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Why Does Sex Hurt Sometimes?

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Why Does Sex Hurt Sometimes?

When I first had sex, I assumed it would be like it is in the movies where women always hang from the chandeliers, blissfully orgasmic and filled with pleasure. Certainly, sex can be just like that. But often itís not. Not only do some women have trouble achieving orgasm, especially from intercourse alone, but many also experience searing pain.

My first sexual encounter hurt like the dickens and didnít let up for a decade. Sex hurt so much that every time my husbandís penis came close, my body clammed up, as if to say, ďNo way in hell is that thing coming anywhere near me.Ē Fortunately, things got better and Iím now enjoying a rocking sex life with my honey, but I know Iím not alone in having suffered from painful sex.

As both an OB/GYN and survivor of†vulvar vestibulitis (inflammation of the glands that line the entrance to the vagina), I thought Iíd put together a few FAQís to help you out, in case you or anyone you know suffers from painful sex.

FAQ’s About Painful Sex

What are some less serious, common causes of vaginal pain during intercourse?

If youíre trying to have intercourse when youíre not aroused, lack of lubrication can cause friction and lead to pain. Even if you are aroused, decreased lubrication caused by hormonal deficiencies (such as†atrophic vaginitis, which can occur when estrogen levels are low after menopause or while breastfeeding) can lead to pain.

Other common causes of pain during intercourse include gynecologic conditions such asvulvar vestibulitis (inflammation of the vestibular glands at the vaginal opening),vaginismus (involuntary contractions of the vaginal muscles that may make intercourse painful — or even impossible), and†vulvodynia (non-specific vulvar pain, which is often experienced as an intense burning feeling).

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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7:12AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Great article. when I first started having sex and it still was hurting a lot, I was really confused...after some time I knew something was really wrong so I started researching and ended up on this site called where I was able to figure out my problem. it took me a while to go get help and i kinda wish i did it sooner, but this issue is just never talked about!!!!!

6:18AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

thank you, good post

1:35PM PDT on May 29, 2012


6:04PM PDT on May 27, 2012

emotions play a big part in it as well

10:24AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Sometimes I hate reports like this, true for the most part but for the ladies who have no health problems and who have pain starting, during and after sex and you rarely have any orgasm or for that matter any Pleasure at all and find that you need lube all the time check your partner penis, no not the size, is he been Circumcised? The chances are he is if your having irritation, redness, discomfort or even pain. Try a Natural guy if you can find one, uncircumcised sex won't lead to any pain or discomfort and nothing but fun and orgasms with no need for lubes like KY jelly. look it up, start here as i found this site to be the most informative.
Warning: haves alot of pictures of penis, thought i throw that out there.

7:30PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

It's been a while, but I experienced pain in the beginning of every encounter. Once my body adjusted to my partner, though, everything was fine. I don't think that was a serious problem. Maybe I just wasn't properly aroused. Great info, thanks.

1:10PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Thank you.

2:36AM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Very important article. If you're feeling pain during sex, make sure you get a physical in your feminine region, just to make sure you're all okay there. Get tested for various issues too. Hormones, thyroid problems, endometriosis, and more can affect how much pain you have...

Sex is supposed to be enjoyable, even if you don't get a mind blowing orgasm each time... You have one life and one body. Take good care of it, and enjoy the fruits of your experiences!

11:44AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Important info, thanks so much.

9:03AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

thanks for the info

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I have got the good information through your blog; I will share this to my friends as well.

I do 4/5. Now I'll do 5. Thanks :")

I don't have a pet right now, can't afford one.

Your mother handled that perfectly. I started when I was 9 after seeing a late night Showtime flick…


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