If you experience pain during sex, you are not alone. Almost 75% of women experience pain during or right after sex at some point in their lives, and 20% of women experience pain all the time. And there is no one pain that is universal. Women might feel pain outside the vagina (the vulva), inside the vagina itself, the erimium, lower back, pelvic region, uterus or bladder. The reasons behind the pain are also diverse — women may have an underlying gynecologic problem, like cysts, endometriosis, vaginismus, vulvodynia, vaginal atrophy (dryness), childbirth injuries, or vaginal infections, or from challenges around sexual desire and arousal.¹²
Women who experience this know all too well how a physical experience that can bring us closer together and help us experience pleasure can turn quickly into a physical and emotional nightmare. But we want to make one thing clear: persistent pain during sex is not normal, and can be addressed.
At Hela, we believe in helping women get the care and tools they need to have normal, healthy sexual experience. We are firm advocates in eliminating shame and embarrassment, and promoting tools that can help you take back control.
Before we get to that — one thing you need to do first:
Talk to a Healthcare Professional
If you experience any type of pain during sex, whether insertive or foreplay, you should talk to a healthcare professional, such as a gynecologist, nurse practioner, sexual pain specialist, or a clincial sexologist. They can help you rule out gynecologic conditions that may be causing your pain, or refer you to the appropriate healthcare provider to address your specific need. You can reach out to your healthcare provider, take a class on the Hela Health platform to learn more about the types of providers, or find a provider through the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.
Now, onto the good stuff:
Find a Great Product
Once you identify your underlying challenge, there are a range of products available to help you on your journey:
The Ohnut assists with pain during penetration.
Desert Harvest’s Releveum® product may help relieve pain, irritation, dryness and skin damage associated with vulvodynia, lichens sclerosus/planus, and other vulvar and vaginal pain.
VMagic helps relive vulvar dryness, redness, itching, burning and general discomfort, especially for women in menopause and to rejuvenate dry, thin vulvar tissue.
The Joylux vFit Device promotes hydration, improves sensation and increases confidence — all from the privacy of home at a fraction of the cost of in-office options.
Vaginismus’ Vaginal Trainer Set may help women with pelvic floor disorders slowly increase tolerance of size.
Amy Stein’s e-book is a great resource for strategies to help heal pelvic pain
Don’t be shy, these products are amazing and can be one way you can alleviating te pesky pain.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Some cases of painful sex might be aided by strengthening your pelvic floor, in addition to a whole range of other benefits like adressing leaky bladder. Products to help strengthen your pelvic floor include the Elvie Trainer, Yarlap, Elitone, Perifit, and Kegel Beads. You can also take a class with a pelvic floor trainer on Hela Health to get the basics on your pelvic floor, connect you to resources, and to get you started on exercises for strengthening. Check with your healthcare provider to see if pelvic floor strengthening is right for you.
Use a Lubricant
We know lube might make you feel, well, icky. But the truth is that lube or a vaginal moisturizer might be helpful if decreasing levels of estrogen is causing vaginal dryness that can make sex painful. This can happen at any stage of life, but if particularly common during perimenopause or menopause. Some products you might want to consider are Vaginal Estradiol Cream (For Vaginal Dryness), Intimate Moisture, or Personal Lubricant.
Join an Online Support Group
Sometimes we need to talk with peers who suffer from similar challenges to share tips, ideas, and support. There are a range of online communities and Facebook groups, as well as a live, video support group on Hela Health that is launching in early 2020. These groups help us remember we are not in this alone.
Take a Class
If you want to understand the various causes and treatments for pain during sex to be a more educated consumer, either in tandem or before a consultation with a healthcare provider, taking a class on sexual pain and function on the Hela platform can be a great way to get educated and knowledgeable. Our classes will launch in early 2020 and you can sign up for early access at helahealth.io.
Women tend to feel broken if they need outside help to feel pleasure, but at Hela, we want you to feel empowered to address your needs head on. Don’t wait another minute to reach out and get the resources you need to achieve your goals.
 ACOG FAQ, When Sex is Painful https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq020.pdf
 Cosmopolitan, Is Painful Sex Normal? https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a53376/is-pain-during-sex-normal/