Is it normal for sex to hurt?

Up to 20 percent of women suffer dyspareunia. Here’s a journey through the psychological causes.

sex hurt

 Why does having sex hurt?

 Your doctor should be your first port of call if you are in discomfort during sex so that they can rule out any medical issues.

The medical term for ongoing or recurring pain experienced during sex is dyspareunia. It includes pain during sexual activity that may be felt in the pelvic region or at the vaginal entrance. It can cause anything from slight discomfort to severe pain. It may cause a lack of interest in intimacy and sex dissatisfaction.

Common dyspareunia complaints include:

  • Pain during sexual penetration
  • Pain during any penetration (including inserting a tampon or suppository)
  • Pain during sexual thrusting (higher up in the vagina, near the cervix)
  • Throbbing pain during or after sex
  • Aches or burning pain in the vagina

Causes of painful sex can include:


·  Injury

·  Inflammation

·  Post childbirth

·  STI’s 

·  Infection

·  sexual position

·   Medical issues


·  anxiety 

·  fear of the pain

·  depression

·  stress

·  shame or guilt around sex

·  lack of arousal 

Vaginal dryness

Is a cause of pain and shame for many women. This is because wetness is seen as sign or sexual arousal and desire for a partner. Vaginal dryness can be caused by reduction in oestrogen especially during the menopause or after childbirth.

Medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines or contraception can all result in vaginal dryness. However, do not stop taking any medication and consult with your doctor.

Anxiety around being intimate and lack of foreplay can also cause dryness. While lube can be used to solve the problem, high quality foreplay is still essential first to ensure the whole of the body is in an aroused state and ready for penetration. Often it is more important to be so aroused physically and mentally to a point that you have a need for penetration rather than being ‘wet enough’. 


Is the involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles leading to painful intercourse. You can find out more here

Vaginismus is the body’s automatic reaction to the fear of some or all types of vaginal penetration. Whenever penetration is attempted, your vaginal muscles tighten up on their own. You have no control over it. Occasionally, you can get vaginismus even if you have previously enjoyed painless penetrative sex.

Causes can include:

·  Fear

·  conditioned body response

·  belief systems

·  Shame

·  Guilt

·  negative past sexual experiences

·  Stress or anxiety  

There is no single treatment or cure for dyspareunia because its symptoms are so varied. Instead, ask your doctor to assist you in identifying the underlying cause, whether it be psychological or physical, so you can get closer to a solution.

Do you now fear having sex.

It could have psychological roots. At first, you might say, this seems crazy. I enjoy having sexual relations. How is it possible that all of this suffering is in my head?

You’re unaware of just how potent our minds are. But because our bodies are intelligent, sometimes when we feel pain, it’s a warning.

sex hurt

Sexual pain is often psychological

Having sex makes a lot of women nervous. if there are no symptoms of an illness or a physical defect. Pain is a common side effect of trauma. Your current sexual health is impacted by your past experiences and connections.

Dyspareunia must be treated with therapy and self-examination. But more than that, a cure requires you to believe in my body and faith that you will eventually get over the agony and love sex.

Many women are taught from an early age that having sex hurts and is something they should put up with, which contributes to the underreporting of physical sexual pain.

 Fear of disappointing or upsetting a partner is a significant barrier to resolving sexual pain. Women who will prioritise their partner’s enjoyment and experience over their own sexual comfort and satisfaction are prone to doing this.

Another reason why many individuals put up with uncomfortable sex is exposure to porn. In porn, sex is frequently depicted as rough, with minimal foreplay and little control by the woman. For a lot of women, pornographic sex appears painful and sends the body into protective mode to shield itself from harm. The mind then establishes a negative reaction pattern that associates having sex with undesirable outcomes. Your body now unconsciously associates pain with sex in order to protect itself from those unpleasant side effects.

The fear tension pain cycle is the result of this. According to this hypothesis, fear makes the body rigid, which makes the pain worse. The worse pain then makes the fear worse. Furthermore fear triggers the fight or flight response which stops the production of sex hormones needed for arousal, and directs blood away from sexual organs. It switches the body from feeling mode into thinking mode, and the body is waiting and anticipating pain.

The cycle can be interrupted by:

Reduced fear

·  Good knowledge about how the body responds when sexually aroused

·  Self-exploration to understand how your body feels throughout the whole arousal process

·  Having a safe and consensual relationship with boundaries and consent 

·  Be open and honest with a partner

·  Challenging your old beliefs and cultural expectation surrounding sex

Reduced tension 

·  Allow your arousal to build

·  Build up the sexual craving until you are aching to be touched 

·  Only move forward with penetration when you feel fully aroused 

·  Relaxation practices such a breathing techniques, visualisations each step of the sexual encounter being enjoyable, easy and pain free or reframing saying positive statements to yourself such as sex will be enjoyable

Pain During Sex sm
A woman facing away from the viewer looking off into the distance deep in thought.


How can hypnotherapy help?

It is naturally challenging and embarrassing for many to discuss sex issues. Some people might decide not to ask for assistance as a result. However, keeping the issue hidden can exacerbate it and cause a lot of stress and misery for you and those around you, especially your partner.

Traditional sex therapy frequently has better results with both cooperative partners. But hypnosis has the advantage that it can be used to treat a single person without the partner’s involvement. When an emotional cause rather than a physical one underlies a sexual issue, hypnotherapy can assist you in understanding and resolving the issue.

Make sure to consult your doctor to rule out any physical causes that might be causing your issue.

With the aid of hypnosis, one can quickly identify underlying conflicts, unresolved emotions related to the past, and unobservable variables. We’ll look at some of the ways hypnotherapy can assist you in resolving sexual issues below.

Positive thoughts towards sex

Your subconscious mind, which houses all of your memories and keeps track of your body’s processes, will be used in hypnotherapy to help you and your therapist find the source of the issue you’re having. You can overcome whatever past trauma you’ve suffered and get rid of your sex-related anxiety by using regression techniques.

For a fulfilling, healthy sex life, your hypnotherapist can also offer encouraging recommendations to assist you in focusing on pleasurable sex-related thoughts and feelings. One technique can assist in re-aligning the mind and removing any self-imposed “blockages.” Your hypnotherapist will support you in maintaining an open mind and a positive outlook so that you can enable sexual contact to naturally lead to climax, for example, if you are suffering from anorgasmia.


By using visualisation techniques, you can start picturing yourself as you want to be or as you have achieved a particular objective. Affirmations can also be useful to support the mental picture you are focusing on.

For instance, you may use an affirmation like “My lover considers me sexually appealing” to help you if you are experiencing problems with your body image or having your partner see you naked. Your chances of success will rise if you keep using these strategies outside of your hypnotherapy sessions. To assist you with this, your hypnotherapist might also provide you recordings of your sessions.

Reduce stress

Our libido, in particular, can be severely impacted by stress in all facets of our lives. Your sex drive may be affected by the hormones that are released when we are stressed because this is a normal reaction to how we are feeling.

Of course, there will always be causes of stress in our life, but we can alter how we react to stress. Here hypnotherapy can be beneficial. Your hypnotherapist can assist you in pinpointing the sources of stress, anxiety, or concern in your life and in creating coping mechanisms.

Promote relaxation

The mind is better able to adjust to and accept the recommendations that your hypnotherapist is making when you are relaxed. They will make sure that the setting is serene for your session and will guide you in focusing on your breathing so that your body can unwind and re-establish synchronicity, enabling your mind to concentrate.

You will gain the self-assurance and relaxation necessary to experience a sexually fulfilling, intimate relationship through hypnosis.


Tips for coping and improving your sex life

There are other ways to be intimate with your spouse than penetration. You can ease yourself back into your comfort zone by engaging in nonpenetrative activities like kissing, oral sex, massage, stroking, and “dry humping.”

Changing positions or taking a warm bath together might also help to relax your muscles and lessen any discomfort you may be experiencing. Changing positions during intercourse can frequently relieve uncomfortable sex. Additionally, sexual pleasure can be obtained and experienced in a variety of ways, such as through the use of sex toys, oral stimulation, and touch, and penetration is only one aspect of sex.

Additionally, making an effort to maintain your calm will help you feel more confident. To help you relax and clear your mind before having sex, you might also try adding deep breathing exercises or meditation.

Also keep in mind that waiting a little before trying penetration again is quite acceptable.

It is my hope that this article gives you an understanding of how why sex can be painful. As well as providing hope for resolving this condition.

Now that you understand how common painful sex is, you may be ready to find the courage and seek treatment for it.

There are many different ways resolve  dyspareunia, and it’s important to find the path suitable for you.

Perhaps sexual freedom hypnotherapy may be suitable for you. If you have any questions, do let me know, as I am ready to answer them.

Helen Birch a Sex Hypnotherapist and sexual freedom therapist, specialises in working with. I provide a free safe and confidential 15 minute telephone consultation.

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