The last time my boyfriend and I had sex, he told me my vagina was so stretched out he felt it was swallowing him. I was hurt, but it's true that my muscles are not as tight as they used to be. I'm not sure why--I don't have kids. But I've gained 20 pounds; could that be the problem? How can I tighten my vaginal muscles?
Sisterfriend, why do you assume he's right? Your vagina is perfect exactly the way it is. The problem is just as likely his. For instance, if he can't produce a strong erection, he will float around in anyone's vagina. Many men begin to have occasional erection difficulty after age 40, and a few as early as their twenties. And if, in addition, he's on the small side, he may be unable to create much friction in the vagina.
A 20-pound weight gain will not increase the size of your vagina. The muscle that supports the vagina, the pubococcygeal (PC) muscle, may become more lax with age as well as with childbirth. You can strengthen your PC muscle with Kegel exercises. But you must do at least 100 contractions each day, and it may take up to three months before you see a change. To learn how to perform Kegels, sit on the toilet, legs spread. Begin to urinate, then squeeze your pelvic-floor muscle to stop the flow of urine. You have now identified the PC muscle and can squeeze and release it anytime. Add a Kegelcisor, or vaginal barbell, to your routine to speed up your progress. The Kegelcisor is a long, narrow metal weight. By placing half of it inside your vagina and using your vaginal muscles to lift the remaining half, you strengthen your PC muscles. You can purchase a Kegelcisor at an adult store or online.
You should also take a close look at your relationship. I suspect that this isn't the first time your boyfriend has said something hurtful to you. When people care about each other, they find a sensitive way to talk about sex. Before you invest more energy into this relationship, have a heart-to-heart with your guy. It just may be time to find a new partner.
For the past few years I've been experiencing a great deal of pain when I have intercourse. Is this normal?
Painful sex is common, occurring in approximately 15 percent of women. But that doesn't mean you have to grit your teeth and bear it. Sex should be mutually enjoyable. To determine the cause of your pain, you'll need to answer a few questions: Does the pain start with penetration or only with deep thrusting? Does it last throughout the encounter? Do you feel the pain in your vagina or deep in your pelvis? The most common cause of painful sex is vaginal dryness. As a result of increasing age, use of such medications as birth-control pills or anti-histamines, or excessive douching, the vagina may not produce as much lubricating secretions as it used to. Another cause of dryness is inadequate foreplay. It takes time for most women to warm up and lubricate. If your partner rushes to intercourse before you're ready you'll have two dry surfaces rubbing together, producing friction and heat--and pain. Deep penetration will cause his penis bump against your cervix, leading to more pain.
Relieve this pain by using a water-based lubricant, such as Astroglide, during sex. Pain that occurs only with deep penetration usually indicates a problem in the pelvis--fibroids, ovarian cysts or adhesions, among others. A vaginal infection caused by yeast, herpes, genital warts, vulvodynia (painful vulva) or vaginismus (spasms of the vaginal muscle) may also make intercourse painful.
Pain that is not relieved with lubricants should be evaluated by a doctor.
Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., is the author of What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x (Perigee).
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