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two people experience pain-free sex

Natural Fixes for Pain-Free Sex

two people experience pain-free sex

Sex should be a pleasurable experience. When it's not, it can lead to avoidance of sex—which can then lead to a host of emotional or relationship issues. It's a downward spiral, and unfortunately it's not uncommon.

Medically defined as painful intercourse either before, during or after sex, dyspareunia has been known to affect up to 75 percent of all women. There are different reasons for it—some physical, some emotional—but don't despair! There are ways to get to the root cause of the problem so sex can be much more enjoyable.

Here, we dive into the three main types of pain and offer some potential solutions.

Vaginal Pain 

If you experience discomfort in and around your vagina either during or after sex, it could be from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), yeast infection, or bacterial vaginosis. If you're nearing menopause and have vaginal discomfort or dryness, it could be caused by an imbalance of hormones.

Certain medications—including some antidepressants and the birth control pill—can also lead to vaginal dryness. This dryness can cause imbalanced levels of good bacteria in the vagina, which can then lead to infections. See what I mean about a downward spiral?

Contact dermatitis could also play a role here. Scented soaps, douches, and condoms, can cause allergic reactions in the vagina and vulva. So don't use them! Try natural feminine sprays instead.

If the pain only occurs at the start of intercourse, it could be a lubrication issue. Your vagina should naturally lubricate when you get aroused, but painful friction can result if you don't get this opportunity.

The fix: While talking to your practitioner is always best, there are some things you can do on your own to support balanced vaginal bacteria and lubrication. Start by incorporating vagina-friendly foods into your diet, and try using coconut oil as a natural lubricant instead of store-bought varieties (which are known to cause irritation). And get tested if you think you may have an STI.

Pelvic Pain

Some women can experience pain much deeper in the body either during or after sex. This feeling is often a throbbing in the pelvis and usually occurs with deeper penetration.

This deeper level of pain can be caused by a range of female-centered health conditions, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic inflammatory disease, or ovarian cysts. If you've had pelvic surgery or radiation or chemo from cancer treatment, scar tissue may be to blame.

The fix: Bring it up at your next gynecological exam to rule out or treat more severe health conditions. Don't be afraid to lay it all out on the table.

Emotional Pain

Never rule out the emotional side of sex. While it's a physical act, there are emotions and psychology that also come into play.

If you already experience anxiety or depression—or if you've had past negative experiences surrounding sex—there could be some unresolved emotional trauma around it.

Stress also plays a role, like it does with so many other things in life. If you're stressed, you're less likely to get aroused and your pelvic floor muscles automatically contract, which can lead to pain during sex.

The fix: Talking to a therapist can open the door toward healing if you have emotional trauma around sex. There are also some tried-and-true methods to boost your sex drive naturally if you're struggling to get aroused.

The Bottom Line

Sex should be fun! If you're avoiding it because of unresolved pain, get to the underlying cause so you can start enjoying it again—naturally.


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