very painful orgasms
May 6, 2012 12:50 AM   Subscribe

I love the whole process of sex, but as soon as I'm getting ready to orgasm, my ladyparts explode into pain and burning and it makes me super sad.

I loooooveeee sex. It's phenomenal. However, I've never had a positive, painless orgasm during it and this reality is starting to wear super thin on me. Once I get into a position that I would typically be in while masturbating, or even any position with a guy's penis inside me, my bladder begins to experience severe pain and everything begins burning just as I'm in what should be the throes of a good orgasm. Immediately, my vulva and vagina swell up, feel bruised and yucky, and I typically get a UTI the next day. :(

My gyno can't explain this. What the hell is wrong with penetrative orgasms and why are they doing this to me? I can only orgasm usually by rubbing myself against a pillow by myself and even that's begun hurting too (though that's more because I am experiencing microtears even if I'm properly lubricated).

Right now I am in so, so much pain because I just slept with someone new and everything feels like it's bruised and broken when it should feel just fine. Help?
posted by iLoveTheRain to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

What has your gyno ruled out? We can probably prevent ourselves covering the same turf if we know what you've already cleared.
posted by Jilder at 1:22 AM on May 6, 2012

Have you been tested for every infection you could possibly get down there?
posted by Perodicticus potto at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2012

Until you've got it figured out: chill on the penis in vagina sex. And probably chill on the pillow rubbing. Maybe try taking orgasms in general off the table for a bit.

Experiment with oral and manual masturbation, little external vibes, mutual masturbation, all the sex stuff in the world other than PiV sex.

Work towards penetrative sex in little teensy tiny baby steps. By "properly lubricated" do you mean with your own bio lubricant? Or have you ever actually gone to a sex-positive shop and purchased real lube? It's not just for gay men! Give it a shot. With like... lube and your own fingers, see how that goes.

But for real, keep stuff out of your vagina for awhile and experiment.
posted by kavasa at 2:13 AM on May 6, 2012

Could you have a latex allergy?
posted by Georgina at 2:27 AM on May 6, 2012

As a note on the lube, get the good stuff - I can't use anything with glycerine or I get super sore and unhappy. Not as suddenly as you describe, but it does get painful in general.

Also, have you tried a new gyno?
posted by geek anachronism at 2:32 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get a new gyno.

I'm not saying this is what you have, but I complained about painful intercourse to several gynecologists for years (years!) who told me that since I had no infections and the cultures always came back negative, I should just figure out how to relax.

So I saw a vulvar pain specialist, who diagnosed me with an auto immune skin condition, an aggressive and progressive one. Had I been diagnosed years ago I would have spared myself a lot of irreversible damage and pain, potentially.

Moral of the story. This hurts you. This has been happening for a while. Do NOT accept half baked answers from your gyno. This is so, so important. Find a pain specialist if you at all possibly can, this is what they DO. It could be an allergy, it could be interstitial cystitis, hell, it could be scoliosis messing with your posture which is messing with your nerve endings. Ask, ask, ask until someone figures it out.
posted by lydhre at 5:32 AM on May 6, 2012 [23 favorites]

Are you on hormonal birth control? My wife struggled with pain in a less consistent manner than you describe, but it was still a regular problem with flare-ups and discomfort. It was mis-diagnosed as herpes by one doctor and dismissed by another. Eventually a vulvar specialist almost immediately called it as a hormonal balance issue. She stopped the pill (and got an IUD) and the issue had cleared up within a few weeks of her last pill; it didn't even require a full course of the topical hormonal cream that had been prescribed.

Obviously this is just one experience, but it leads me to strongly second lydhre's suggestion: get a specialist. The difference of the diagnostic experience was amazing and my wife kicked herself for a long time for suffering unnecessarily for YEARS. If you can't afford that I'd consider trying an alternative to the pill (or a different formulation) for a while; I'm somewhat amazed by the number of stories I have read on Metafilter over the years of women who have had issues with it.
posted by phearlez at 5:52 AM on May 6, 2012

Interstitial cystitis is something that is frequently overlooked. I'm not saying you have it, of course.
posted by Fairchild at 6:49 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

On the UTI level - I was in the same place you were, and was getting many UTIs every year until I started making sure that I peed within 5 minutes after sex, EVERY TIME NO EXCEPTIONS.

Haven't had a UTI in 5 years.
posted by arnicae at 7:20 AM on May 6, 2012

One more vote for a new doctor. My partner had different (but equally unhappy) issues, and finding an obgyn who took it seriously rather than shrugging and saying that the tests were normal was the key.
posted by Forktine at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2012

I have Interstitial Cystitis, and I don't have pain with orgasm--however, there's lots of different types of IC pain. I do have pain during sex when I'm in an IC flare, but not tied to orgasm. Sometimes my genitals swell up in a flare--it's quite painful. It can feel like you have a UTI, but the tests will come back normal.

I also have endometriosis. Endometriosis can cause adhesions that bind your organs together (including your uterus, and bladder), and when your uterus gets ready to contract with orgasm, adhesions could cause pain. endometriosis can also mimic symptoms of IC.

I agree with the others--see another gyno, see a urologist, and keep trying until you get an answer. This isn't acceptable.
posted by hotelechozulu at 8:55 AM on May 6, 2012

I came to mention interstitial cystitis too, since you mention specifically having bladder pain. If your GYN seems unwilling to at least rule that out, you might want a second opinion.

At the very least, you are in pain that prevents you from enjoying sex fully, and your GYN should be diligently investigating the cause until the cause is found.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:36 AM on May 6, 2012

Interstitial cystitis sounds like the most likely culprit -- my current gyno thinks I'm not keeping myself clean enough and that my urethra is just prone to UTIs. Thanks for the input, all!
posted by iLoveTheRain at 11:26 AM on May 6, 2012

my current gyno thinks I'm not keeping myself clean enough

good grief, get a new gyno for sure.
posted by thatone at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

I know you're already leaning toward the UTI as the culprit, but in case that doesn't pan out I want to second phearlez's suggestion to consider that the problem might be hormonal birth control, if that's indeed what you use. I had a very similar experience to what he describes his wife went through, and it cleared up completely within a few weeks (never to return) once I went off HBC. If you're on hormones, it might be worth a shot to see if switching to another form of birth control helps.

Good luck!
posted by scody at 11:47 AM on May 6, 2012

I would switch BC but the one I'm on is the only one I've been able to find that manages my painful periods and PMDD without causing depression or mood swings. :( I will not rule it out as a contributing factor though. An IUD is not an option for me.

What can I do in the meantime to reduce the swelling of my poor vulva/vagina? I put Neosporin on some of the external fissures that developed since the sex was unusually rough this time around (and it's so weird... my last partner had a substantially larger and thicker penis and I never had this level of pain with him).
posted by iLoveTheRain at 12:08 PM on May 6, 2012

To reduce swelling, take an anti-inflammatory regularly for the next day or so. Also, if you're just hanging around the house today, you could try an ice pack. Not directly against your skin, of course; through a layer or two of clothing, or with the ice pack wrapped in a towel or t-shirt.

Also, yes, get a new gynocologist ASAP.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2012

Someone mentioned endometriosis above... painful periods and PMDD are also endo symptoms. If your old gyno didn't talk about endometriosis at all, make sure you ask the new gyno (you're going to see a new one, right???) about it.
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2012

how do you masturbate? i mean, do you have the same problem when you simulate PiV sex on your own? this could help you isolate the problem.

in the mean time when you have sex i suggest he finish you off with his mouth.
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2012

I see from some previous questions that a number of birth control methods have been troublesome for you! I really sympathize. If you do decide to go off the HBC in the future, and you're in a monogamous relationship, you may want to consider trying the Fertility Awareness Method, which is what I finally did when I went off HBC entirely. It takes a little while to get the hang of, but once I felt confident in my charting and could understand the fertile and non-fertile phases of my cycle, it was great. (If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you the book.)
posted by scody at 5:05 PM on May 6, 2012

(whoops, hit post too soon -- I meant that I'll send you my copy of the book, since I don't need it anymore thanks to chemo-induced menopause, which: yay, no worrying about BC ever again!)
posted by scody at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2012

The list of inflammatory foods on the interstitial cycstitis page is similar to the list of avoid foods in the "histamine diet" which I learned about here the other day; just wanted to throw that out there in case it helps you moving forward.

sexytimes ≠ :( !!!

Also, D-Mannose & lots of water to flush your bladder might help to prevent/rule out UTI's, since it looks like straight cranberry is an irritant to IC. and ++ to arnicae's advice. Though it is difficult and unsexy feeling to charge out of the sack on the fly, it's easy when you look at the alternative.

posted by Rube R. Nekker at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2012

was looking up something else, saw this and thought of this post:

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

under symptoms:

"Pain during or after intercourse, orgasm, or sexual stimulation"
posted by hotelechozulu at 6:57 PM on May 8, 2012

Went to new gyno and she referred me to a specialist! She was super nice and agreed that insterstitial cystitis was the likely culprit. We'll see! I almost hope not, because it'll be hard to stick to the IC diet. (No cantaloupe?? Sad day.) Thank you all!
posted by iLoveTheRain at 2:07 PM on May 19, 2012

Good luck and god speed! :)
posted by lydhre at 2:45 PM on May 24, 2012

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