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Sexual healing: What to do if intercourse is painful

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Dear Eve,

l have a problem with my partner. After sex with him, l feel pain in my private part and I don’t know why. Please help.

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your question. I can imagine that pain in your private parts can be worrisome. In truth, sex should be pleasurable and not painful. The fact that you experience pain means something else is going on and it is important that you find out what.

It is not possible to ascertain your age or gender based on your question so I will answer for both men and women.

1. See a doctor

I know sometimes people get concerned about something like this and try to figure it out on their own instead of visiting a doctor, perhaps because they are shy or fear the cost of treatment.

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The thing to remember is seeing a doctor sooner rather than later puts you in the best position to treat, manage or otherwise interrupt a medical issue, no matter the cost to your shyness or pocket.

There are many gentle, empathic, patient and affordable doctors available so there is little reason to fear. Find one and if you don’t know one, write me at the email at the end of this column and I will send you some referrals.

The bottom line is; go and see a doctor for a professional medical evaluation, recommendation and treatment plan.

2. Ease into intercourse

If you are female, it is important that you and your partner take some time during foreplay so that your body can do what it was designed to do by providing sufficient lubrication and other physiological changes.

This means that instead of going directly to intercourse, ease into it e.g. with flirting, kissing, touching and whatever else can bring relaxation and heighten excitement.

 

If you are male, foreplay is not just for the female partner; it important to you too because a relaxed and well-lubricated partner is not only a better satisfied partner but also one who will not cause any injury or discomfort to you.

Penetration can be uncomfortable for you if she is too tense, tight and dry and because of that, you may struggle to penetrate, which can cause you (and her) pain in the genital area.

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There are people who, despite a sufficient amount of time spent on foreplay, still do not get lubricated well enough. If you fall in this category, I recommend that you buy some OTC (over-the-counter) lubricant.

It is preferable to use a water-based lubricant or a silicone-based lubricant. A water-based lubricant washes off easier afterwards, which also means that they may not be the best choice if you will be having sex in a shower or other watery environment.

However, if you are prone to yeast infections, it would be good for you to make sure that they don’t contain glycerin, whose sugar content can trigger a yeast infection. Silicone-based lubricants last longer, have better ‘slip’ and don’t wash off as easily so they are OK to use in a shower.

Again, if you are prone to yeast infections, you may want to make sure that you spend the extra time to wash lubricant off.

Regardless of which kind you choose, be sure to confirm whether they are condom-safe, because some are and some aren’t. 

3. Infection

Pain during or after intercourse is a common complaint for people who have an infection of the genital area. These infections can be sexually transmitted e.g. gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, trichomoniasis, genital warts and more.

These infections can also be non-sexual in nature e.g. UTI (urinary tract fnfection), which can feel worse because of the impact of sexual intercourse on the bladder.

Yeast infections can also cause pain in the private parts, as can others such as BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) – which is the overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria and not necessarily an infection – or its opposite, CV (Cytolitic Vaginosis) – which is an overgrowth of ‘good’ bacteria and not necessarily an infection.

If you suspect that you and/or your partner may be having an infection of sorts, please go and visit your doctor so they can examine you and then make the necessary treatment recommendations.

Depending on what could be going on, only one of you may need treatment or both of you will be required to get treatment. Remember to ask your doctor about this so that you do not re-infect one another.

4. Be gentle

There are people who enjoy the kind of vigorous, prolonged sex that can cause pain afterward. This can be common in couples who are just more energetic e.g. younger adults or even in sexually-adventurous couples who try all kinds of challenging positions.

Whatever the case, if this is you and/or your partner, remember to be gentle until you figure out what hurts and what doesn’t so you can enjoy your sex life without paying a ‘pain & suffering’ tax.

I hope these suggestions help you to be able to understand your body better so you can have less pain and more pleasure when you do have sex.

 

Maggie Gitu is a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist (MAMFT) and can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @maggiethetherapist.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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