Make Sex A No Pain - All Gain Game

Make Sex A No Pain - All Gain Game

No Pain, No Gain
Is usually true, but not for the Sex Game
Sex should be a zone of pleasure only
And not painful or make you lonely
Education, Efforts and Recovery
Can help you see Sex as a joyful discovery!

A girl in her teenage years fell in love with her childhood best friend or high school sweetheart. The relationship stood the tests of time and long distance too, as they navigated careers across cities and sometimes even continents. As the distance made the hearts grow fonder, the intense desire to express their love for each other also grew stronger. 

With a lot of excitement, a buzz of butterflies in their stomachs, the lovers met, all set for a night of intimacy. Foreplay, check; Setting & Mood, check; Consent, check! But bam! The guy hit a wall as they tried penetrative sex and the girl wailed in pain. It’s the first time jitters, they said to each other. 

Multiple failed attempts later, more physical pain, burning sensations ensued, accompanied with endless tears rolling down the girl’s cheeks. “What’s wrong with me?” “I feel like such a failure” “Is my vagina deformed?” “Why won’t this pain go away?” A barrage of hopeless thoughts pulled the girl’s mental and emotional state into a bottomless pit of despair. 

“Just have a little wine next time” “You just need to relax” “It’s all in your head” and the worst of it all “First time sex is supposed to hurt, get over with it”, trickled in pieces of unhelpful advice that made things worse for the couple.

Have you also been told that sex is supposed to be painful? Have you experienced it too and are now avoiding sex altogether because you have accepted the ‘Sex=Pain’ loop? Well at the very outset, let’s call a spade a spade. SEX IS NOT AND SHOULD NEVER BE PAINFUL. If you have been experiencing pain, you need to know that  decoding your situation is possible and help is available. We are here to help you unlearn the old equation and introduce you to some friends (lubes, toys, sexual awareness, communication) who can help you learn afresh that ‘Sex=Pleasure’.

The Whats and Hows

Let’s break down the various forces that could be the killjoy for your sexual experience. We will guide you in figuring out what could be your specific cause(s) and how you could reclaim your best sexual self. Since sex is a mind-body connection at play, it’s essential to know which of the two could be dominating your causality. The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology estimates that three-quarters of women have experienced pain during sex or Dyspareunia at some point. With the following information, although non-exhaustive, you can feel empowered to initiate an educated and helpful conversation with your OB/Gyn and accelerate your path of recovery!

Physical / Medical Conditions

#1 Hormonal imbalance

You might have been asked to ‘Lube it up!’. While not bad advice, it is important to know if lack of lubrication itself is the reason behind your misery. Hormonal changes in a woman’s body can lead to insufficient natural lubrication - thyroid issues, postpartum, menopause (oestrogen loss causing lack of stretch in vaginal tissue), menstrual cycle time, etc. can affect this. If this seems to be your particular cas, opt in for scent-free, irritant free lubes for vagina/anus etc. (consult your doctor here especially if you plan to conceive) or even natural oils such as coconut, castor etc. to relieve your symptoms.

#2 Endometriosis 

Don’t let the name frighten you. Endometriosis simply means that the uterine lining that is supposed to prepare your uterus for pregnancy every menstrual cycle, starts spilling over to other reproductive areas (ovaries, rectum, vagina) This can lead to extremely troublesome menstrual cramps or ovarian cysts, etc. Fairly common these days, your doctor can prescribe you birth control and/or OTCs to help you slowly overcome this.

#3 Fibroids

Fibroids are tumours, usually benign, that grow around your uterus. Usually asymptomatic, fibroids come in all shapes and sizes, and can affect up to 80% of women as they reach their middle age. If your fibroids do require help, medication or surgery may be advised.

#4 Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues

If you have a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or allied GI issues, abdominal pain, burning sensations, blockage, might be what would accompany your sexual endeavours. Solving the GI problem, along with swapping into more comfortable sexual positions can make your life pain free.

#5 Infections/ Inflammations

Bacteria, yeast, STIs, scar tissue from a previous surgery, all of them can wreak havoc on your vagina. If you suspect inflammation, unusual discharge, itching, redness or swelling, consult your doctor immediately. Vulval inflammation specifically can be quite pesky (merits its own name - Vulvodynia) and its cause remains unknown. But steroid therapy can offer relief almost immediately. In fact, all of the above causes can be rather straightforward to address, and you can be on your way to happy sex faster.

Emotional / Mental Factors

#6 Stress, Fatigue or Conflict in Relationships 

So many times, we ignore the outlets stress and fatigue can possibly take in our day-to-day activities. Chronic stress, fatigue and even unaddressed/ buried-under-the-carpet relationship issues pop up in your body’s responses. These could also be making your vagina close down or tense up. What can help is to journal your mental/ emotional turmoil, open communication with your partner and make time for venting stress out of your system on a regular basis.

#7 Anxiety, Trauma or Body Image Issues

Take the above challenges a notch higher, and you can end with anxiety or body image issues. Sadly, painful sex can be a trigger that leads to a self-perpetuating cycle in this case. Also, trauma faced in the past, emotional turbulence as a child, sexual abuse etc. can reinforce the body’s defense mechanism, keeping your guard up subconsciously. If this is your scenario, healthy communication with a sex therapist can aid you here.

#8 Lack of Sex Ed

One of the most common causes, with the simplest solution, yet spoken about the least, is the lack of sexual education. When we are unaware of our/ our partner’s bodies, our sexual needs, preferences etc. and this gets messed up by poor social conditioning, sex starts becoming a devil to dance with, instead of being, a companion offering pleasure. Today, a wealth of resources are at your fingertips; educate and start exploring a world of painless connection that you deserve. Additionally, bring in the little elves - sex toys (kegel/ pleasure balls can especially amp up your solo play) that can help you better understand your erogenous zones (what brings you pleasure & how).

#9 Vaginismus*

This one is rather tricky because it *encompasses both mental & physical factors within it. Vaginismus technically refers to the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles, making penetration painful or even impossible in some cases. Because it manifests physically, Pelvic Floor Therapy starts by addressing the tightness in the pelvic region. Here, well lubed dilators and even kegel balls can come in as a boon. Both work with you towards strengthening the pelvic floor. Combine them with kegel exercises, and you can note considerable relief with your symptoms in a short span of time. 

It is also equally important to know the reason behind your vaginismus. Herein, comes the need for holistic mental and emotional healing. So, you would need self reflection, counselling and physical rehab altogether to combat vaginismus. But it might just be the most powerful journey you take for your sexual persona!

Take your time to be aware of your pain and what it is trying to tell you. Use the above list as a conversation starter with your medical practitioner. You might even discover some other causes that meet your specific condition. But, whether the cause is physical, mental or a combination of both, remember a solution is at hand. All you need is a bit of knowledge, courage and patience to give yourself a pain-free, pleasure-laden sex life!

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