Q. Why does it hurt during sex?

Answered by
Dr. Parth Singh
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
Published on Jan 15, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am a 26-year-old female. I experience pain during intercourse. The moment the penis is inserted I feel my muscles contract and then it feels painful. And due to this, I am unable to have sex with my partner. Also, I feel there is dryness in my vagina. Please help.

Also, I have genital herpes. And I fear sex because I do not want to trigger the symptoms or eruptions again. I take Acivir for this.

Dr. Parth Singh

Psychiatry Psychologist/ Counsellor Sexology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

You probably are suffering from a condition known as vaginismus. It is characterized by involuntary spasm of pelvic muscles around the vagina making it almost impossible to penetrate. The condition is usually related to conscious or unconscious anxieties about having sex. Sexual abuse during childhood, sexual harassment, and feelings of dislike and disgust towards sex and sexual partner are the issues commonly associated with it but it can occur in the absence of any such history.

Another common cause of painful sex is PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), a condition caused by infection of internal reproductive organs. Signs and symptoms include painful sex, abnormal vaginal discharge, and chronic lower backache. In case of vaginismus, the patients are symptom-free while not having sex. i.e. pain occurs only during sex. The treatment includes relaxation techniques like systematic desensitization and progressive muscular relaxation. The goal is to get comfortable with penetration. Here is what you can do:

First, do Kegel exercises by squeezing the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine when urinating. Squeeze the muscles. Hold for two to ten seconds then relax the muscles. Do about 20 Kegels at a time. You can do them as many times a day as you want to. After a few days, insert one finger, up to about the first knuckle joint, inside the vagina while doing the exercises. Use any lubricant while doing it.

Start with one finger and work your way up to three. You will feel the muscles of vagina contracting around your finger, and you can always take your finger out if you are not comfortable. This way you can teach your nervous system not to contract vaginal muscles while penetration.

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