Sex With Steph: It Hurts When I Have Sex

I’ll get right to it: I seem to be hymenally/orgasmically challenged, and I’m wondering if you can shed any enlightenment on what goes on for me. I enjoy all the sexy activities and play time, but I rarely am able to achieve orgasm. I don’t receive any stimulation from my clitoris being touched or vibrated against, there’s a little sensation when firm pressure is applied, but that’s about it. So masturbation and oral sex are sort of a dud for me. Intercourse seems to be the only way I receive pleasure, and from what I’ve deduced it’s my G-spot that’s liking the attention. However, the more intense the stimulation tends to be, it also feels oddly painful at the same time internally (sort of like cramps or a tummy ache) so most of the time I can’t climax because of the discomfort. My gynecologist has always assured me she doesn’t see anything wrong “down there” so I’m not worried about that. I’m pretty open about my sex life with my friends. None of them have ever experienced anything like this, and I’ve never read about anything like this before. Is this a common problem for some women? Am I alone here? Would love some feedback if you have it.

Hey there, chica.

I’d first like to commend you on speaking up and telling your gynecologist about the issues you’ve been experiencing, and also for being open with your friends about your sexual issues. Many people are loath to admit to anything less than stellar sex in conversation, and that’s a shame, because tons of people experience some form of sexual dysfunction — whether it be with arousal problems, low libido levels, or physical discomfort, and having that support system can, at the very least, make you feel less alone.

And I can assure you, you’re not alone.

I myself have been experiencing painful intercourse for years. It took me a while to bring it up with my gynecologist, but, after first suggesting that I use lube (and believe me, I do!), my doc finally signed off on a pelvic ultrasound in order to rule out physical causes. While the source of my pain is still a mystery, I always feel as if I’m getting closer to an answer and, in the process, learning more about how to manage and/or subvert my pain. So good on you for educating yourself and seeking out answers.

As for what you’re experiencing, I’d like to point out that orgasm is not the be-all-end-all of intercourse (I mean, talk about pressure!). In fact, inability to orgasm during intercourse is one of the most common female complaints. Still, it would be nice if you could experience orgasms more often. It makes me wonder: are you placing too much pressure on yourself to orgasm? Sometimes that pressure alone can keep one from going over that blissful brink.

Or perhaps that’s not it. What concerns me about your letter is that you say you “don’t receive any stimulation from [your] clitoris being touched or vibrated against.” I’m wondering how extensively you’ve experimented with different forms of touch. The fact that you do feel something when applying firm pressure makes me optimistic. Direct clitoral stimulation can oftentimes be too intense to actually enjoy and can cause some women to experience numbness. It can actually be more fruitful to stimulate yourself by applying indirect pressure via the clitoral hood. Sometimes a little bit of lube can help, too, so that you’re not just causing yourself unnecessary irritation and discomfort.

If you’ve tried all of this, and it’s still a no-go, I’d advise you to push your gynecologist harder and request a more thorough checkup. Or perhaps even make an appointment with someone who specializes in pain-related sexual dysfunctions such as vaginismus and dyspareunia.

As for what you’re feeling with your g-spot, that’s actually quite normal. Many women, upon exploring their g-spots, report a feeling of discomfort or pressure. I myself experience a holy-crap-I-need-to-pee sensation, which is also common. Again, the key could lie in applying indirect, rather than direct, pressure to your g-spot. I suggest delving into the Kama Sutra in order to find a position that brings you more pleasure. I once reviewed Kama Sutra 52, and, only a few pages in, my husband and I found a position that did more for my sexual pain issues than anything else I’d ever tried. I’m so grateful to that book for allowing me to enjoy sex again that, sometimes, I caress its cover gently and whisper sweet nothings into its pages.

Which is to say … I think you’ll be just fine.

Got a question for “Sex with Steph sex adviser Steph Auteri? Send her an email with your pressing sex questions!