7th grade sex ed did not cover this!
April 3, 2009 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Backstory: Since my very first copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves", I have never, ever been able to understand exactly which parts of my nether regions were the hymen and which parts were 'the rest of me' so to speak. I now have a couple of months of sex with my first partner under my belt and the landscape is continuing to erode. What gives, and (when) should I worry? All kinds of TMI to be found inside!

I am into about my third month of penetrative sex with my first partner, who is big in the penis department. We haven't measured, but he can't wear anything smaller than magnum condoms. He's been great about helping me adjust, doesn't rush me through foreplay etc. and has been generally awesome. The (always condom-ed) sex is really great once we get going, but about half the time it's painful right at the start (a stinging feeling near the entrance of my vagina). Adding more lube helps but doesn't eliminate this initial pain. Mostly I'm concerned about possible friction damage from this, or from toy/finger penetration...

Right now, the situation with my vaginal entrance is basically a rim with a number of small 'notches' running along the sides & bottom. I think this is fairly normal, since my gyn. who I saw about 2 months after starting to have sex didn't have anything to say about it. However, just inside is where things get a little confusing for me. Basically, I seem to be developing more texture just inside the entrance than I used to have, and I'm worried that it's actual damage from friction that is not supposed to be happening.

It's all within the first inch or so inside, and on the upper side of my vagina (toward the clitoris), on either side of what I think is my g-spot (the books were also not very good at explaining that part). What's prompting this question is that my boyfriend noticed a new little section of slightly separated tissue while fingering me. Previous changes had seemed more like texture variation, this feels like one or two small horizontal cracks in the vaginal wall, leaving a pea-sized area that can be wiggled around a little right next to the g-spot.

The area is not painful however (just weird-feeling), and I don't remember a specific incident where this might have occurred. My boyfriend noticed it while fingering me, but we're not sure how long it's been there, because it's not quite in the 'line of travel'. Since we're both n00bs we don't really have a metric for how vigorous our passtimes are relative to other people, but I'd guess we're on the more enthusiastic end of vanilla sex. So on the one hand, I'm well aware that my vagina is designed for penises to fit inside, and on the other hand I have absolutely no idea what's normal.

Things that would be very helpful:

1) Is this type of change normal, even after a while of having sex? Is what I'm experiencing actually just more hymen erosion, or something else?

2) What, if anything, should we be doing to prevent (or treat) this, if it's a problem?

Thank you!

throwaway email: hymenQmefi@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
My guess (IANYD) is that this is totally normal. Heck, "friction" is totally normal, and the inside of girly parts--or, my girly parts, at least--are pretty well textured. If your partner is well-endowed, a little pain as your body adjuts at the very beginning of sex is also normal, or at least, something I've experienced. If you really need more reassurance, go back to your OBGYN.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:23 AM on April 3, 2009

Nothing you've described sounds terribly dissimilar to the bits I possess, and I'm a gold-star lesbian. I'd say if you're only feeling a bit of stinging (and I know what you mean, there - I have the same thing happen when I use larger dildos) then don't worry about it. I suspect you will naturally stretch over time and even the stinging will fade.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:32 AM on April 3, 2009

I'm going to vote for normal here. It's not as if your body starts out perfect and then is ruined and degraded by sex. Your vagina is built not only for enthusiastic sex with something the size of a penis but for a baby's head to pass through.

And as someone who's taken a fair amount of geology classes, I have to applaud this creative use of the word "erode." Nevertheless, I doubt you need to build terraces or plant a cover crop. :)
posted by salvia at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2009 [8 favorites]

I can't speak to the second issue, but the first issue (the "texture") is totally normal. I've heard that referred to as striation, and women who have given vaginal birth develop a lot of it, and have personally experienced the increase in vaginal striation that followed commencement of penetrative intercourse.

It's a good thing. Texture is good.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:39 AM on April 3, 2009

Yeah, babe. Texture is good. Girls shouldn't be slippery-smooth like Barbies on every dang surface of their bodies. Focus on how you're feeling, not how you feel! *friendly knock on the chin* Go get 'em, tiger.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:52 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

The texture on the inside is normal tissue. Not to worry.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 10:22 AM on April 3, 2009

Just nthing the totally normal thing. After you have a child it does become more pronounced. Why is there so much stuff we are not told about our bodies!?
posted by shmurley at 10:36 AM on April 3, 2009

Why is there so much stuff we are not told about our bodies!?

Because of the patriarchy... and I totally wish I were being facetious.

Good for you, anon, for exploring yourself and asking questions and being inquisitive, which not all women do. I'll never forget referencing the clitoris and having my then-girlfriend look at me with a "Is that a marsupial or a type of wrench?" expression.
posted by incessant at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2009

I can speak a little bit to the painful insertion part of the question - I've figured out recently that vaginas a) aren't particularly straight, and b) move around a lot during sex. So imagine pushing a stick into a flexible tube that's bent at the end - there's bound to be a little adjustment at the beginning. Different positions (for both the guy and girl) may be less painful for insertion.
posted by muddgirl at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2009

What incessant said--good for you!

A few years ago I asked my gynecologist about some strange bumps/formations inside my vagina that had recently appeared. I didn't have a new partner, so there wasn't any reason to worry about an STD, etc. Her answer, after checking 'em out: "Oh, it's just your hymen migrating." Migrating?!?!?! At any rate, I find that my vaginal canal changes gradually as I age, and every once in a while I'll discover some new thing I hadn't noticed before.
posted by soviet sleepover at 3:21 PM on April 3, 2009

Nthing that everything you say sounds totally normal. It doesn't sound to me like anything is eroding or doing things it shouldn't. Your body is changing and adapting to the new, um, input so just continue to explore, enjoy, and have fun.
posted by _Mona_ at 7:22 PM on April 3, 2009

Back in my straight days, my bf and I didn't have sex terribly often (lesbian now, go figure!) and it always, always, always hurt when we started. Honestly, more frequent sex will keep you stretched out and help eliminate that. Or try starting with fingering, I found.
posted by CwgrlUp at 8:15 PM on April 3, 2009

Also, LUBE is your friend!
posted by Lynsey at 10:01 AM on April 4, 2009

follow-up from the OP
Hi everyone! First of all, y'all rock - thank you so much for all of the encouragement!

I ended up making an appointment at Planned Parenthood before I read these responses, and since the nurse I saw gave me some advice a little different from what's here, I thought it would be good to share it. She described what I have as a cut or tear, probably from a small fingernail scrape that then got widened from intercourse. Her prescription for me is to avoid penetration for a week or so, take warm saltwater baths, and wait for the cut to heal up before resuming penetrative sex.

I'm still not sure if this qualifies as normal (newly-formed) striation or not, but I'm relieved to know that internal texture is pretty normal in any case! My advice to anyone in the future reading this is to really consider going to a clinic if you're unsure about a new change, or at least take a break from penetration for a week like my NP recommended.

To summarized: Mefi is awesome, Planned Parenthood is awesome, vaginas are awesome! woo!
posted by jessamyn at 11:38 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

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