I am 18 years old. I usually feel pain during and after sex. Whenever I have sex, I must bleed. Why is this?
Thank you for your question. Pain during sex can be due to several reasons.
Your age leads me to believe that having sex is relatively new to you. It is entirely possible that this is as a result of being new to something and overdoing it or underdoing it e.g. beginning intercourse before you are well lubricated or even having rough sex that leads to pain, discomfort and bleeding. If this is the case, please be sure to take your time during foreplay – treat it with respect, as an opportunity to connect sexually and emotionally – and not just as the quick and fast thing you need to do before getting to the ‘main event’ i.e. penetration. Foreplay matters, and lubrication follows. If, despite adequate foreplay, you are still not well lubricated, consider getting an over-the-counter water based lubricant which you can apply before or during intercourse, if you get dry during sex.
Is size an issue?
In instances such as yours, size does matter. Your partner could be endowed with a larger than average penis and/or you could have a shorter vaginal canal. If this is the case, follow the previous instructions; instead of starting hard, start gently before proceeding into whatever positions suit you. In addition, choose positions that give you more control with regard to depth of insertion so that you can determine how much penetration is comfortable for you. Finally, take time to learn each other’s bodies and sexual rhythm so you can understand how to accommodate one another.
Another possibility is that your partner’s penis hits your cervix during penetration e.g. if you are incorporating sexual positions that allow for deeper penetration. If this is the case, you simply need to alter your sexual positions. Even if you enjoy those specific positions, try to begin intercourse in simpler positions before proceeding to the more ‘acrobatic’ positions.
Don’t rule out STIs
This is another distinct possibility. It is a topic few people like to discuss but considering that blood and pain are not a normal part of the sexual experience, it is worth discussing. Some STI’s have silent symptoms, some are difficult to diagnose and some are easy to misdiagnose. For example, did you know men are silent carriers of the Human Papilloma Virus, some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer? Did you know millions of people worldwide have the Herpes (HSV) virus yet have symptoms that are too mild to trigger a visit to the doctor, or are misdiagnosed as something else?
This is not about triggering fear in you. I share this information so that if this is even a remote possibility, then you can visit a reputable doctor or gynecologist so that they can make their professional assessment, treatment and recommendations. Do not attempt to treat yourself; get proper testing so you can get the appropriate treatment.
Get a PAP smear
While we are on the topic of STI’s, let me strongly recommend that you get a PAP smear because it will help to detect any abnormal cells (the kind that can lead to cancer). This is a yearly test that is recommended for women your age and/or those who are sexually active, regardless of age. Since you are sexually active, make it a point to get checked every year. It is also nothing to fear; if you tell the person collecting a sample that you have never had this test done before, they can adjust their work to help you be more comfortable e.g. by using smaller instruments, allowing you more time in the room with them, explaining the procedure in simple terms that you can understand, etc. Be honest, relax and congratulate yourself for taking responsibility for your health and well-being. As always, make an appointment with your family physician or your gynecologist and have a yearly check should the problem continue despite trying different interventions? Remember; blood and pain are not a normal part of sexual intercourse. Instead of fearing the worst, seek help and know that whatever the reason, it is possible for you to have good, pain-free, bleed-free sex. Best regards.
Maggie Gitu is a marriage, family and sex therapist. Reach her on: [email protected] or via her Facebook page: Maggie Gitu
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