Possible problems during sex 151
Possible problems during sex
Pain during sex
Sex should not hurt. Sometimes the pain is due to
a woman’s disability, but often there are other
causes. Sometimes a woman feels pain when
a man’s penis, or a partner’s fingers or hand,
enters her vagina. This can happen when:
• her partner enters her too soon, before
she is relaxed and her vagina is wet
• she feels guilt or shame, or does not want to have sex.
• she has an infection or growth in her vagina or lower belly.
• she has had her genitals cut or stitched together (female genital cutting or
Some women with tight, spastic muscles, and some women with spinal cord
injury, may find it painful for anything to enter the vagina. If so, try to find another
way to have sex that brings pleasure for both partners.
Sex can be painful if the vagina is too dry. When a woman is sexually excited, her
vagina usually becomes wet. This is natural. But sometimes a woman’s disability
makes it less likely for her vagina to become wet. This can happen to many women,
but especially to some women with rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injury.
A common way to make the vagina wetter is to take more time with sex, so that
the body makes more of its own wetness. You can also use a lubricant to make the
vagina slippery so the skin will not tear.
IMPORTANT If a latex condom is used during sex, do not use oil, petroleum jelly
(Vaseline), butter, mineral oil, or lotion to make the vagina wetter. These can make
the condom break. Use a water-based lubricant, such as KY Jelly, with a condom.
In some places, people prefer to have sex when the vagina is very
dry. So some women put herbs or powders in their vaginas, or wash
out (douche) their vaginas before sex. But when the vagina is dry, it can
become irritated during sex, making it more likely to become infected
with HIV and other STIs.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007