June 28, 2018

Q & A: Is The Problem His Size, Or My Dryness?

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We're pulled this way and that.

Q: My partner and I recently started having sexual intercourse, and neither one of us are virgins. We are having problems though, as he has a lot of “girth” or circumference to his penis, and I have only been with one other person and so I am not the right size for him. Another problem with this is that I am on a low-estrogen birth control and so I have difficulties with vaginal lubrication, but he doesn’t like to use lube. Is there anything I can do to make it easier for us, and easier for me to get lubricated vaginally?

A: Love, attraction and sexuality are complex. It can be challenging enough to find a partner who is attractive, smart, interesting, exciting, and compatible in ways that are important to you. To find someone who has all of these qualities, and whose body fits easily with one’s own, can be an even bigger challenge. Fortunately, human beings are adaptive. We look for ways to make our lives (and sometimes our bodies) fit comfortably together.

Because estrogen is associated with vaginal lubrication, some women do notice a change in their vaginal lubrication while on certain forms of hormonal contraception. One study found that women on hormonal contraception reported greater difficulty with lubrication in comparison with women using non-hormonal contraception.

Also, some women notice that vaginal lubrication fluctuates throughout their menstrual cycle and regardless of whether or not they are using a hormonal method of birth control (like the pill). If you would like to try another type of pill, or another form of birth control, to see if it makes a difference to your vaginal lubrication, ask your healthcare provider for information about your options.

Take Time For Arousal

Many women find that they can enhance their natural vaginal lubrication by spending more time doing the kinds of things that they find sexually arousing prior to attempting vaginal penetration. For many couples, this means spending more time in foreplay — kissing, touching over and/or under the clothes, breast stimulation, back massages, or time spent doing things to your partner’s body that you find exciting or arousing. It may also be worth exploring your feelings about this partner, as you didn’t mention how you feel about him (do you like him? Love him? Are you romantically or sexually attracted to him?).

It may be worth sitting down and talking with your partner — during a time when you are not about to have sex — and sharing with each other what you each find exciting, arousing and most pleasurable as part of your sexual play.

When a woman becomes sexually aroused, vaginal lubrication tends to increase and a process called vaginal tenting may occur (whereby the uterus is drawn upward, helping the vaginal canal grow in length and/or width — allowing more room for your partner’s penis).

The fact that you have limited sexual intercourse experience is not to “blame” in terms of sex being uncomfortable for you two. Vaginas are actually pretty similar in size from one woman to the next. Vaginas are also muscular and tend to return to their original size after sex, so it’s not the case that your body will stretch out over time.

Talk About Variety – And Lube

If your partner has a thick penis, it might be uncomfortable for many people to accept into their bodies. And as wondrous a process as vaginal tenting may be, there is a limit to the amount of tenting that occurs. A vagina can only grow so much. So what can you do? Well, you might try using store bought lubricant and placing it both at your vaginal opening and on your partner’s penis. Also, consider trying a sexual position, such as woman on top, that allows you control over the pace of penetration. You get to decide how slow or quick, and how deep, you want to go. You might also talk with your partner about broadening your sexual menu. If intercourse feels uncomfortable for you, perhaps oral sex, vibrator play, vaginal fingering, and/or hand stimulation of his penis will be sexual behaviors you’re more comfortable with and excited by. There are so many possibilities for you two to explore.

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