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    Updated on Sep 2, 2020. Posted on May 7, 2015

    Sex Q&A: Is My Vagina Too Tight?

    We asked the sex experts if painful penetration might be a matter of ~size~.

    Welcome to the new BuzzFeed Sex Q&A where you can ask us your awkward, confusing, gross, embarrassing, or thought-provoking questions, and we'll provide answers from leading sexual health experts. Have a question about sex or sexual health? Send it to sexQs@buzzfeed.com.

    This week's question:

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    Dear BuzzFeed Sexperts,

    I read your previous Sex Q&A on how to deal with a small penis — my problem concerns an uncooperative vagina. I don't have sex all that often, but when I do penetration tends to be painful (with the exception of a small penis I had sex with that didn't hurt me). I don't bleed from penetration anymore, but I had hoped the pain would be restricted to the first few times I had sex as I "got used to" penetration or whatever, but this hasn't happened.

    Not all penetration is painful — my fingers and very (I mean, VERY) small sex toys can go in without any discomfort, but anything bigger is an issue. During sex I normally just put up with it, as the pain isn't as bad after the initial penetration, but it's not exactly fun. I've attempted to use bigger sex toys to see if I can get used to them, but this has not gone well. I don't feel like I should be having to force things up there when I'm alone and chill and doing all the rights things, like using lots of lube, etc.

    I wonder if I just have a small vagina, or if it's all in my head? I do remember past penetration being painful, and particularly the first time I had sex I was pressured into it, so maybe my brain is like, "No, stop, the thing sex is bad"? Either way, I'm not sure what to do. For right now I don't mind because I don't really get much from internal stimulation, and external masturbation is more than enough for me. But I'm worried that this could affect things if I got into a relationship.

    Kind Regards,
    Tight Lipped

    Hi, Tight Lipped! Thanks so much for sending along your question. To help answer it, we spoke with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN and co-author of V Is for Vagina, and Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want. Here's what they had to say:

    There are SO many different things that can cause painful sex, but it probably has nothing to do with the size or tightness of your vagina.

    It's totally possible that there's actually nothing wrong with you at all, and you're just not sufficiently aroused and lubricated before you start.

    Lonely Island / Via wifflegif.com

    Unfortunately, a little discomfort during sex isn't that uncommon. A recent study found that 30% of women reported pain the last time they had vaginal sex. Maybe you're not completely turned on before penetration, you're feeling anxious, or there's not enough wetness. All of these things that can affect how relaxed and comfortable you are during sex, and they get easier with more experience (and with an awesome, understanding partner).

    It's great that you mentioned using lots of lube, but you might want to try switching to another kind if it's still not working out for you. That's because entry pain during sex (like you described) is most often the result of not being wet enough, says Dweck. Silicone lubes tend to last longer than water-based ones, so that might help.

    So, keep in mind that a little discomfort might just be something that works itself out as you figure out what feels good and what doesn't. That said, persistent pain that keeps coming back is definitely something to be checked out, because there can be a lot of causes — and a lot of solutions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    Painful sex could be the result of an infection or other medical issue.

    Keith Brofsky / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com

    The first thing you'll want to do is head to your gynecologist and let them know the kind of pain you're experiencing, says Dweck. Try not to be embarrassed or shy — they've seen and heard it all. First they'll help you rule out different infections, like a yeast infection, sexually transmitted infection, or bacterial vaginosis. All of these can cause pain during penetration, and they're easy to treat, says Castellanos.

    They can also do a pelvic exam to see if there's anything else that may be hurting you. For instance, it could be that your uterus is tilted in a way that makes some positions uncomfortable (but that would usually be a deeper kind of pain and would be alleviated by switching positions), says Dweck. Pain during sex can also be associated with endometriosis, a fibroid or cyst, or scar tissue build-up from an untreated infection. The more specific you are when explaining the pain to your doctor, the easier it will be for them to pinpoint the problem.

    One more thing: If you're experiencing persistent burning, stinging, and irritation around the vulva and your doctor cannot find a cause, they may diagnose you with vulvodynia, which is a disorder of unknown vulvar discomfort.

    Or that "too tight" feeling might actually be vaginismis, a condition marked by involuntary contractions of your pelvic floor muscles.

    The bottom line: Sex should feel good — not painful.

    Beyonce Vevo / Via msbeyonceknowles.tumblr.com

    Talking to your gynecologist can help you figure out the problem so you can treat it. And even if it's something a bit more complicated, there are still ways around this. For instance, sex doesn't need to involve penetration. As you mentioned, you prefer external stimulation anyway. So while you're figuring everything out, don't stress as much about what you don't find comfortable and instead hone in on the activities that do feel good — like manual clitoral stimulation or oral sex.

    Do you have a question you want answered by our sex experts? Email us at sexQs@buzzfeed.com.

    ALSO, the more details you give, the better answers you'll get. Judgment-free zone! Feel free to sign it however you want (first name, alias, anonymous, some kind of descriptive sign-off, whatever), and we'll reach out if we end up answering your question. Check out some of the questions we've already answered:

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