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Q:

Do most people experience pain during intercourse? Isn't it just inherently painful?

A:

Here's the truth: Having painful vaginal penetration may be common for some, but it should never become the norm for you. If penetrative sex is painful for you, you can take steps to change it.

First, it's a good idea to figure out why you feel pain during intercourse. Is it recent? Did it start with a particular partner or event in your life? Are there certain acts that hurt more than others? Are you able to communicate with your partner about your pain? Could you bring it up with a doctor?

Once you can communicate when, where and how the pain occurs, you can start working on addressing it. Try lube. Try more foreplay. Try warming up with a sex toy. Change your sex position. If these remedies don’t work for you, you may want to bring your assessments to your doctor.

And, as you work on sorting this out, remember that penetrative sex isn't the only kind worth having. Affection stirs up oxytocin. Oxytocin is a major, major component in bonding with a partner.

I always say to people, “Even if you’re in a place where you can’t have explicit sex play together, please just keep holding hands and petting each other and cuddling and snuggling and touching and all of those things because that’s how the body builds oxytocin and oxytocin is what keeps us bonded to our partners.”

Finally, be kind to yourself. I’ve met people who've had painful penetration their entire lives because no one told them that it wasn’t supposed to be painful. I’m here to tell you, it's not supposed to be painful.

Now that you know, also know that it isn't your fault and that there are many things you can do to address the problem.

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