period. With vaginismus it will often be difficult for a man to even enter the vagina without pain and that pain will continue once he has entered.
Surgery Is The Answer
Absolutely not. Vaginismus cannot be corrected by surgery as it is muscle contractions that cause it. There are some surgeries that can correct a firm or thick hymen or other malformation of the vaginal opening, but vaginismus is not one of them.


Treatment

Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

The key to treatment is to stretch the vaginal walls gradually. Here are suggestions on how to do that-

  • Use one's lubricated finger to push slowly around the tight opening with a firm, but not overwhelming push. Think of it as through you are giving a pleasant massage. Pushing around in circles can be helpful at first and then introducing two fingers slowly and pushing in circles is a good idea.

  • You can also use sex toys that are specifically geared toward gradual opening of the vagina as shown below. Using the graduated dildos, speculums and balloons help the pressure against the contracted muscles not feel overwhelming or painful. Products shown at bottom of the page.

  • If tightness comes back, keep stretching to relieve the symptoms.

  • Using a dilator or speculum can help with any added anticipation of pain as well to prevent the vaginal opening from becoming too tight.

Go Slowly

Do not go into stretching exercises with the goal of having sexual intercourse right afterward until you have done it a few times, especially if the vaginismus is severe. This will put unnecessary psychological pressure on the woman and may inhibit the stretching process.

Make sure to communicate with your partner what feels uncomfortable and back off when there is pain.

 

Relax

While just relaxing will not make vaginismus go away; it can help in the stretching process. Using things that help you relax, like a massage, a hot bath, music, meditation, a glass of wine, etc. are excellent in helping the treatment to be successful.

 

Vagina Therapy

Stretching pelvic muscles through pelvic floor physical therapy, gynecologic visceral manipulation, abdominal massage therapy and acupuncture. A helpful site in finding a practitioner is womenshealthapta.org

 

Nutrition

Some of the issues women can experience with vaginal discomfort can be improved through better nutrition. A book we highly recommend for healthy eating is by Joel Fuhrman M.D. called Eat for Health as it talks about what really matters when it comes to nutrition.

 

Additional Tips

Switch to a hypoallergenic laundry detergent, cotton panties and that you cut back on caffeine so you urinate less often and irritate your vulva less.

 

Vaginal Stretching

In addition to massage techniques that can relax the surrounding muscles in the legs, hips and abdomen you can relax your Kegel (PC) muscles as well. Here are some tips on how to do that-

  • Allow yourself to do this in a relaxed setting such as your bedroom or even in a nice bath
  • While your bladder is empty, tighten your Kegel muscles as if you were trying to stop urinating
  • Hold and count to three
  • Relax and stop squeezing
  • Repeat 10 times
  • With your finger separate your vaginal lips (inner labia)
  • Apply either a paraben free lubricant or organic coconut oil to the outside to make penetration easier
  • Relax, breathe and take your time inserting your finger, dilator or dildo that you wish to use
  • Make sure to start with something small and that which you are comfortable
  • The goal is to get used to insertion not to begin stretching initially
  • Squeeze the PC muscles and tighten around your finger, dilator or dildo
  • Relax and stop squeezing
  • Wiggle it gently side to side
  • Repeat 10 times
  • If squeezing causes pain, then simply insert your finger, dilator or dildo and just allow it to stay in place until you feel relaxed and it is comfortable to have it inside you.

Once you have done this for a week, move up in size by adding another finger, using a larger part of your dilator or a larger dildo. It make take several weeks before you are comfortable enough to move up in sizes, but take your time and do not put pressure on yourself psychologically to move faster than your body is ready. Play relaxing music, do it by candle light or whatever else may relax you during these sessions. Allow yourself to listen to your body and let this time be about healing for yourself. For this reason we recommend doing these exercises alone as having a partner present can be distracting and put unnecessary pressure on you to perform and improve.

 

 

    Helpful Products    

Below are general categories for helpful products so please take time to review why they are helpful and what they can do for you. In addition, we will also list specifically some of the products we recommend to tackle painful vaginal penetration step-by-step and how to use those products to help get you back in the saddle again.

       
Vaginal Dilator
Intimate Organics Defense Lubricant
K-Balls- Kegel Exercise Products By Ophoria
Vibrators
These help to gently stretch stressed vaginal muscles and allow for the vaginal walls to relax and gradually make sex less painful and more enjoyable. Make sure that you are not only using lubricants that are nontoxic but ones that can actually providing healing and promote increased vaginal health. These can be used on a daily basis. Improving the strength of Kegel muscles helps to improve vaginal functioning, sexual arousal and slows down the affects of vaginal aging. These help to increase blood flow the the vaginal area and increases healing and sexual arousal and greatly assist in helping with painful sex.
       
   
LELO Sex Toy Cleaner
Bedroom Gear- Sexual Products
Keeping sex toys cleans helps to prevent bacteria and painful Urinary Tract Infections. Using sex position pillows can assist in making sexual intimacy more comfortable, especially when there are issues like - arthritis, joint pain, back pain and other issues related to aging or a disability.
   

 

Step-by-Step Guide for Overcomng Painful Sex

Choosing A Dilator:

One of the best places to start is with a dilator to help get you stretched and more comfortable with penetration. The dilator that we most recommend is the Inspire which is made with a soft yet firm silicone and features five sizes with the smallest being about the size of your pinkie finger. It does not vibrate, rather these are shafts that you simply insert for vaginal stretching. They are great as they have a taped end that allows for easy insertion and a slight curve to fit you more naturally.

 

Vaginal Dilator for Painful Sex

Choosing A Vibrator:

The second thing to address with painful sex is often the accompaniment of low sex drive, lack of blood flow to the vaginal area and loss of the ability to climax easily. There are a few products we recommend and they are all vibrators as these can dramatically increase blood flow.

You can choose from clitoral vibrators, gspot vibrators and even dual stimulating vibrators. If you want our recommendation for two of our best dual stimulating vibrators the Denia and Rosa are really amazing.

If you are having difficulty having an orgasms even with the help of a vibrator, than you may want to explore the Womanizer as a unique and powerful option.

 

 
L'amourouse
Lamourose Rosa

Choosing Nutrition:

The third way to tackle painful sex is through nutrition. Please do not underestimate how drastically nutrition can affect things like autoimmune issues and hormone imbalances in the body that directly affect your ability to have pain free sex but to also enjoy it. As mentioned above the most honest, fact and science based books that we recommend are any of those written by Joel Fuhrman M.D. We recommend the book Super Immunity for those looking to improve their health and Eat to Live and The End of Dieting for those looking to improve health and lose weight. Also, Dr. Michael Greger who has a site called NutritionFacts.org and a book called How Not to Die is a really great resource.

 



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