Why does it hurt?
November 23, 2007 1:45 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend says it sometimes hurts when I touch her vagina. Is this normal?

We're both virgins so we don't have much knowledge about this. She has never inserted anything in there before, not even a tampon. Is there any way to make it not hurt for her?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

A few theories: (1) something medical in nature which should be treated by her family doctor or gynecologist; (2) subconscious fear manifesting as pain; (3) a variation on the "not tonight dear I have a headache" message.
posted by WCityMike at 1:58 PM on November 23, 2007

you poor possums.

exactly where are you touching it, how are you touching it and what with?

do you mean vulva or vagina?

email jessamyn with some more details and we'll try to help.

(if you can't do that, perhaps your local family planning clinic. that's what they're called in australia.)
posted by taff at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2007

I second taff's question... where and how are you touching her? Outside or inside?

If you are trying to insert something into her vagina you need to make sure she's relaxed and that there is plenty of lubrication... and that you start out small and slowly work your way up.

If she's a virgin and has never inserted anything her hymen is likely still intact, so it might be painful for her to insert anything further than an inch or two.

If you're talking about the vulva (external genitalia) then it may be because there's too much friction making her sore (lubrication helps with that) or she's very sensitive and you're touching too hard too fast.

Feel free to send me a message... I've had my fair share of similar issues.
posted by purelibertine at 2:04 PM on November 23, 2007

She should spend some time alone, poking and prodding and pushing at her bits so she can figure out what feels good. then after that you should watch her and then try to mimic it.

For the nuts and bolts practical advice - get everyone all relaxed and feeling good. make sure pants and panties are off (are you trying to finger her while she's dressed? this could be a problem). sit between her legs so you have a good view of what's happening. wet your finger with your mouth and then just run it over the top of her lips. do this for a bit and then slide with a little more pressure and a little more. her lips will probably start to part . keep getting your finger wet every time it gets dry. if you keep doing this and keep it at a slow pace then you should be able to slide a finger inside of her (again, SLOWLY). she should start to get wet on her own so you might not need to use your saliva as much.

ditto what has been said about the hymen. it might hurt for a bit.
posted by nadawi at 2:18 PM on November 23, 2007

If you're being gentle and everything, and have followed nadawi's advice above, and she's still experiencing pain, it may be a sign of a medical problem. It could be an inflammation of some kind, it could be something less obvious such as vaginismus. She should see her gynecologist.
posted by RylandDotNet at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2007

Before we go chasing down the big game (some sort of medical condition, for example) it makes a lot of sense to start with the very basics and see if those don't help sort this out.

For starters, make sure your hands are clean. And by clean, I just mean freshly washed with soap and water. Not-so-clean hands actually really sting and that sensation can increase with friction.

And, speaking of friction, you guys really need to be using lube! It will make everything much, much nicer. ID or Astroglide or whatever MetaFilter suggests, really. But, it can make a really big difference. It doesn't suggest she isn't interested "enough" or anything, by the way, but it really does make rubbing and other friction more comfy.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:41 PM on November 23, 2007

relaxation and lube help. also, if she's never used a tampon, it's possible that her hymen is still intact. most girls either rupture theirs as children, or when they start using tampons, but some women's remain intact until they have sex. if that's the case, it will probably hurt until it is ruptured.

has she seen a gynecologist yet? if she's sexually active (and yes, this is starting to count) she should see one anyway to discuss birth control and other things, especially if communication isn't good with her mom.
posted by thinkingwoman at 2:53 PM on November 23, 2007

Be careful with lube. For some girls it causes some fairly awful issues with burning and infection and the like. At the very least, find lube without sugar in it.

For most girls unless you're trying to finger fuck her like a porn star, saliva and her wetness should get you pretty far.
posted by nadawi at 3:02 PM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

Does it feel like there's lots of slimey mucusy stuff (gross, I know) where you touch? Lube is, as others have mentioned, excellent stuff. It is NOT a given that all women will produce enough, in fact I think at some point or another most women won't, and then they will want lube. (For example, hormone fluctuations often cause dryness, which can mean she's dry a week or two every month. She could also be dehydrated, nervous, etc. Also some women just don't produce enough moisture, period, and it's just how their bodies are wired.) This or similar should cause no problems for her, and will be safe for condoms if you get to that point.
posted by anaelith at 3:44 PM on November 23, 2007

nadawi: Thank you for that response... researching "lube sugar infection" on Google may have just helped me figure out a problem I've had for like a year now.
posted by limeonaire at 3:52 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

find lube without sugar in it

Yep, this can make a major difference in terms of recurrent yeast infections and general vaginal irritation. BTW, the sugar that's most often used in lube is glycerin. So glycerin-free lubes are the way to go on this score (they can be difficult to find at drugstores, but they're amply available at retailers like Babeland and Good Vibrations).
posted by scody at 5:52 PM on November 23, 2007

it's very unlikely that your tongue will cause any pain. try that.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:35 PM on November 23, 2007

One more suggestion, nicely trimmed fingernails are a huge help. :)
posted by dancinglamb at 9:41 PM on November 23, 2007

To nth everyone else: there have been quite a few posts asking for advice for the newly sexually active, and learning more about your bodies and your relationship may be your/her best bet regarding solving vaginal pain.. Spend time together naked but not actively engaged in sexual activity, masturbate together and alone, get to know each other's bodies. In short, if she's never before inserted a tampon (or even a finger) in her own vagina, not even out of curiosity, it sounds like she's not particularly comfortable with her body or sexuality. Self-awareness and comfort is one of the absolutely most important components of having happy, healthy, fulfilling sexual relationships (having an understanding and easy-going partner to explore with is pretty important, too).

Take a look at this AskMe question. Also, Go Ask Alice can be a very informative springboard.
posted by soviet sleepover at 10:40 PM on November 23, 2007

Best to stick to the outside of the vagina...try to avoid sticking your fingers in there for now.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:15 PM on November 23, 2007

Also, it could be just that you're touching her too forcefully. I second nadawi's method - sometimes you just need to be patient and go slowly. And talk to her. "Does this feel good?" "Does this?"
posted by lunit at 9:59 PM on November 24, 2007

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