Q&A: Pain From Sex Partner With Large Penis

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QUESTION: I am not a virgin. I have had sex three times but that was two years ago and now when I try to the pain is worse than my first time. I know my partner is large but is it possible something else could be wrong?

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Yes, it is always possible that pain during sex is being caused by a physical problem or a medical condition. The best way to find out what the cause of your discomfort might be is to check in with your healthcare provider for a gynecological exam. It is generally recommended that women who are 18 years old, or who have been sexually active, start having annual gynecological exams anyway, so why not start now?

If you don’t already have a healthcare provider, ask your mother, another female family member (such as an aunt or cousin) or a good friend for a recommendation. You can also find a local Planned Parenthood clinic in your area by visiting their web site and learning about their women’s health care services.

If your partner has a large penis, the discomfort and pain may truly be as a result of the fit between your two bodies. Often this can be eased by using a store-bought lubricant for intercourse. If you two are using latex condoms, you will want to use a water-based lubricant or a silicone-based lubricant, both of which are condom-compatible.

Using a lubricant can reduce the risk of the condom tearing and at the same time, it can make sex feel more comfortable and more pleasurable. You can put a small dab of lubricant around your vaginal entrance. In addition, you might apply some lubricant to the outside of the condom once it is already on your partner’s penis. If you are not using condoms, you can apply the lubricant directly to his penis before starting intercourse.

Sometimes women find that choosing positions, such as woman-on-top, that provide a woman with more control over penetration can make sex more comfortable. Other times, spending more time in foreplay to promote sexual arousal, which creates more room in the vagina in terms of both length and width, can help to increase comfort, too. In some cases, however, vaginal pain is caused by a medical problem.

You can learn more about vaginal and vulvar pain on the web site of the National Vulvodynia Association.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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