Candid Corner: More pain, less pleasure

I’m very afraid of being intimate as each time my boyfriend tries to penetrate me it feels very painful. The thought of sex itself makes me nervous and this affects my behaviour in intimate situations with him. I think he believes I no longer am attracted to him. Please help.

Ans: Painful sex is very common. Studies say that it has been reported by at least one out of ten women. Many women like you don’t tell partners because they are ashamed. They suffer in silence or start avoiding intimacy all together. You will have to speak to your partner about your discomfort, if you want to maintain this relationship. There are multiple reasons that can cause painful sex.

You should consult a doctor and a pelvic floor specialist to find out a correct diagnosis. Make your boyfriend part of this journey so that he also understands the support you will require. There are many solutions that can help you minimise and even eliminate the pain but it is important to understand what is causing it first.

Also, remember that sex and intimacy are not just about penetration. There are so many ways of experiencing pleasure that doesn’t include penetrative sex. Things will change for both of you once you shift the goal from intercourse to pleasure. You will get to know each other’s turn-ons, physical and psychological, and take time to explore them.

You will find out what type of touch, words, narratives, and gestures arouse you and what other body parts you want to engage to feel pleasure. You will learn how to maximise pleasurable sensations and to be aroused in a more relaxed and embodied way for longer periods of time. Knowing what you like will take over what is unpleasant and you will be able to focus on making your partner feeling wanted again. Focus on pleasure!

The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing ( (Have a query? Send it on

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