Skip To Content

    Sex Is Painful For Me β€” These 9 Things Help

    I have vaginismus, vulvodynia, and endometriosis which makes sex painful. But I've found things that help.

    Hi there, Lara here, and in case you have not yet heard β€” sex is painful for me. In fact, it is so painful that I cannot have it...not in the "traditional" sense anyway. This is because I have conditions that cause my pelvic floor to be in a lot of pain, and as a straight woman, this means any type of insertion makes me feel like a burning metal rod is tearing up my insides!

    I have officially been diagnosed with endometriosis, vaginismus, vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, and overall pelvic floor dysfunction.


    Please enjoy this graphic from 2015 ^. Moving on, these are a lot of weird words and unless you, too, have these conditions you're probably wondering what the fuck I'm talking about. So here's a quick TL;DR for you β€” my vagina, abdomen, and lower back area hurt basically all of the time. This pain is worse during my period but is not limited to pain during my period. However, I also experience exceptionally intense pain when I try to insert anything into my vagina because those muscles are angry from being in pain for so long.

    **It is also worth mentioning that I do not just have pain during insertion. I also experience shooting pains during foreplay and during an orgasm.** Isn't life fun? MOVING ON.

    However, because this is not 1887, I'm here to let you know that just because I have this pain doesn't mean I don't *want* to be sexual. Who doesn't want to orgasm? I don't know, but for the record I do. So over the past few years, I've experimented a lot to find things to help me achieve this, and I'm going to list them below.

    Also, this might seem obvious but I think it's worth reminding you all that everyone's bodies are different and that just because these things help me, it doesn't necessarily mean it will help you in the same way.

    1. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

    Lara Parker

    Look, I know this isn't really a *thing*, but it also is. This one is also the most important, in my opinion. When I was first diagnosed with vulvodynia and vaginismus, I was told I should be going to physical therapy. I was so confused. Why would I go to physical therapy for my VAGINA? But it turns out this is a real and very important thing for anyone dealing with pelvic floor issues of any kind. I've been in pelvic floor physical therapy on and off for over five years now and I can assure you that it is the thing that has helped me the most. PT will be different for everyone based on needs, but for me personally, my pelvic floor PT is a combination of internal work (yes, she sticks her fingers inside my vagina) and strengthening exercises and stretches. Honestly, EVERYONE SHOULD BE IN PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL THERAPY. And that's that on that.

    Also, for proof that it works, before starting pelvic floor physical therapy I could not insert tampons, wear jeans without extreme agony, or orgasm without a horrible, god-awful shooting pain radiating from my pelvic area β€” now I'm able to insert tampons with little pain, wear jeans if I really want to, and orgasm without a shooting pain over 85% of the time. It works.

    2. Vaginal Dilators

    Lara Parker

    Like I mentioned earlier β€” I've been doing pelvic floor physical therapy on and off for five years now. When I first started going, my physical therapist told me I should invest in some vaginal dilators to use both during my PT sessions and at home to further my progress. For those of you who don't know, vaginal dilators are devices designed to stretch the vagina. They are generally made of a hard plastic and come in various sizes. A small dilator can be around the size of a pinky finger while a larger one may be the size of an average penis. When I started my journey with dilators almost five years ago, I couldn't even fit the smallest one inside me. But now, I can handle the medium-sized ones with no pain. These help so much in terms of furthering your progress outside of physical therapy, and getting your muscles to readjust and not expect such pain with insertion when done correctly. You can get a set of vaginal dilators on Amazon for $29.95.

    3. The "natural arousal" lube from Foria Wellness, Awaken

    Lara Parker

    Alright, here is where we get into THC + CBD, which I use heavily in my intimate life. This particular product contains just CBD, and not THC, making it legal nationwide and available for purchase online. It can act as both a massage oil and a lube. I personally have used it for both, but I recommend applying to your area of choice prior to becoming intimate to give it time to do its magic. It helps reduce my pain, burning, and also makes it feel better. You can get the arousal lube online for $48, a bit steep, but it lasts.

    4. And the CBD vaginal suppositories from Foria Wellness called Basics.

    Lara Parker

    I have used both the THC and CBD suppositories from Foria, but the CBD vaginal suppositories are available to ship nationwide and just as helpful (in my opinion) as the THC ones. I use these for both sexual pain and menstrual pain, but this post is about sex so that's what we're gonna talk about. I generally insert 30 minutes prior to any sort of sexual activity, and it's helpful for burning, aching, and the pain I had associated with arousal. You can get a pack of 8 CBD suppositories for $72.

    5. A small but mighty vibrator!!!!!

    Lara Parker

    This might seem obvious β€” but it wasn't to me when I started this journey so I feel like I have to mention it. In my opinion, masturbation is absolutely vital with these conditions. It was so, so important and helpful for me to learn what and how my body reacted. It also allowed me to realize that I could still experience pleasure despite my conditions. I personally love this vibrator from Bedroom Kandi ($70) because it is tiny, discreet, and uh...gets the job done.

    6. The lube Chiavare

    Lara Parker

    Three words: LUBE IS EVERYTHING. I literally cannot imagine being intimate without lube nor would I ever want to. This particular lube is made for sensitive skin, is vegan, and oh yeah...was created by a woman who has endometriosis and experienced painful sex. It's good stuff, and has never left me feeling worse off. You can get this lube online for $9.99.

    7. Or the lube Slippery Stuff

    Lara Parker

    If you're looking for another lube, I cannot recommend Slippery Stuff enough. It's what all of my physical therapists have used, it's what I use every time I use my dilators, it's one of my go-to's. It's simple but effective, and doesn't have any weird shit that will make your burning worse. You can get the Slippery Stuff lube on Amazon for $13.68.

    8. OhNut, a wearable intimate, or as I like to call it...The Penis Bumper

    Lara Parker

    Another product created by a woman who actually experienced painful sex β€” the OhNut is a wearable that allows you to control the penetration depth. They deem it a "friendly buffer to explore comfortable penetration depths" and I call it a "penis bumper." The actual product comes apart which allows you to customize the sizing based on your needs. If you're curious about this, I would say it's 100% worth a try. You can get the OhNut online for $65.

    9. The vapor pen from Dosist in the "Arouse" formula

    Lara Parker

    I apologize in advance to anyone who does not live in a place where cannabis is legal, as this vapor pen has THC in it. But I had to include it because it, like everything else on this list, has helped me be more sexually intimate with less pain! I use it to smoke one to two hits prior to becoming sexually active and not only does it make everything feel a lot better, I also noticed less pain upon becoming aroused and during climax. (Hi, mom!) If you are in a place where cannabis is legal, the arouse vapor pen is worth checking out for sure.

    So, that's it! These are the things I've found (so far) that help me have less painful sex. Here's to pain-free orgasms!