How much pain is normal during sex? And do your clients know the difference?
During our Blended Learning Program, we had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Christine King, lead pelvic floor physical therapist at Hoag Hospital.
Even though discomfort during intercourse is normal, countless women are too embarrassed to talk about their challenges—and not speaking out could be downright dangerous!
Create an open space for your patients, and help them navigate the degrees of discomfort for a safer & healthier sexual experience
Is Painful Intercourse Normal? Q & A With Dr. Christine King
Painful intercourse: It’s a common issue that doesn’t get talked about much. To properly serve your clients, you need to create an open environment where they can share their experiences, even if they feel like they’re “abnormal.”
There are different degrees of discomfort when it comes to intercourse, some much more severe than others! During our Blended Learning Program, we sat down with Dr. Christine King, lead pelvic floor PT at Hoag Hospital, to help us better understand how to serve our clients and patients who might be struggling with intercourse.
What kind of pain might someone experience during sex that is not normal?
If intercourse feels like sandpaper, if there are any sharp pains, or if penetration is impossible or nearly impossible, this is cause for alarm. Simply stated, no one should have intercourse that is painful because pain means something is wrong!
Of course, there are degrees of discomfort. For example, a little vaginal dryness at certain times of the month can be uncomfortable, but it is a problem easily resolved by applying lubricant.
However, if pain makes a woman wince or cry out, that is certainly a sign to stop intercourse and refrain until there is an answer. Serious issues can be related to problems with the pelvic floor muscles, hormone imbalances, and conditions like endometriosis, vaginal infections, and more.
might someone address each of these kinds of discomfort?
If intercourse is just a little uncomfortable, couples can try a few things. Sometimes, it may be that intercourse hurts in certain positions. The most natural solution is for couples to agree to avoid those positions.
Couples could also consider having more foreplay to see if relaxing helps. Alternatively, they can try using a lubricant that they both enjoy. Some women find that intercourse right before menstruation or mid-month during ovulation may be uncomfortable, so it’s worth avoiding intercourse at those times.
what point should someone seek medical help for discomfort during sex?
Any problem that isn’t easily resolved with lubricant, a change in position, or more foreplay needs to be checked out by a gynecologist! It is essential to seek medical help sooner rather than later. This helps to prevent relationship problems and emotional challenges such as anxiety—if intercourse stops altogether.
Women shouldn’t feel embarrassed or guilty if something is going on with their bodies that makes intercourse difficult because these problems are pretty common. Women need to make sure to find a physician they trust who will listen, guide an investigation into the problem, and offer solutions.
Ready for more expert advice from leaders in the industry? Our Blended Learning Program combines the best of both worlds—excellent online education plus two live workshops in beautiful Newport Beach, CA!
If you’re a licensed psychotherapist or a student working to become one, this course will give you the tools you need to become a sex therapist or sexuality counselor. Click here to learn more!