Is my large penis going to kill my happy relationship?
May 19, 2007 2:18 PM   Subscribe

My penis might be too big for my girlfriend, who I once had a blissful relationship with, and after two years it might cause the end of us. I can't believe this can happen in 2007. Help.

I've looked everywhere, Googled, searched, whatever, and can't find any good advice. I'm not gigantic... maybe 7, 7.5 inches, but sort of thick. It generally looks like the kind you see in porn, but trust me, I'm not bragging. I would actually do anything at this point to have a smaller penis.

We've been dating for two years and she was a virgin when we met. We were blissfully happy, moved in together, and fooled around all the time. But she never got physically comfortable with sex - it always starts to hurt after a few minutes.

Everything I read on the internet (including here) says "more foreplay!" but trust me, I've tried. I've tried everything. I've had other girlfriends who thought I was amazing in bed. This girlfriend thinks I am, too, except for actual vaginal sex, which just hurts too much for her.

Here's where it gets bad. After literally years of trying, we sort of just stopped. I tried to get her to see a doctor and she never would because she was embarassed. Obviously, this became a huge strain on our relationship and things broke down over time. Eventually she cheated on me. Once that came out into the open and blew up, she admitted that she thought he was inferior to me in every way (including sexually), but she simply COULD have sex with him and it didn't hurt. It finally felt good, because he was smaller.

I saw the film "Kinsey," and in it, Kinsey and his wife have exactly the same problem. She panics and thinks they're just doomed until she goes to the doctor, who says "Oh... that's nothing. The procedure only takes a few minutes." And then the film cuts to them having incredible sex happily ever after. That was in the 1950s. Here in 2007, I look all around the internet and find no mention of any kind of procedure that could help. Everyone just says more lube (tried it), more foreplay (god I've tried it), or different positions (tried them all). It still hurts her.

We're starting to reconcile and really talk about it again, and she's agreed to see a doctor, but I just want to be able to show her something that will give her some hope. I need some hope. This relationship was perfect except for sex, and with both of us being young, attractive healthy people, it would be tragic if we didn't last because of this.

Does anyone know of the kind of procedure used in the film? I find it hard to imagine that the people who made "Kinsey" would be so flippant as to make something like that up. Help me, I really love her and she loves me. We just need help.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not aware of any kind of penis reduction surgery, and I fear that vaginal reconstruction surgery is usually used to "tighten things up" rather than loosen them out.

It might be a matter of fear on her part, rather than any actual physiological problem. After all, a babies head has to come through a vagina during birth. A doctor/gynaecologist should be able to rule out one of the options.

There does appear to be a condition that can make vaginal surgery necessary. IANAD, but if she can actually have sex, I wouldn't have thought she had this condition.
posted by Solomon at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2007

I don't know about the procedure, but sex really should never hurt under normal circumstances. You don't sound gigantic enough that it should normally hurt someone - vaginas are flexible...after all a frigging baby should be able to pass through there.

Thus, you should both go to the doctor. Especially your girlfriend. When you say she is embarrassed, does that mean she never goes to a gynecologist? Anyone who is sexually active needs to go at least once a year, especially if they are experiencing pain. There is nothing to be remotely embarrassed about - and if she's embarrassed about being judged, then she can go to a Planned Parenthood clinic, because they've seen everything.

A friend of mine actually had a very similar issue with her new-at-the-time boyfriend. She thought it was just him since the pain had never happened with anyone else. However, it was actually an issue with her that sex with him was aggrivating. After seeing the doctor and having a simple outpatient surgical procedure, she is now fine and they are still happily together 2 years later.
posted by tastybrains at 2:46 PM on May 19, 2007

Dan Savage covered a very similar situation in his column (his answer was not, btw, "more foreplay").
posted by Many bubbles at 2:47 PM on May 19, 2007

You don't sound like you're freakishly huge, unless your idea of "sort of thick" is the diameter of a hockey puck.

Someone on asked about the same scene on Yahoo, and was told that the surgical scene was for an unusually tough hymen.

I've been looking for my Human Sexuality course notes for a while, but can't seem to find them. However, I remember the prof lecturing about a vaginal pain disorder that was treated by surgically removing a small strip of tissue inside / on the rim of the vagina. Can't seem to google up any details, unfortunately.

Have you noticed a difference if/when you have sex slightly drunk? If the problem is her being anxious and/or her vaginal muscles tightening too much, being tipsy might make things go more smoothly. Not that you two should become lushes, but it's something to think about in terms of finding out where the problem lies.
posted by CKmtl at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2007

So I dunno what Dan had to say, but I guess it might be perinatal massage. At least I think that's what it's called. Our midwife suggested that I use my fingers to gently stretch my wife's vagina while she was pregnant with our first child to help, you know, stretch it, to ease childbirth. So apparently there's at least one midwife who believes that it's possible to either enlarge the vaginal opening or make it more elastic via manual massage.

I really don't know if it helped my wife a lot - our son had a big head - but heck, it didn't hurt to try.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on May 19, 2007

Umm, why stick with someone who cheated on you? Most women would not find your problem to be, umm, a problem.

If you wrote to Dan Savage, he'd tell you to DTMFA.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:08 PM on May 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Suggesting elective genital surgery to one's partner is dicey and likely to be chauvenistic and inappropriate under all but the most extreme circumstances. Let alone, when the trust has already been tested.

In general, women don't cheat for the same reasons men do. You probably think solving the sex will solve (or at least ammeliorate) the rest of the relationship and you're 100% wrong. Something big is definately missing from the relationship for her, and sex may only be a part of it.

That being said, until you actually know for sure what the problem is, suggesting surgery is asinine. If you're hitting her cervix, then don't penetrate as deep, or fashion yourself a Love Grommet a la Adam Corrola. (Think: Inflatable donut, like they sell for hemmoroids.) And, seriously, what the heck is wrong with oral sex, frottage and mutual masturbation?

If, in the end, your bodies are not sexually compatible, then you have to decide if that's a dealbreaker, or if you're willing to work around it by changing your definitions of what sex involves.
posted by Skwirl at 3:17 PM on May 19, 2007

Just for the record, the surgery I mentioned that my friend had was to remove a part of the hymen that had apparently stuck around for awhile and had caused a major cut inside that needed to be stitched up. I don't have any reason to suspect that this is the issue with your gf, OP, but I'm just saying that there could be a medical issue that is making some sex hurt for her.
posted by tastybrains at 3:22 PM on May 19, 2007

My gf and I had a similar issue coupled with vaginismus--it took us literally a year to... successfully fornicate, and even after that is was almost always less-than-comfortable for both parties. Increased foreplay, more lube, none of that seemed to solve the base issue of some things being too small and some things being otherwise. About two years later we had a birth control issue that kept us from having sex for about six months, and when we finally started up again we had a surprise--the vaginismus was back just a strong or stronger as it was before. The problem never really went away until we got our own place a few months later, which we then christened in the traditional manner--several days of heavy drinking and frequent intercourse. At the end of it she was noticeably more accommodating, and regular maintenance keeps it that way. It can still be very uncomfortable is she is stressed but we've learned to not force it on those days.

The point of my anecdote is that any progress you may have made may have been wiped away during your break, so you may have to approach this as if it were the start of the relationship again--i.e., you're going to have to take it slow all over again. And she really should go to the doctor. Failing that, one "home solution" (besides binging on alcohol and leaving a terrible first impression on your new neighbors) to the issue is to buy several dildos of increasing size--she can use the smallest one during masturbation until she is comfortable with it, then move up to the next one, repeating until she is at your size.
posted by Benjy at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2007

She might have vaginismus ( To lazy to link, but the problem is generally psychological.
posted by catatethebird at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2007

I had something called a hymen septum when I was a virgin. My hymen was extra tough and covered almost the entire opening. And sex hurt! Eventually I stretched and tore it enough to have sex, but it was still painful in the beginning. Sometimes it's still tender if I haven't had vaginal sex in awhile. There is a procedure to remove it...I understand that it's pretty simple and easy. I bet it's what was going on in the movie.

She NEEDS to go to her doctor. Offer to take her. Offer to go with her. Offer to sit in the room with her if that's what it takes. But believe me, painful sex is NOT the most embarrassing thing her doctor will hear about that day.

I can empathize with her. You guys can email or IM me if it helps. The info is in my profile. Good luck!
posted by christinetheslp at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2007

(should have previewed)
posted by catatethebird at 3:34 PM on May 19, 2007

Has your girlfriend been to gynecologist lately?
Has she been checked for fibroids?
A fibroid is a benign tumor and they can get big enough to interfere with sex.

That said a girl who cheats instead of going to a doctor to deal with a problem that is interfering with her sex life doesn't sound like much of a girlfriend.
posted by brookeb at 3:34 PM on May 19, 2007

The "procedure" the doctor winkingly referred to in "Kinsey" was actually a sexual position. Some positions don't allow for extremely deep penetration. These positions are easier for women who feel pain during intercourse do to their partner's large penis. Pick up a book or do a web search on "sexual positions" and you'll find plenty of information.

That being said, since the problem is width rather than girth, I would encourage your girlfriend to go to her doctor. There are very real physical causes that could make sex painful for her. Those should be ruled out before you assume the problem is psychological. Try this site for starters.

You'll hear a lot of people say that if a vagina is big enough to allow a baby's head to pass through during childbirth, then it's obviously very elastic. Maybe so, but remember, childbirth hurts. Just because a vagina can stretch doesn't mean it's a comfortable experience.
posted by Evangeline at 3:35 PM on May 19, 2007

A lady friend of mine (whom I used to date) has something called Vulvar Vestibulitis, which is caused by a part of the vulva that is highly sensitive and painful when manipulated. So intercourse for her is often painful, but she said that she was once with a guy who was "narrow" and that that was the most enjoyable sex has been for her.

BTW, she cheated on you. Dump her. Your dimensions most likely won't be an issue with other women.
posted by Brian James at 3:39 PM on May 19, 2007

Sorry, meant to say "width rather than length".
posted by Evangeline at 3:43 PM on May 19, 2007

Didn't we discuss his here before? The best idea (in MY opinion) was this padded ring you can buy to limit the depth of your penetration. I've been looking for an example online (and googling some pretty creative phrases, I must say) but can't find it. Can anyone point one out?

Anyway, hopefully that would at least help somewhat.
posted by hermitosis at 3:52 PM on May 19, 2007

Nthing seeing a doctor.

A friend of mine recounted how one of his good friends is especially well-endowned, where it was a serious problem for the girlfriend. They got around it--but for the first month, "sex just hurt." They did it frequently, she grit her teeth, and eventually things stretched out enough to accommodate.

But yeah, that's also a month of pain, so it's understandable if the lady would not be up for that.
posted by schroedinger at 4:06 PM on May 19, 2007

I am amazed that so many people are saying this is the woman's problem, that nobody else is piping up to say they've experienced this. 'Cuz more than anyone really needs to know about me but I've been in her situation. And yes, generally it's not length that's painful as much as the width. Yes, women do give birth to babies that are huge, but people... the difference is that the baby isn't going back and forth causing friction inside of the birth canal over and over and over again. It's a one shot, one direction deal. Out. Done.

Personally, I found the only thing that really helped for me was lube. Unfortunately, the guy I was with was a bit arrogant and his ego got a kick out of it that he was so big it was painful for me. He started thinking it was sexy fun to see that it hurt me, so I ended up breaking up with him because honestly, pain sucks.

So I must say that I admire that the OP here is trying to make her happy. That's a really good thing.

Anyhow, since that experience with Mr. Stud McHurtsalot, I've talked to a lot of friends who have said they went through the same kind of negative experience with someone who was too large. Honestly guys, size ISN'T everything for women. When it comes down to it, super big can be as much of a negative as super super small. A woman's body can only be expected to deal with so much sometimes, we're delicate creatures ya know. ;)

I wish I could give better advice & help the OP. Seems you've tried everything I would've suggested. Sounds like going to the doctor is really the best thing to do. But once again, I applaud you for your attitude.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:06 PM on May 19, 2007

Bypassing the cheating issue..hey, that's not what you're asking advice for...she might need to check on the type of pain--is it "too big, you won't fit, ow" or "hurts like fire"? The latter could be an undiagnosed infection (hormone contraceptives can cause more yeast problems) or a reaction to lubricants and spermicides. Latex allergies, spermicide allergies, can all develop over time.

But yeah...she has to go to the doctor, for her own sake. Some mild infections/irritations become very nasty and dangerous when left too long.

Oh and perineal massage is becoming less popular w/ midwives (it might actually cause more tearing) and in any case, is meaningless without a baby's head pressing from the other side. If you're already doing foreplay, that's pretty much all the effect you can have.
posted by emjaybee at 4:07 PM on May 19, 2007

nthing lube, and you can buy something called a vaginal dilator. they are just dildoes of increasing size. she can start with the largest size she's comfortable with, and masturbate (or even just lie down and read a book with one in for half an hour) every day. after a week or two, try the next size up. lots of lube. repeat. eventually she ought to be able to accommodate you.

also, you might want to take the pressure off by redefining sex. explore anal sex, oral sex, manual sex. this whole thing obviously has her nervous as hell and she needs to be reassured that she matters more than the sex. (and if that's not true, then it's time to break up.)
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:21 PM on May 19, 2007

It could be yeast infections or some other infection/irritation. If you use condoms, it could be that - I had problems with a couple of partners who were larger than average while we were using condoms (got sore very easily) that went away when we stopped using condoms. Have you also tried having a couple drinks or smoking out first? If it's a psychological thing she may be unconsciously tensing up and that would make it hurt - relaxing with some wine or pot could help.
posted by Melinika at 5:01 PM on May 19, 2007

Ok. Since she cheated once and that sex didn't hurt, I think we can safely rule out things like Vulvar Vestibulitis. She thinks sex hurts with you and by the dimensions you're describing I think it's the "sort of thick" that's the issue rather than the length, so I don't think it's penetrating to deep that's the problem here (though obviously that's not good either but you probably avoid that anyway). It could be that a bad start of the sexual affair made your girth a hangup for her so that she tenses up involuntarily - but from how you describe trying everything to make things ok I doubt that it's in her head since you must have talked about all this. Unless you over-talked it in which case the getting tipsy and having a go might be a good idea, because overtalking will make it very hard for a girl to relax. Relaxing is key here. It's more likely to be as miss lynnster describes plain old pain rather some physical problem with your girlfriend. Even so she has to see a doctor. You don't own a car and never take it in for a checkup!
Also, I think GuyZero's wife's midwife was having him on. The time for stretching the opening is during childbirth, when it actually stretches out naturally. Nothing can be done months before due-date that will help down the line, though his missus probably enjoyed the attention.
posted by dabitch at 5:02 PM on May 19, 2007

I'm surprised there's not more incredulity on the green today. She cheated on you. There's no excuse for that. Move on to the next gal. You won't regret it.
posted by milinar at 5:03 PM on May 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

also, you might want to take the pressure off by redefining sex. explore anal sex, oral sex, manual sex.

Perhaps it's just the women that I've been out with, but it's hard to imagine someone who struggles with vaginal sex actually getting enthusiastic about anal sex.

On the bright side, anonymous, when you do move on, you won't have any trouble working the sides, hitting the bottom and working the middle.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:10 PM on May 19, 2007

I have something to add to misslynaster's personal anecdote (way more than you need to know about me, too)--but not every woman IS big enough to accommodate a child. Both of my children had to be C-sections specifically because I was too petite.

When I later developed endometriosis and had to have a hysterectomy, they had to go the abdominal route because of my size. After the surgery, my partner and I had to go a while without sex. When we could resume (we pretty much came back from the doctor's office and went right to it) sex with my partner, who is also...blessed with girth, became extremely uncomfortable.

This is, without trying to be funny, a "use it or lost it" issue. Without frequent sex, a woman's body won't be able to accommodate you.

Estrogen (premarin cream) helped me a great deal, and now our sex life is back to phenomonal. My doctor indicated that if those measures had not worked, the next step would have been vaginal dilators, as some have suggested here.

I just want to add that I think it is a great that the two of you are working on this as a team. This isn't about blaming somebody, it's just biology.
posted by misha at 5:19 PM on May 19, 2007

Ah, yeah, I know where you are at with this one. Although the vagina is indeed elastic, they do come in different sizes, just like penises do. It's even a recognized issue if you look through the less titillating sections of the Kama Sutra.

"Use it or lose it" is very appropriate. I'm larger than average, which has caused reactions from pleased to "Uh, no." I had a medium-distance relationship with a lass who was smaller than average and had some difficulty accomodating me normally, and a lot of trouble if we had been apart for too long. If we had a three week stint without intercourse, it would be quite a bit of work to start back up again.

All I can do is to suggest a lot of patience, backrubs, a few drinks, foreplay, lubricant, but most importantly, a good attitude, plus the ability to know when to back off. She was enthusiastic, so she was willing to put up with some of the pain for the rewards, but often didn't know her own limits or would get too worked up to pay attention and would wind up hurting herself. Two steps forward, one step back. Position really matters in these cases. Also, and this will be less fun for you, you have to reign in your passion and be observant, maybe even a little detached. Not as romantic or as fun, but certainly more so than blood and tears. Additionally, if you're less turned on, you won't be as big.

Once you get to a place where it is reasonable, keep it up regularly. You'll have to find a balance on frequency - too often and some women get UTIs; too infrequently and you're back where you started.

You may want to consider just not having intercourse for a few months and sticking to other stuff until she is more ready. I had a gruesome kidney infection once and was advised to stay away from the action for a few months. My relationship at the time survived just fine without the meat-and-potatoes of intercourse.

Just as a cautionary note - that particular relationship did not survive her cheating on me six months later.
posted by adipocere at 5:51 PM on May 19, 2007

hermitosis: NSFW - designed by Seymore Butts himself!
posted by vonliebig at 6:37 PM on May 19, 2007

my boyfriend and i had that problem too. it just took some time. NOT having sex is the worst thing you could do -- the more sex you have, the more her vagina will stretch until it doesn't hurt anymore. HMMV, but it took about 2-3 weeks of sex everyday for it to stop hurting. just make sure you stop when she says stop. i don't think there's an easy fix for it, unfortunately. unless you call have a lot of sex an easy fix. i would. good luck!
posted by kerning at 7:45 PM on May 19, 2007

I had a very, very similar wituation with my (ex-)husband: he was girthy and I was very tight. Sex was painful, we tried for years. Things never really got better until I found a doctor who listened to me and didn't try to tell me "more foreplay!" or "just relax!" I was diagnosed with vulvar vestibulitis, a form of vulvodynia. These terms will be good for her to have when she sees a gynocologist.

My gyno prescribed me some medication to help with the pain, as well as some physical therapy. For my vagina. Yes, I know it's weird. I know it's embarrassing and awkward. But it helped stretch me out and loosen my vaginal muscles that were so tight that his penis hurt too much. Tampons didn't hurt, so even if a skinnier penis didn't hurt her, she could be too tight.

My physical therapist was a wonderful woman who suffered from vestibulitis as well. She gave me a bunch of stretches to do at home to loosen up those muscles:

Put your lubed index finger insider her vagina to your first knuckle, and press in all four directions, holding the pressure for 90 seconds in each direction. After that, insert your finger to the second knuckle and press on the two sides, toward her hips, and hold the pressure for 90 seconds. Do this every night for a week, and she should notice some changes.

I'd be happy to talk about it more; my email is in my profile.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2007

can't believe this can happen in 2007

My college roomate had this problem in 1982. His gilfriend broke up with him.
posted by longsleeves at 9:07 PM on May 19, 2007

I think it's great that you're so concerned, but you really can't solve this for her, because aside from the physical problem, there is obviously an emotional/psychological one...

Your girlfriend was too embarrassed to talk to her doctor, or you, about working on this. But not too embarrassed to let some other guy's penis in to investigate? She obviously doesn't think it's a medical issue.

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but I think I can safely generalize that for most women, the emotional connection and ability/desire to have sex are inextricably related to one another. You can't take responsibilty for her whole issue by attempting to distill all causes down the the size of your penis. Wow. I can't believe I wrote that. Sorry.

Anyways, I think it's great that you're so concerned and willing to go to such extreme lengths measures, but please try to work on the other stuff first.

Btw, your penis sounds awesome. Please don't change it!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:16 PM on May 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pain on intercourse is one of the common signs of endometriosis, which affects something like one in ten women. Very dealable, and of course she should talk to her doctor.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:45 PM on May 19, 2007

Without getting too personal, I can say that I know exactly what you're talking about. It's frustrating and incredibly hard on the relationship.... not to mention that it can cause you to feel incredible guilt over the pain that you are causing someone - during something that's supposed to be pleasurable.

I have heard the old "a vagina can stretch to take almost any size penis" comment more than once... although from personal experience, I can state without a doubt that it's just not true for some women. It might stretch a bit, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be enjoyable. I've been present during a few births, and none of the women involved seemed to be getting any pleasure out of it.

I have had more than a few girlfriends that were uncomfortable with my size, although all but one eventually got used to it - somewhat. That one was unusually small, and no matter how hard we tried we couldn't seem to make it work.

I don't have any advice - the tiny girl and I eventually split up due largely to our sexual incompatibility. Just wanted to know that there's others out there who have experienced similiar circumstances.
posted by bradth27 at 10:41 PM on May 19, 2007

Don't assume immediately (like almost every 20-something guy tends to do) that it's psychological. There are a lot of physical reasons why sex can be painful - everything from chronic Bartholin's cysts to microtears that keep getting torn open to even a subacute infection. She should be seeing a doctor and talking about this.

Oh, and she cheated on you? Why are you bothering again?
posted by watsondog at 10:53 PM on May 19, 2007

OH man, oh man. How much I hate to hear that she needs to "work through the pain." This is different, but after I had my baby, sex just hurt. I mean HURT. For years. Lube didn't help, nothing helped (and yes, I saw a doctor and a psychologist too.) And nothing is worse than sex that hurts...because everyone just tells you to do it more and it will get better. Except it HURTS to do it more! Let me tell you, it's hard to try to get relaxed to possibly help sex NOT hurt when it hurts like a bitch every time you have it, and you know what pain is coming and dread it when he starts pawing at you! It's a horrible catch 22. In fact, it just stopped hurting in the last six months and my daughter is 3 1/2. That's a long long long time to just put up with pain. If I weren't in a long , wonderful, loving relationship and married with a kid, I don't think I would have kept with hurt that much.

I don't know where i'm going with this answer, but sometimes putting up with the pain isn't the answer. Perhaps nothing will help, and yet you keep trying. And then you get the anger, guilt, resentment, and all that shit that comes with a woman putting up with something she doesn't want and the pain that goes with it because she feels she has to, and a guy who's angry and hurt that she doesn't want it anymore and can't understand how bad it really, honestly does hurt.

Anonymous, I'm not saying that you're unfeeling or putting on the pressure, you sound like a wonderful, caring, understanding guy. But perhaps you need to realize that there may not be a solution. And she shouldn't have to have no sex or painful sex which is, quite frankly, just guilt sex because she feels she owes you, which is never good sex for anyone.

How many times can I say sex in a sentence?
posted by aacheson at 11:01 PM on May 19, 2007

By the way, I sincerely hope it works out for you guys. You sound wonderful, deeply in love, and like a great guy. Good luck. Honestly. I hope her doctor can help her out. But you have a long road ahead of you no matter what the answer is.
posted by aacheson at 11:04 PM on May 19, 2007

Large penis support group?
posted by Violet Hour at 1:38 AM on May 20, 2007

in mario puzo's "the godfather", sonny corleone was...well endowed, and he was lucky to find a gal with a great big box, but he got exed in a mafia hit and his gal floated around for awhile till she met an ingenious doc who knew right what the problem was when he ...palpated the area.
you need to find a gal with a great big box. as i'm sitting here typing this, i have no brilliant ideas for going forward, but if you find one, do post it back to us please!
posted by bruce at 1:57 AM on May 20, 2007

The cheating would be a deal-breaker for me (see previous). But what you describe is really common -- you don't have to be nicknamed "Mr Beer Can" or "Mr 10 1/2" to have this problem. And it becomes a vicious circle -- once she knows that sex can hurt, then she tenses up and that tenseness makes the sex hurt more and so on.

I'll nth the "see a doctor advice" -- you want to rule out some basic issues like hymen tissue, ongoing infections, or a cyst. (And while you are at the clinic, perhaps both of you should get std tests, because the last thing you need right now is yet another sexual surprise.) But assuming that there is no such problem -- as the successful cheating sex suggests -- then see if you (she alone, or both of you) can get an appointment with a good therapist who specializes in sexual issues. The vaginal physical therapy described above really does work -- it can include biofeedback exercises, etc, and the results for us were impressive. The OBGYN or the therapist can (I would hope) make that referral. Talking to both a doctor, the therapist, and perhaps a PT specialist will help you figure out if the pain is coming from physical or mental sources, or both.

But it might take a few visits to find a good doctor and a good therapist -- there are a lot of doctors and counselors who just aren't very good at this issue, and will either dismiss it or decide that it is obviously an indication of previous abuse, or whatever other diagnosis they prefer. So be prepared for some pretty miserable experiences on the way to getting good treatment. The hopeful part, though, is that will good medical and other treatment, really good results are possible.
posted by Forktine at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Your girlfriend was too embarrassed to talk to her doctor, or you, about working on this. But not too embarrassed to let some other guy's penis in to investigate? She obviously doesn't think it's a medical issue.

To start, you two are physically incompatible, and that fact that your girlfriend resorted to infidelity rather then talking it through with you and looking into other options likely means that you're emotionally incompatible as well.

Tough though it may seem, you'd be doing yourself a favor in the long run by ending it now and find someone that's more receptive (both emotionally and physcially) to your needs.
posted by psmealey at 12:11 PM on May 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

Btw, I pulled that quote, because to me it was the best advice I'd seen thus far in the thread.
posted by psmealey at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2007

Personally, I feel quite offended by some of the responses in this thread. Particularly the one that theorised that because it wasn't painful with someone smaller, she obviously had a problem with the OP. Something smaller, regardless of anything else, is fairly likely to hurt less. Tampons, for eg.

I speak as a woman who gets nonpainful sober sex exceedingly rarely, and who is currently in consultation with a women's health specialist to figure out what the flying fuck is wrong with me down there.

At a certain point, some women don't stretch further, not comfortably, and not without the aid of 9 months of severe hormonal changes (eg, pregnancy).

Frequency of sex helps, yes - but for me, that 'frequency' is multiple times a day, and a lot of guys past the early 20s have issues maintaining that sort of sex life - not to mention that it gets awfully time and energy consuming after a while. Skipping a day or two puts us back at square one.

It sucks. There's a lot of guilt (why can't I be a good sex partner?), there's a lot of shame (what's wrong with me? this is supposed to be so easy anyone can do it), and on top of that, there's the physical, visceral pain.

In short: OP, you and your GF should go see a women's health specialist, ob/gyn, whatever, as soon as possible. Try to get recommendations of good ones in your area from people you know, or members of your community. Don't be afraid to shop around - I was, and it got me a couple extra years of pain and martial issues. The problem will not just go away.
posted by ysabet at 9:59 PM on May 20, 2007

I assumed that the surgery in the Kinsey movie was a hymenotomy, but unless your girlfriend still has part of her hymen remaining, that's not going to solve anything. That's sort of a special-case problem. She should see an OB/GYN just to rule out that possibility, but I wouldn't get your hopes up about a 'magic bullet' surgical fix...
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:14 PM on May 26, 2007

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