Where's the pain coming from?
July 2, 2008 8:36 PM   Subscribe

What does being poked in the cervix during intercourse feel like?

My experience with sex is limited to just the past few weeks. I'm still feeling some pain, either from a still-not-quite-gone hymen, or some tightness in my vagina, but now and then, I feel some pain that feels different and I think it might be coming from my cervix. Sometimes it feels like a lot of different sensations get all mixed up down there, and I have a hard time figuring out where the pain or pleasure are coming from.

To give an example, a couple of weeks ago, during intercourse (not so painful), my husband was going a little deep, and then he came, at which point I felt like I had been pierced by a hard and pointy object and later, some big drops of blood came out. We were both left wondering if it was some sort of new tear on my hymen of if something had happened in the back of my vagina.

Help me make sense of some of this please.

This came out like a long explanation but I could do with people answering just the initial question.

And to answer some common questions: yes we are having lots of foreplay and using lots of lube.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

In my experience, hitting the cervix isn't painful, just uncomfortable. It wasn't a sharp pain, like you describe; it has simply 'not pleasant'. I rather liken it to a yearly exam, when the doctor examines my ovaries. It's not painful, but it's just not comfortable and makes me grimace a bit. It's awkward and just doesn't feel right.
My only (wholly uneducated and possibly worthless) guess is that since you are new to sex (is penetration new to you?) perhaps you have some small cuts or tears in the vagina. FWIW I don't recall any pain like what you describe when I started having sex, or when I've had a more well-endowed partner.
(Great big YMMV on this.)
posted by queseyo at 8:50 PM on July 2, 2008

Sorry, one more thing: you could take an experimental approach, trying different positions and noting if there are specific reactions (yay! ouch! that makes me want to pee!) If you have a dildo, you and your husband could experiment together. Granted, the 'experiment' might be interrupted by more important matters, but it would be a start. There are definitely positions that are more intense than others, blurring that line between pleasure and pain, as you put it; sometimes the balance can swing towards one or the other. It just depends on you, basically.
posted by queseyo at 8:59 PM on July 2, 2008

Soon after I lost my virginity, getting poked in my cervix really, REALLY hurt, enough so that I saw stars each time. Now that my cervix is desensitized, it feels good.

I agree that for a while, it's hard to discriminate between pleasure and pain, not because they're the same thing but because they sometimes happen at once. In the beginning, it might be best for you to be on top most of the time so you have room to experiment with what feels best to you.

A full gynecological workup can't hurt. My cervix is especially vulnerable because my uterus has a funny tilt to it, and I would never have known that if my gynecologist hadn't pointed it out. It's a benign condition, but good to know.

Congratulations to both of you on your wedding!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:05 PM on July 2, 2008

i've been with lovers who've hit my cervix and for me it's very much a sharp pain, sometimes enough to make me gasp in a bad way, and i always have my partner reposition somewhat so it doesn't happen again. if that's what happening, don't worry—as you get used to each other's bodies and figure out what you like and what works, it'll happen less and less often.

i've never had any bleeding though but since i'm not a doctor so i can't say if that's related to your cervix at all, or if it's your hymen. if you do bleed again, see a gynecologist! not just to be safe, but also so you can ask all kinds of questions about stuff that you might have.
posted by lia at 9:07 PM on July 2, 2008

I really think experiences like this are going to vary widely, and there's no harm in going to see a doctor just for some peace of mind if you are really worried.

For me, getting poked in the cervix during intercourse is like being semi-whacked on the head over and over. It's actually a dull, mild pain that's more discomforting than painful.

However, the first time I had sex....well wait, let me rephrase that - the first time I tried having sex and three months after that, I felt pain every time. Sharp, searing pain. I couldn't have had a hymen either because I'd been using tampons regularly for six years....I think I was just tight and anxious and I needed to learn how to relax. Once everything down there got "broken in," it was all pleasure, all the time.

Now, every so often after bouts of rough sex I will bleed a little afterward. It's strange though, I've never again felt the sharp searing pain that I experienced when I first had sex or that I typically feel when I bleed somewhere...
posted by Squee at 9:23 PM on July 2, 2008

For me, getting poked in the cervix rarely hurts, but it's also rarely pleasant. I'd suspect that the searing pain may be related to your being tense/not quite relaxed enough. It takes a lot of practice for sex to be truly amazing, as well as a lot of comfort with your body. If you're not quite comfortable, or not quite aroused enough, your vaginal canal may not have enough elasticity for sex to be good (which in turn may mean that you stay unaroused), and no amount of lube will remedy that problem. Others have given this same advice to the newly sexually active in other threads (look around AskMe), but I'd focus on getting comfortable with each other's bodies, trying new things, and taking it easy. Explore non-penetrative or less-penetrative methods of sex and give yourself a little bit of time.

FWIW, using tampons will not break your hymen. Hymens are much higher in the vaginal canal than tampons reach.
posted by soviet sleepover at 9:55 PM on July 2, 2008

Hey, soviet sleepover, just so ya know, the hymen isn't high up in your vagina, it's right at the opening. Heck, I've got a little wee tiny flap of its remains at the 6 o'clock position of my vaginal opening. From Wikipedia:

The hymen... is a fold of mucous membrane which surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening... It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia

And I did break mine experimenting with a tampon just before I got my first period. Had three little drops of blood afterward and thought perhaps I was having a phantom period or something. I didn't find out for a couple of years what had happened.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2008

using tampons will not break your hymen. Hymens are much higher in the vaginal canal than tampons reach.

Sorry, that isn't true. The hymen is surrounds the vaginal opening, partially blocking it (unless you're born with an imperforate hymen, which takes surgery to correct), and can easily be stretched or broken by a tampon. It's actually considered part of the vulva since it's on the outside, and you can usually see an intact hymen.

You might want to check out Our Bodies, Ourselves or Vagina Pagina (which links to a pretty decent hymen gallery) for more information on this. And there's always the Wiki.
posted by mewithoutyou at 10:13 PM on July 2, 2008

And as for the cervix pain, my experience with it is basically similar to what's been shared in this thread. Sometimes it doesn't bother me, sometimes and in some positions it's irritating or uncomfortable, and occasionally (particularly at certain points in my menstrual cycle) it's be downright sharp. I have not, however, had vaginal bleeding after even rather rough sex.

For what it's worth, I have endometriosis and have been led to believe that it might contribute to ouchie cervix bumping. If I were you I'd go to the doctor, explain what's going on in as much detail as you can, just to make sure there's nothing physical going on.

If there isn't, I refer to what is basically my standard advice for issues of sexual oddness: practice, lube, and foreplay foreplay foreplay. If you don't masturbate, try to learn. Get a vibrator. Get good at having orgasms and feeling pleasure from your body from things that aren't penis/vagina penetration. Sex is, for me at least, equal parts body and brain. I have to be comfortable, relaxed, mentally turned on, and given piles of pre-penetration physical attention. Even a little bit of nerves or mental tension can have a big effect on pleasure.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:20 PM on July 2, 2008

To me, being poked in the cervix is a sharp stabby pain, definitely not pleasant. I would guess the blood came from a tear caused by your husband abrading your tissue. You say you're using heaps of foreplay and lube, but perhaps your tissue is still a bit sensitive to all this new action it's getting.

We all come in various shapes and sizes, and some people fit together better than others. I've had partners where cervix bashing was quite frequent, and others where it hardly ever happened. I have a retroverted uterus which makes some positions/angles less comfortable than others. Over time, I think I pretty much know instinctively if a particular angle is going to hurt, so I adjust the tilt of my pelvis accordingly.
Now that you're sexually active, you should start having regular pelvic examinations if you aren't already doing so. This would be something you should bring up with your doctor, particularly if it persists.

Oh, and have fun!
posted by goshling at 12:06 AM on July 3, 2008

On tampons and hymens first: Some of you have said "it's high up in the vagina" others have said "it's at the opening." Some have said "the tampon can break it" others have said "it can't". Actually, you're ALL right, because hymens are many different shapes, strengths, and locations, and vary from individual to individual.


At times when my cervix has been bumped, it feels more like a more "inner belly" pain, kind of like a period cramp. And not sharp and searing, more like...stubbing my toe mildly. But that's me.

And wow, lots of retroveted uteri in here -- me too. Mine doesn't just tip back, but also to the left.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:01 AM on July 3, 2008

I've had this discussion with many men and so I can say that for me, it feels like getting kicked in the balls. Sharp pain, then dull, awful, aching, horrible pain that can last up to half an hour, and often nausea.

Yes, I've had this checked out; everything is fine, my cervix is just a delicate little flower.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:00 AM on July 3, 2008

Getting hit in the cervix can hurt a lot. I still feel it as a stabbing pain if the angle is wrong.

The blood could have been from your cervix- the surface of the cervix is thin and delicate with a lot of blood vessels- so spotting after sex can occur.

I wouldn't worry about this- but ask your husband to hold back on the deep thrusting until you are more accustomed to the sensations and familiar with the angles that feel the best. And I suggest making an appt w/ your gynecologist for a check up to be on the safe side- it's a good idea to do this anyway since you are newly sexually.
posted by mistsandrain at 6:32 AM on July 3, 2008

Usually I'm mostly okay with my cervix getting hit. It's a little achy, but not a big deal.

However, when I'm going to have my period soon or am having my period, my cervix is significantly lower (I think this is actually a normal thing that happens to most women), and it's either easier to hit or more sensitive or something, because it flippin' hurts. Additionally, if I'm just about to get my period and my cervix takes a bit of a bruising, I'll start spotting.

So it might just be a cycle thing. Maybe choose a position that's more shallow around this point in your cycle and see if deeper penetration hurts the same way about a week after your period.

(I may or may not have endometriosis or ovarian cysts or something of that nature, as both my sisters do and I haven't seen a proper gyn in a few years. I may or may not be "normal")
posted by giraffe at 6:53 AM on July 3, 2008

I agree that it feels akin to getting kicked in the balls. Not that that description helps you much as a female, but it does express the severity, no? How about "it feels like you're fucking my womb"? Sound familiar?

This thread has a combination of good and bad advice about this problem. Mostly because people were confused about whether it was a length or a girth problem. Obviously you're looking for the advice on length.

If you find this cervix-bumping happening a lot I would suggest not using lube. It is a total fallacy that lube makes sex better. Ugh.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:06 AM on July 3, 2008

I've felt all of these sensations at one point or another. Sometimes a position we've done a million times will just not work and we find something different. Just say "ouch!" and grab him and flip him over, he'll love it. :)

For what it's worth, sex for me took a fairly long time to get un-painful in general. Sometimes it would work great, but sometimes I had to grit my teeth. I asked my friend about it - she'd been active for years longer than me - and she shrugged and said "sometimes, sex just hurts."

Bodies are funny that way.
posted by GardenGal at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2008

and sunshinesky, don't dis lube just because it doesn't work for you. If she's new to sex and just getting loosened up, so to speak, it may be the only thing preventing sex from being even more painful for her. In my experience. :)
posted by GardenGal at 9:37 AM on July 3, 2008

I'm just saying that, for this particular problem, lube is really counter productive.

Also, I find that you can't really fool your body into thinking you're wet enough with any amount of lube. That wasn't really my original point, but I guess it was wrong to say "total fallacy".
posted by sunshinesky at 9:45 AM on July 3, 2008

Your hymen will be blood rich (or not) at particular points in your menstrual cycle. It also raises and lowers in your vaginal canal, too - it's kinda cool.

For me, getting banged (ha!) in the cervix can either be as uncomfortable as thumping myself on the cheekbone or shin, or as painful as... well, something relatively sharp and painful.

In either case, at the right point in your cycle, when your cervix is low, blood rich and thin, bleeding from a knock to your cervix is entirely to be expected.

If you're interested in these changes, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is the most instructive, easiest book to read that covers this topic in a really interesting and easy to read way. I highly recommend it. You'll learn loads about your hoo hoo!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:50 PM on July 3, 2008

Your hymen will be blood rich... was a typo. I meant your cervix. Sorry if that was confusing.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:30 PM on July 3, 2008

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