Pain during sex can be a fun and kinky and awesome thing!
It turns out that a surprising number of people report feeling pain during vaginal and anal sex, and not in a good way.
1. About 30% of women said they felt pain the most recent time they had vaginal sex, compared to just 7% of men.
30%! That's basically one in three!
2. For the women who felt pain during P-in-V sex, about 3/4 of them said they felt it inside the vagina, or around the vaginal entrance.
3. Most of the other women who had painful P-in-V sex said they felt pain deep inside, around the cervix.
4. 43.9% of the men who felt pain during vaginal sex said it hurt their penis; and about one in five guys said it hurt in and around their scrotum.
5. 72% of women said they felt pain during their most recent anal sex experience, compared to 15% of men.
6. The men who reported pain during anal sex mostly said they felt pain in their penises and/or around the ball region.
7. Some men reported feeling pain in their own rectums or anuses, though.
8. The good news is that most of the pain from vaginal sex didn't last very long.
75% of people said that vaginal intercourse pain lasted less than 5 minutes. 3% of men and 2% of women said that it lasted for longer than a day, though.
9. But for some people, the pain during anal intercourse lasted longer.
53% of the men who experienced pain during anal said it lasted less than 5 minutes, and so did 63% of the women. But an alarming number of women who experienced painful anal sex said it lasted a really long time: 25.5% said it stayed painful for more than an hour, and 14.5% said the pain lasted longer than a day.
10. Most people don't tell their partners when they feel pain during sex.
11. If you want to feel less pain during sex (vaginal OR anal), lube is your friend.
12. If you're feeling pain because of, ahem, poor genital fit, try fooling around for longer before penetration.
Painfully large penises and painfully tight vaginas can hurt for everyone involved. One way to loosen the grip is to make sure that the woman is sufficiently aroused before penetration. Fool around in other ways (lots and lots of kissing, oral sex, using your hands, humping, and more) before trying to get it in.
13. And if you're dealing with cervical pain, try switching positions — or speaking up.
Cervical pain can result from the head of his penis ramming into your cervix too hard or too much. You can let your partner know that it kinda hurts when he does that, and would he mind going a little slower? You can also try positions where you have a bit more control over speed and depth. Herbenick recommends girl-on-top. (Although, speaking of pain during sex... girl-on-top is one of the riskier positions when it comes to breaking penises. So be mindful of that, and go at a safe speed, lovers.)
Thanks to some commenters who pointed out that vaginismus, endometriosis, and other conditions can make sex incredibly painful, if not impossible, for some women. We've added that information to the story.
Dr. Herbenick works at Indiana University School of Public Health. An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the university.