Q&A: Painful Intercourse in the First Year

At times a couple who has waited to have sex until marriage will leave their wedding expecting that there will be some minor pain and discomfort for the woman associated with having intercourse. Unfortunately for some women the pain is much more severe and more difficult to overcome.

We received the following question from a newly wedded couple:

We have been married for about 6 months and we don’t have intercourse very often because of the severe pain that my wife goes through. We recently went to a highly recommended gynecologist and she said that every thing was normal and suggested we changed birth controls. We tried again and still the same pain. Do you guys have any suggestions? Any stretches? Creams? We have found creative things to do which is awesome, but we would both like to enjoy intercourse. Thank you!

I can understand your frustration because sex was painful for me for nearly a year when I was first married. Even after the first year I would often be uncomfortable for the first few thrusts. In fact, I would say that it wasn’t until after the birth of my first child that every sexual encounter was completely comfortable from beginning to end. It could be that I was just smaller than average, but I think a number of other factors contributed to the problem as well.

This helpful website defines vaginismus as vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse.

It is not at all an uncommon problem. Your wife and I are not the only women who have experienced it and it can be over come. Please visit the vaginismus site and read over it with your wife as it will provide you with far more information than I can offer you in this one article.

One thing to consider is how much time you are spending in foreplay. If your wife isn’t aroused enough it will be more painful for her. Not only will arousal allow her body to produce her natural lubricant, but it will also add more elasticity to her vagina which will allow her to accommodate you more easily. Try getting her to orgasm first through oral or manual sex, and then try entering her after she has had an orgasm. Or try getting her to the point where she is right on the edge of orgasm and then enter her at that point. Adding some artificial lubricant such as coconut oil is a good idea too, but avoid the misconception that in and of itself it should be enough. She needs to be aroused.

It is very likely that with the history you have so far, your wife is battling some negative physiological mentalities as you prepare to come together for sex, as I’m sure you are. It is very hard to enjoy the thought of having sex together if it always causes pain so it is probably very hard for her to get aroused. So it is a vicious cycle as depicted by this chart.

It’s good you were able to visit a gynecologist to determine whether or not there was another problem. For the couples who read here who are experiencing this and haven’t seen your doctor yet, I would encourage you to do so because they may be able to give you some helpful insight. When I visited my doctor in the first month after we were married, he suggested that perhaps the pain was just because we were having too much sex, being newly married Christians who had waited. This is a very real possibility and it could indeed be a reason for pain, but in cases like yours and mine, the pain involved was enough to keep us from engaging in intercourse all that often. I wasn’t really satisfied with my visit to my doctor that particular day, but I wasn’t the self assured woman I am now who will go after what she wants and needs so I left thinking we’d have to figure it out for ourselves.

There are a variety of different techniques the two of you can employ in order to work towards solving this. Some couples have had success with these dilators. Your wife will start with the smallest one and gradually increase the size as she becomes comfortable. You may also find that if she does pelvic floor exercises that it will help.

I’m not sure if you and your wife are in the habit of praying for your sexuality, but I would definitely spend some time praying about this as well as praying about other aspects of your sexual relationship. For some couples it might seem odd to pray about sexually related things, but it is important because as you connect with God about these things not only can He help you, but He teaches you how He sees things so you can grow in having His perspective of sex.

These ideas and the vaginismus site should point you in the right direction to solving this problem. Bless you!

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