Q&A: Readiness For Sex: Trouble With Penis-Vagina Intercourse

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QUESTION: Hi, I am an 18 year old guy and my girlfriend is the same age. We have been going out for about a year and a half now. Our sex play is great but the only thing is I have never managed to actually get my penis in her vagina. She isn’t shaven, I don’t know if this help or not. Just wondering what would help get it in. We are both relaxed when we have sex so I just don’t know what else it could be.

We hear from a good number of women and men who find it difficult to have penis-vagina intercourse. You’re definitely not alone in your experience or in your curiosity about how sex can not only be more comfortable – but just plain possible.

Pubic Hair Not The Problem

First, your girlfriend’s pubic hair has nothing to do with her ability to experience intercourse. In the past several years, an increasing number of women in porn seem to be sporting the shaved (or “bare”) pubic hair look.

In reality, many women of all ages keep some or all of their pubic hair. And having hair does not make one any more or less able to have sex (or any better or worse at sex).

Gynecological Exams

Second, your girlfriend should check in with her healthcare provider for a gynecological exam. Gynecological exams are recommended for all women beginning when they are sexually active, have gynecological symptoms they have questions about, or age 18 – whichever comes first.

Since your girlfriend is both 18 and sexually active, she should definitely be taking care of her health in this way.

It is possible that your girlfriend’s hymen covers more of her vaginal entrance than is typical, or that her vagina is a bit short, and either of these issues can make it more difficult for you two to have vaginal intercourse. Her healthcare provider will be able to examine her for these, or other, issues.

Comfort and Readiness For Sex

While a physical issue is possible, one of the more common reasons why couples who are new to sex find intercourse challenging may stem from comfort or readiness for sex.

Even though it may seem like your girlfriend is relaxed, it is possible that she is worried about unintended pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections (STI), how your relationship may change once you start having sex, or other issues related to her personal values, sense of self or your relationship.

She may want to be sexual with you, but feel pressured to have intercourse, and this pressure may get in the way of her body’s ability to relax and allow penetration.

Talk About Your Decision

Consider talking with each other about your decision to be sexual together including ways to reduce your risk of unintended pregnancy or infection, and how you’ll make sure that your sexual sharing is always wanted, enjoyable and free from pressure.

If she truly does feel relaxed and ready for sex, and there is nothing about her body that her healthcare provider seems to think could make sex more difficult, it may be that more lubrication is needed in order to have penetrative sex.

Spending more time in foreplay, doing things that your girlfriend finds arousing, can encourage her body to produce more natural vaginal lubrication. Sometimes, however, women’s bodies don’t produce as much lubrication as is needed and adding a store-bought lubricant to your and her genitals can be helpful.

If you are using condoms, add the lubricant to the outside of the condom in order to reduce the risk of condom breakage and slippage.

Ask A Sex Therapist

If you continue to struggle with this issue, you might consider checking in with a sex therapist who can provide more personalized information and support. Locate one near you at www.aasect.org.

Kinsey Confidential

is a service of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Sexual health experts answer your questions and provide newspaper columns and weekly podcasts.
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