Q&A: Small Vagina And How To Have Comfortable Sex

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QUESTION: Going into my relationship with my boyfriend, I was a virgin and he was not. After waiting until we were both ready, we talked about it and decided that it was time. I had been told in the past by my gynecologist that I have a very small vagina. It has never been easy inserting tampons or even my boyfriend's finger. Every time we've tried to have sex, he can't get in me at all. What can we do besides try lube? Are some positions better than others?

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Having intercourse for the first time is a big step for many women, and can feel both exciting and anxiety-provoking as one thinks about the potential for pleasure as well as whether it will feel uncomfortable or hurt. Some women, like you, find that when they try to have intercourse, it feels near-impossible, which can feel leave women and their partners feeling frustrated and unsure about what to do.

Possible Treatments

The first step I would suggest is to return to your gynecologist to learn more about what she or he means when they’ve said that you have a very small vagina. Some women have anatomical issues that make penetration particularly difficult and your doctor may want to suggest a certain treatment or procedure that can make it easier for you to have intercourse.

One relatively common treatment strategy involves using a vaginal dilator set, which you can sometimes buy directly through a healthcare provider or sex therapist, or you can order them online. Dilators sort of look like dildos in the sense that they are somewhat cylindrical, but they come in sets of about 4 to 6 and range in sizes.

Often women are encouraged to try using the smallest dilator first which is about the size of a pinky finger. One can insert the dilator with some water-based lubricant and then leave it in, or you can try moving it in and out, similar to intercourse. When the smallest size has become easy and comfortable to use, women may try the next smallest size, repeat the process and eventually move to try larger sizes that are similar to the size, for example, of their partner’s penis.

Recommended Sex Positions

In terms of positions, woman-on-top is sometimes easier because it allows for a woman to take in only as much of her partner as she feels comfortable with, and at a pace that feels right to her. You may find that you need to use more lubricant than you initially expected too, and that it is easier if you apply lubricant to both his and your genitals.

Even with these sex tips, however, it is still recommended to check in with your healthcare provider as a first step as he or she can examine your body and give more personalized suggestions.

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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