Is It Normal To Have Pain During Sex?
Curious if it’s normal to feel pain during sex? If you’ve ever found yourself questioning whether such discomfort is a common occurrence, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll delve into answering your question, “Is it normal to have pain during sex?” By exploring this topic, I hope to provide you with valuable insights and clarity regarding the presence of pain during sexual activity.
Written For The Women Who Have Asked Themselves This Question
This is written for the women out there who think or who have been told that pain during sex is normal and that it’s just something they have to live with.
First of all, pain anywhere in the body is not normal and should not be ignored. Pain is our body’s way of communicating with us that something needs to be addressed either from a physical or emotional standpoint.
Sex is an important part of our lives and well being so if you’re having an issue with sex, you need to address it!
If you’ve ever come across the term “dyspareunia” when discussing painful intercourse, this is the medical term that refers to the experience of pain during sexual activity. It’s not restricted to any specific group and can affect women of all ages, including those who have and have not had children. It’s important to recognize that dyspareunia is not limited to a specific group.
If you’re having pain with sex, make sure to be checked by your medical doctor because things such as infections or certain conditions like say a cyst on the ovary, can cause pain and would need to be addressed medically. If you’ve been seen by your doctor and nothing is going on medically, then please keep reading to explore what may be happening.
The Pelvic Floor:
If you’ve seen your gynecologist and told them about the pain and there is nothing going on medically, then a very likely cause of the pain is tight pelvic floor muscles.
When the pelvic floor muscles are tight, it can make sex painful and for some women can cause difficulty having sex at all.
Think about if you really tightened all the muscles in your pelvic region and did like a maximal kegel, it would be really difficult to engage in penetrative sex like this.
The vaginal muscles need to be in a relaxed state to allow for penetration.
When these muscles are tight, the vaginal canal is more ‘closed-off’ which can make penetrative sex painful or even impossible.
Why do the pelvic floor muscles get tight?
Any muscle in the body can get tight or shortened and the pelvic floor is no different. There are many reasons that these muscles may become tight.
It’s common in women with endometriosis and in women with interstitial cystitis.
These muscles can also become short and tight from orthopedic issues. Maybe you injured your hip and it was never fully addressed and now the pelvic floor is getting tight. The hip and pelvis are closely related which you can read more about here: The Pelvic Floor & Hips Relationship
It’s also common in women who are postpartum. We always think that the muscles become weak after having a baby but in some women, the opposite can happens. The pelvic muscles can respond to the “trauma” they experience during the birthing process by tightening up.
Another reason is sometimes individuals hold these muscles in a contracted state without realizing it, and the muscles can become tight over time.
It's not always something physical that causes tightness in these muscles, it can be emotional as well.
Some people tend to hold their stress in their pelvic floor. Have you ever been stressed out and felt your neck or upper traps become really tense? The same thing can happen in the pelvic muscles! Everyone holds their stress differently.
Another potential factor that can contribute to dyspareunia is an individual’s personal history and past experiences with sex. If someone has previously experienced sexual abuse or been in an abusive relationship, their body may respond by involuntarily tensing these muscles. If you have experienced abuse, seeking professional help is crucial for addressing the emotional and physical impact of abuse. I’ll list some resources at the end of this post.
I know that was a lot, but I wanted to give you a good idea on the variety of possibilities that can cause painful sex. Please note that the list is not exhaustive and there could be other factors contributing to this issue. However, the information provided should give you a good starting point for understanding the potential causes of painful intercourse.
If you're having pain with sex, there is help out there for you!
My goal with this blog post is to encourage women to speak up if they’re having pain with sex and to not be afraid to talk about it.
I know it can be hard to talk about and that women sometimes feel embarrassed about bringing this up to their doctor, but I’m serious when I say that there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
First, it’s more common than you think.
Second, sex is an important part of life and you don’t need to suffer.
Third, your doctor really won’t be phased by it!
I’m telling you, I specialize in pelvic health and I still have had clients embarrassed to tell me that they are having pain during sex. I’m like, this is my specialty, you don’t need to be embarrassed and in all honestly, it’s something I hear all the time. It doesn’t phase me and I’m sure most other medical professional feel the same way.
Also, if you have brought this up to a doctor who did not address it or who said you just have to live with it, please find another doctor.
The good news is that by talking about it you can get help! The even better news is you don’t have to have painful sex for the rest of your life! There are many treatment options out there for you. Whether it be a medical intervention from your doctor, pelvic floor physical therapy, home exercises/stretches, yoga, or maybe psychological therapy. There is a treatment plan out there for you.
My objective with this blog post is to empower women to voice their experiences of pain during sex and to promote open discussions on the topic. It’s important for women to feel comfortable addressing this issue and to realize that they’re not alone. By fostering a supportive environment, we can encourage individuals to seek help, share their stories, and ultimately find solutions to alleviate their pain. Let’s work together to break the silence surrounding this topic and create a safe space for open dialogue.
I hope this helped you and empowered you to seek out help so you can start to enjoy sex again!
Here are a few resources that may be helpful in assisting abuse victims:
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): RAINN is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. They provide support for survivors of sexual assault and have a 24/7 confidential helpline. Visit their website at https://www.rainn.org/ or call their National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: If you are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential support and assistance. They can be reached at 1-800-799-7233. Visit their website at https://www.thehotline.org/ for more information