Pain During Sex With Vulvodynia. 7 Tips For Success.
Are you experiencing vaginal pain during sex? Either during sex or after? People with vulvodynia (vaginal pain syndrome) can experience a multitude of uncomfortable symptoms. Anything from, burning, to stabbing, throbbing, soreness, and even itching can cause distress. In addition, painful sex not only is stressful for the person with vulvodynia but also for their partner. Partners often don’t understand the complexity of vulvodynia or they believe their partner is just avoiding them.
When a person experiences painful sex, they become nervous and stressed and their muscles become tense. They most likely avoid intercourse. The stress-pain cycle then only continues and possibly gets worse. Mind-body cognitive techniques along with a slow penetration practice with a dilator and your sexual partner can be extremely helpful to rid the pain.
Here’s some tips that you can use to ease yourself back into enjoyable sex.
- Lube, Lube, Lube! When we are stressed (anticipating pain) we inhibit making our own natural vaginal secretions. There are so many varieties of lubrication. Experiment with what works best for you. Many women with vaginal pain like natural non-chemical lubes like coconut oil. But be wary that coconut oil can make condoms break down and not work well. In my own journey with vulvodynia, I liked silicone based. Do your own research.
- Often when we have pain during sex, our brains start to remember that sex = pain. One way to begin to unravel this connection is masturbation. Masturbation allows you to go at your own speed without the pressure of having a partner there. It’s so important to remember what it feels like to have pleasure! You can be creative and see what’s enjoyable without bringing on any pain.
- Talk with your partner. Not discussing what you are experiencing only confuses your partner and causes resentment and anger. How else can you create intimacy without penetration? Thinking about this is the first way to start bringing intimacy back into your relationship again.
- Use Dilators. Dilators are vaginal inserts that gradually get bigger in size. Start with the smallest, use lube, and practice relaxing your body and vaginal muscles while using the dilator. Fun Fact: Do you know that the pelvis is connected to the jaw? See what happens when you release your jaw muscles while using the dilatator.
- Visualize having sex. Visualization is a powerful practice that can prepare you for having enjoyable sex. Sports players visualize themselves going through the movements of their sport because it prepares their brain for the actual game. Can you visualize your body relaxed, feeling pleasure and having fun during sex?
- Practice with your partner. Allowing your partner be part of your recovery opens up clear communication and gets you both on the same page. Have your partner slowly insert one finger. If that feels ok, add in another finger. Increase the fingers as long as you feel good. After, move on to your partners penis (if penis penetration is your thing). Go slow. Make sure that your communication is clear and assertive.
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing before, during, and after penetration. Often when we are under stress, we hold our breath. Belly breathing is an excellent way to calm your body and ease your mind.
Pain during sex can be a thing of the past. Always work with an understanding doctor who know about vulvodynia. A physical therapist can also be extremely helpful. And of course, a therapist who specializes in chronic pain along with TMS can be extremely beneficial.
I am a Mind-Body therapist in Ventura, California and see clients in person and all over for online therapy. My office is close to Ojai, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks. Send me an email HERE to set up a free 20 minute call.