The candles are lit and the mood is set, but if sex is painful, that can be a big turn-off. Many people that deal with painful intercourse can also experience relationship and intimacy issues with their partner. Two of the big causes of painful sex are poor lubrication and pelvic floor tension.
3 Causes of Pelvic Floor Muscle Tension
- Weakness of core or glutes: If the muscles surrounding our pelvis are weak they will not keep our pelvis stable; in turn, the pelvic floor muscles will tense in order to create stability in the pelvis.
- Stress and anxiety: We often carry tension in our jaw, upper back, and shoulders as well as our pelvic floor when we are feeling stressed or anxious.
- Pain and trauma: Our bodies respond to pain and trauma by tensing for protection. Pain in your lower back or hips can often cause tension in pelvic floor muscles. Trauma can include surgeries such as hysterectomies, C-sections, or vaginal births as well as painful sexual experiences.
Our Tips for Reducing Painful Sex
If the pain is caused by the vaginal tissues being too dry, indicated by tearing or bleeding of tissues, here are a few things you can try:
1. Use a lubricant for any sexual activity: There are several types of lubricants, including water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, and aloe-based which are some of the more popular options.
2. Use a vaginal moisturizer with hyaluronic acid: Apply in the vaginal canal at night before bedtime 2-3 times per week.
If the pain is due to tension in pelvic floor muscles, here are a few things you can try:
3. Practice diaphragmatic breathing: This is a technique that utilizes abdominal breathing, belly breathing, or deep breathing and is done by contracting the diaphragm.
4. Use a pelvic wand or vaginal dilators: It is best to have guidance from your pelvic physical therapist (PT) on how often to utilize these tools as well as techniques for proper use.
Intercourse should be enjoyable, not painful! If you are ready to have pain-free intercourse, contact us today for an evaluation and begin receiving an individualized plan of care.