Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sex and Pain

If you didn’t get the chance to tune in and listen to last weeks’ periscope (@smrtsexintimacy) on making a move please keep reading! 
Here are the things I’m going to let you know upfront: I am not a doctor. I am not going to tell you I know all the answers to the complex mysteries of pain and sexual activity and am going to do my best to provide you with some points to steer you into a good direction. The human body is beautifully complex and has many areas where possible breakdowns may occur. If you have not already talked to a doctor about the pain you are feeling, I highly suggest making a quick appointment.
Pain is your body’s natural response to unpleasant stimulus. The pain we talked about on the periscope was not the, this hurts so good! Type of pain either. This is the kind of pain where it is no longer fun, easy and is distracting.  
When discussing pain, I usually hear more about pain from female bodied individuals, though there can be pain for men in regards to size and fit in their partners. Anal sex play comes up with both parties as being uncomfortable and painful at times. In regards to pain with anal play, I beg you, do not use a numbing lubricant. Pain is not a fluke but a result of improper techniques. If you are feeling pain during anal sex play here are some simple tips:
1. Slow down: Rushing into this activity doesn’t allow for the body to be sufficiently ready to accept penetration. The anus/colon is not built like a vagina and isn’t made for quick, aggressive thrusting. The tubing isn’t the same shape, it bends and curves. Take your time to warm up. It’s ok—wouldn’t you rather take a little time and be able to do more than hustle into the activity and ruin future chances of more play?
2. Get a good lube:  Also unlike the vagina, the colon/anus doesn’t secrete it’s own lube and needs some help for things to flow. My personal recommendation is to get a good silicone lube, with one caveat: If you are using silicone toys, you cannot use a silicone lube. Silicone is not compatible with silicone on a chemical level and will melt your toys. The benefit of silicone from an anal play stand point is that it does not dry out like a water based lube would. Down side, (other than melting some toys) is that it does leave little stains if you get a gob of it on your fabric/sheets. 
When it comes to pain from vaginal sex, those two points also apply, but making sure both parties are adequately aroused. When the female body is aroused, it swells with blood and becomes ready for sex. If the body is not fully aroused sometimes things will feel tighter than normal, pull more, pinch and sometimes your partner won’t be able to go as deep. Remember: the female body is like a crockpot, it gets really hot but it takes a few minutes.
Physical Breakdowns
There are times where simply slowing down and using good lube will not be enough. There are certain pain disorders (Vaginismus is the biggest) in which the pain comes from a neurologic place and not an unready place. Vaginismus is an intense muscular contraction that makes it difficult for any type of penetration to occur. Penetration problems extend in more than just sexual, and situations like PAP smears or using tampons/cups can also create pain. Vaginismus can be a lifelong problem, occur after trauma, be acute or chronic. Like many physical breakdowns that can happen in the system, sometimes there is a clear explanation as to why and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. 
There are physical therapists trained to work with pelvic floor muscles, therapists that specialize in vaginismus and wonderful sex coaches. I will be the first to admit that issues surrounding Vaginismus are not my area of expertise, but I would love to recommend you to someone in my network for help if you’d like.
Be patient with yourself. This is not something you did wrong or something you deserve. There is nothing bad or broken with you and you should try to remove any shame you feel surrounding this. While sexual penetration, which seems to me the  main course for many people, may feel like something that is out of reach to you- you are probably really great at all the appetizers. Cultivate a wide platter of delicious appetizers that you enjoy, make YOU feel sexy and are fun for you. 
Life Milestones
There are changes in your body that can create pain as well! These can be short term or longer term changes but are easily adjusted. Remember what I said above: Lube and patience! 
1. PregnancyFor some, pregnancy is some of the best sex they’ve had. There is an increased blood flow to your genital areas causing swelling and sensation. For others, the pain of pregnancy and finding ways to accommodate your new/changing body can be difficult. Positions you used to like cause strain on your belly or are uncomfortable. Swelling breasts and tender nipples may not be as fun to play with as they were pre-pregnancy. If this is the case for you, just find something that works for you and your partner. Maybe you might not be able to do the same types of acrobatics that you did pre-pregnancy. Maybe experiment more with oral stimulation so you can enjoy the new fullness of your vulva! Do what makes you feel comfortable and happy- and make sure to communicate with your partner. 
2. MenopauseThis is such an amazing life milestone, similar to pregnancy, where you get to have a rebirth of yourself! You no longer have to worry about pregnancy, you can just relax and enjoy free, unbridled sexual adventures. Some women experience pain because your body stops producing the same amounts of estrogen as it did pre-menopause, which makes your vaginal wall, mons pubis, and inner/outer labia slightly stiffer/thinner. Your body also may not lubricate the same as it did before menopause. There is nothing wrong with this, and chance are if you are having regular sexual adventures, your body will move seamlessly through menopause (If you don’t use it you’ll lose it). If you are feeling a pinching, pulling, painful sensation when you are being sexual my best advice is to …get a good lube and take your time.
I know, I know, I could have made this post one paragraph long and talk about good lubes (I always recommend Sliquid and anything they’ve ever made because it’s my personal favorite) but I wanted to elaborate a little. If you have any questions you can reach out to me via email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube…honestly just chat me and I’d be happy to answer your questions. In closing I’d like to disclose this important point: 
Too often lack of communication comes off as lack of interest. I can understand and empathize that having pain during sexual activity may not make you feel sexy or desirable. Flinching and gasps may also come across as being playful if you partner does not understand your pain (Let’s be honest, I’ve heard people talk about how gasps/moans are very sexy but if you’re moaning in pain and your partner can’t tell they don’t know how to fix it!) . Bottling up emotion then letting it out in one sudden burst of “I hate this and it hurts!” or slowly denying sexual advances with no explanation can hurt both you and your partner’s sexual self-esteem. Save you guys some emotional heartache by expressing that you are feeling pain or speaking up. If you need a third party to help we can set up a conference call.
Can’t wait to talk to you guys about rapid (early) ejaculation tomorrow at 7pm! Also just a heads up, I will be in the Los Angeles area next week so my Periscope on kissing will be at 6pm PST instead of 7pm MST.

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