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Pain-free Sex Positions

By: Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D.

I am still astounded to hear women tell me they thought pain during intercourse was unavoidable. This is a serious myth and a dangerous one. Pain and pleasure don't mix and it doesn't make sense to think that we would be designed in such a way as to make sex hurt. I think it’s irrational to imagine that evolution would create our mode of procreation as an aversive experience. After all, nature's mission is to entice us (even when it's not in our own best interest) to have sex and want to have more sex so that more babies are born. 

Your brain and your body are supposed to collude against practicality because of the sheer power of sexual attraction and lust. It makes sense that having intercourse would be re-enforcing in and of itself, and not something that would make a woman grit her teeth in order to get through the experience. Only the most callous of men is indifferent to whether or not a woman is willing and ready for intromission. Normal men are turned on by a woman's pleasure, not her agony.

So, what's all this about pain? Let's assume for the purposes of this blog that the pain does not come from a vaginal infection or sexually transmitted disease (although if you have pain, you should have it checked out to ensure no disease is causing it). If pain comes from penile penetration that is too energetically thrusted, then the easy answer is to tell your partner it hurts and that he has to be gentler. (It is the rare (and twisted) man who actually likes seeing his female partner wince during thrusting, so assume your guy would certainly change his approach if you tell him what's happening). If, however, almost all thrusting seems to be a bit painful, here are some ideas to make it pain-free:

  • First of all, use a nice, silicone-based lubricant. I know of no study that says the micro-amount of silicone is a problem (unless someone has a specific allergy to it) and it will help avoid any abrasions caused by the penis, or fingers, or sex toy inside the vagina.
  • Second, use positions that do not bang against the cervix, which can be more sensitive because more nerve endings are there than in the barrel of the vagina. Spooning is "the long way in" and makes penetration less deep and therefore potentially less painful. Also, lying on your backs, one leg over your partner, allowing him to enter at an angle through the legs also allows a woman to control how deep penetration can go. Having the woman on top may also allow penetration control, IF the male partner does not pull his female partner down onto his penis as opposed to letting her control the action.
  • Third, avoid “doggy style”. If the woman is on her elbows, buttocks in the air and he is on his knees entering her, he can go very deep and this can be painful even if it is exciting.

In general, nothing has to be painful more than once. You can try a position and if it's ouchy, avoid it in the future. Experiment with what feels good (this is science at its best!) and get creative. For example, woman on counter, man entering standing up in front of her might feel very comfortable. Worth a try, anyhow.

P.S. If most intromission, in any position, either with a penis, or toy, or vSculpt is painful, it might be time to see a doctor because there could be a medical problem. Just remember this mantra: sex is meant to be pure pleasure, and if it isn't, something needs to be changed.

 Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a sociologist and sexologist and one of the renowned women’s health experts on Joylux’s medical advisory board. Learn more about Dr. Schwartz here

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