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One common worry that young people have about sex (particularly penetrative sex) is whether or not it’s going to hurt. While it’s totally normal for sex, whatever that means for you, to be awkward, strange and maybe a little uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be too painful. Here are some ways to help make sex more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Talk about it
Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, it’s important to discuss sex before you actually get down to it. This helps to ensure that both parties are aware of what the expectations for the sex are and that everyone consents. It can also help to alleviate any worries you might have about what you are about to do. It’s important that both you and your partner/s remember that if at any point anyone doesn’t want to keep going with the activity, that’s ok, and everyone has a responsibility to stop.
This is sometimes easier said then done, as we tend to build up ideas about sex, both good and bad, in our head. It’s likely that sex won’t be like what you’re imagining so try not to worry about it too much. When we are stressed, our bodies tend to tense up, which can make sex difficult. You might like to put on some music, watch a movie, or do something else with your partner to help you relax and take the pressure off.
Foreplay is the activities that you and your partner/s engage in before sex, to get into the mood. No matter what kind of sex you’re having, foreplay is important, especially if you’re new to sex. Foreplay can help your body relax and help it produce natural lubricants that can help make sex more enjoyable (but you can still add lube!).
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Lube is your best friend! Lube helps by allowing easier movement during sex, which will reduce the likelihood of pain if there’s any kind of penetration. It is also reduces friction, which aside from being another potential pain causer, can also make barriers (e.g. condoms) more likely to break. Have a look at our lube blog post, to help find a good lube for you.
Painful sex may be caused by something as simple as the way you are doing it. Coming at it from a different angle may be all that’s needed to make sex good for you. Experiment with different positions to find something that is comfortable for you and your partners/s. If you’re unsure what works for you it might be a good idea to try masturbation as it can help you to figure out what you enjoy, as well as what hurts and what doesn’t.
Worrying about STI transmission can make it difficult to enjoy sex. The best way to avoid transmission is to use barrier methods like condoms, dams and gloves! Despite the common myth, it is definitely possible to get a STI the first time you have sex, so if you are new to sex, or just want to learn more, check out our website for more information on STI’s and Contraception
When Sex really hurts
If you are finding that despite all of these tips above sex is still really painful, it might be time to see a doctor. There are a number of medical conditions that can lead to painful sex and might need treatment. Pain could also be caused by an allergy to the kind of lube or barrier that you are using. (It can be embarrassing to go to a doctor about things like this, but a trained medical professional may be able to help you figure out the cause of the painful sex, and help you to get treatment or a way that you can have sex that doesn’t cause pain).
The most important thing to remember about sex is that it’s supposed to feel good for everyone involved. If it doesn’t feel good then have a talk with your partner/s about what would make it better for you. You might even find that sex is just not for you, which is totally fine too!