Whenever a woman feels pain during intercourse, naturally she becomes very tight in sexual situations. She may even contract the muscles just inside the entrance of the vagina. This alone makes sexual intercourse even more painful. Sometimes she clenches her muscles so tightly that her partner cannot even enter her vagina.
You can become aware of your vaginal muscles and learn to relax them during intercourse. Exercises that teach control of the vaginal muscles are called Kegels. These are named after the gynecologist, Dr. Arnold Kegel, who created them. Practicing Kegels can help you decrease pain during intercourse.
Initially, you have to find your vaginal muscles. The muscles around the entrance to the vagina are the same ones that you use to stop the flow of urine. The next time you urinate, try stopping the flow for a few seconds. Notice how you do this. When you relax your muscles, the urine flows again. You can make the same motion when you are not urinating. You don’t need to tighten your stomach muscles, leg muscles, or hold your breath. Just tighten the muscles in the genital area. To check whether you have found the muscles, try slipping a finger about 2 inches into your vagina. When you contract your vaginal muscles, you should be able to feel at least a slight twitch of the vaginal walls around your finger.
After you have located the muscle, practice gaining control over it. The basic Kegel exercise is to tighten your vaginal muscle while you count to 3, and then release the tension. Repeat this movement 10 times, once or twice a day. People around you can’t tell that you are doing Kegels, so you can practice whenever you wish – while reading, watching TV, or working at your computer.
Kegel exercises can certainly add to a couple’s pleasure during sex. If a woman tightens and relaxes her vaginal muscles during sexual activity, she may focus more on the feelings that are building. Her partner can feel the movement of her vagina. This movement may add to their excitement.
The most important benefit of Kegel exercises is to help you relax your vagina during entry and intercourse. Begin by making sure your vagina is wet when you and your partner are both aroused. Take a few seconds to tighten your vaginal muscles. Then let them relax as much as possible before your partner enters. Agree ahead of time that if you feel any pain, your partner will stop until you stretch your vaginal muscles again.
If intercourse is painful and difficult, you or your partner can stretch your vagina with a finger before you try penetration. Lubricate a finger and slowly slip it inside your vagina. Use the Kegel movements to tighten and release your vaginal muscles as you slowly move it deeper in. When one finger is no longer painful, try using 2 fingers, and then 3, before you try your partner’s penis. Remember to use plenty of gel, and go slowly.
If you try most of these ideas but are still having genital pain, you may need some help from a gynecologist or sex therapist. Some women need to stretch their vaginas after cancer treatment by using a series of vaginal dilators in different sizes.