What Haven't Been Explained to You About Pain and Discomfort in Penetrative Sexual Intercourse

“Ah, you don't make orgasm happen. You allow it.”
(Emily Nagoski, Come as You Are).

Sex, orgasm, sexual desire, libido, pleasure… Have you ever spoken honestly and raw about sex with another woman? And, above all, if something is not going well, have you ever sought help? And your friends, did they look?

Probably, at some point, you have heard a family member, a friend or even your doctor say the phrase: “Relax. Try several times, as this pain will go away.” Maybe you even believed that the problem was within you and, consequently, you felt less of a woman for not being able to satisfy the needs of the person next to you (we never think about our own needs as sexual beings, do we?).

Not infrequently, we end up trying to find certain justifications: “I recently became a mother and my obstetrician told me it would take a while”; “With menopause it is normal to not have desire. It’s just like that, it always happens”; “I sought help from the gynecologist and he told me to buy some ointment and try it.” However, it is important that you know that none of this is normal. It is not normal to feel pain during, after and/or just at the beginning of sexual intercourse! And no, it's not in your head. In most cases, pain during sexual intercourse has a physiological cause, that is, the cause may be in the pelvic area, precisely where the woman feels pain.

Therefore, it is important that you look for a physiotherapist who specializes in women's health, especially if:

  • Feeling pain upon penetration;
  • Feeling pain after sexual intercourse;
  • Unable to insert a tampon;
  • Have a burning or burning sensation in the vulva;
  • Feeling pain during a gynecological examination.

Speaking of pleasure, orgasm and libido, confess: how many times have you spoken openly about the subject? And with your partner, do you talk about what gives you the most pleasure, what you like most? Most likely, no. Allowing yourself to reach orgasm and have pleasure – whether with penetration or with yourself – is sometimes difficult to achieve.

Female sexual health is still largely overlooked, thanks to the fact that we don't talk about our bodies, pleasure or orgasms.

We leave you with another curiosity: did you know that the difficulty in reaching climax (or the decrease in its intensity) may be related to the pelvic floor muscles? Yes, a decrease in your strength, flexibility and agility can influence your sexual response.

If you regularly train your pelvic floor muscles, you can increase blood circulation in the pelvis and vagina, which influences the response of the clitoris – the magical organ of female pleasure!

I would like to highlight a very important note: it is crucial that, initially, you begin by being carefully evaluated by a physiotherapist specialized in pelvic health to understand the cause of your symptoms.


Text: Ana Sofia Pires, women's physiotherapist, co-founder of the FisioDuasMãos office and founder of the page @fisio_mulher_e_mae .

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