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Good Health with Emily > Sex pain, protection, and sickness: OH MY!

My question is why do many of us hurt during sex? also, do condoms actually protect from all STIs (yes i found out they are called STIs now, infections) or just pregnancy? also, birth control makes me feel nausious is their other methods i can try to avoid pregnancy?

From Melissa

(Originally posted under, "Welcome to the Sex Questions Blog!")

August 7, 2009 | Registered CommenterEmily Owens

So is there anyone who has/ is using the Ring? I have been on BC pills for a while now and I'm thinking of trying something new, like the Ring. So, is there anyone that has some first-hand experience with it? Thanks!

-Curious

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCurious

Unfortunately for us, there are countless reasons why women may feel pain during sex. Many of those reasons are easily remedied while others need a little more help than we can provide ourselves. One of the first reasons why you may be experiencing pain during sex is simply that your body isn’t ready. What I mean is, maybe you need a little more foreplay. Did you know that it takes women about 15 minutes to get “turned on” enough to be ready for sex? It only takes guys like 30 seconds (ok, a little longer than that, but not by much). So, next time you are ready to get busy, take your time. It is important to relax the mind and the muscles. Do a little foreplay, add some making-out, have your partner give you a nice whole-body rub down . . . Give your body enough time to REALLY want it. And if you are finding that you are constantly in a situation where you have to hurry or someone might hear you in the next room that might be another reason why you are in pain. If you are worried about someone walking in or hearing, you may be tensing up and your only hint of that is by the pain you are feeling during sex. Relaxing is a big part of painless sex. ☺

Another reason that you are experiencing pain may be that you just need more Lube. I know our bodies provide lubrication when we are turned on, but if you are experiencing pain, you might just need a little more to reduce the friction. That’s a quick and easy way to try and reduce pain.

A third reason for the pain could be the position you are having sex in. Sometimes the Missionary position causes pain because gravity is pulling your bodies downward. One position you might want to try is having the woman on top. If you are on top, then you can control the rhythm, the speed, the angle, and the depth the penis can go. Some positions that you might want to avoid are any that involve you being on the edge of something like a table, chair, bed, or desk, including doggy style. These positions (because of the angle it creates) causes the vagina to be a little tighter and therefore, could cause you some pain. These are also positions where the woman is in less control over the angle and the penetration depth.

The 4th reason why you might be experiencing pain during intercourse could be that you have an infection or an injury in your vagina. Sometimes sex can be painful if women have a Urinary Tract Infection, an STI like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, HPV, or Herpes, or the pain could be due to an allergic reaction. Sometimes our bodies react poorly to certain kinds of condoms or lubricants. If you have been using Latex condoms during each of these painful episodes, you might want to get tested to see if you are allergic to latex. You may also want to visit your Gynecologist to see if you have an infection just to be sure.

Do condoms actually protect from all STI’s or just pregnancy?

Latex, polyurethane, and “natural” condoms all protect against pregnancy when used correctly. STI’s are a different story. Refer to the “Condoms” blog for a more detailed explanation of this. But, to give you a general idea, Latex condoms protect against all STI’s except for pubic lice or “crabs”. However, since Herpes and HPV can be contracted from skin-to-skin contact of the ENTIRE genital area, there is still potential for contracting them if you use a male condom for vaginal intercourse or oral sex. A lot of us forget that both HPV and Herpes infections can be found on all parts (inside and outside) of the genitals. This includes the labia, the anus, the base of the penis, and the scrotum.

Birth control makes me feel nauseous, are there other methods I can try to avoid pregnancy?
Oh definitely! The contraceptive pills (which affect hormone balance) can prevent pregnancy. But, there are other ways you can take charge and protect yourself that will not cause your stomach to feel sick.

You might want to look into getting the Ring. It is literally a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina. You should keep it in for 3 weeks. During the 4th week your vagina is ring free. This method is similar to the pills (3 weeks on, 1 week off) but you do not ingest it, so the risk of nausea is less. Another great thing about the ring is that you don’t have to worry about exact placement of it like you do for the Cervical cap and Diaphragm. I think this is probably the best alternative to Oral Contraceptives because it is non-invasive, it is cyclical like the pills you are already taking, and there is a minimal risk of side effects that are associated with various other contraceptive options.

The Diaphragm and the Cervical Cap are both items that you place over the cervix inside of your vagina shortly before you have sex. They can be left in anywhere from 6-48 hours. The biggest problem with these options is the increased risk of infections and cervical irritation. If you are already having pain during sex, these may not be something that you want to risk. Another downside to these is that you need to be fitted for them by a doctor, rather than getting them over the counter at a pharmacy.

Some of the other options that you may want to explore because they do not need monthly attention are an Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Spermicide. The IUD must be put into your uterus by a doctor and can be left in for 5-10 years and the failure rate is almost ZERO. The IUD is a small plastic T shaped device that basically floats around in your uterus and prevents pregnancy. The biggest problem with the IUD is that it may increase the risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Spermacide is a good way to reduce the risk of pregnancy also. Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm once it is in your body. The biggest problem with Spermicide is that since it is a chemical, it can really irritate the vaginal walls, thus causing more pain (which we don’t want for you). Spermicide used alone isn’t as effective as barrier protection, so you may want to use an additional form of protection.

So, I think you should discuss some of these options with your doctor because I don’t want you to be in pain AND feeling sick all in the name of SEX. Sex should be a great and pleasurable thing. ☺ I hope this helped and may your sex life be pleasurable and pain-free!

Your Loving Sex-pert,

Emily

Eao2116@columbia.edu

October 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterEmily Owens

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