Tag Archives: pain in intercourse

Working Through Physical Pain in the Marriage Bed

Well, tickle me happy! One of the marriage advocates I most admire is here today: Jolene Engle of Christian Wife University. And she’s talking about an important topic for many of you wives: physical pain in sex. Here’s her story and insight.

Working through Pain Guest Post by Jolene Engle

Not long after I became a Christian, I met and married my husband. We remained pure until our wedding night because we wanted to honor and obey the Lord with all aspects of our lives. Now, I’ve got to tell you, I. could. not. wait. to have sex with my new husband!

You should have seen me at my wedding reception. I ate my dinner fast and I ate my wedding cake fast. This new wife was looking to leave the party as soon as possible so I could head to our honeymoon!

But sex…it’s been a complicated thing for me. From dealing with the emotional baggage from a promiscuous past, to a low sex-drive (I entered into peri-menopause when I was 32), and then having physical pain when I had sex with my husband. This gal was not happy about the limitations and obstacles faced in the marriage bed!

It was just one month after our wedding day when the simplicity of our sexual intimacy died down. I received news from my doctor that I had precancerous cells of my cervix and surgery was now scheduled on my calendar. I eventually recovered from this, but what I didn’t know was that there was a storm up ahead that would sweep through our marriage bed.

It was less than two years later when we welcomed our firstborn son into the world, and that’s when the gale force winds of pain and infections swept through my body. After giving birth, I dealt with a gone wrong episiotomy and a prolapsed uterus which made sex extremely painful. When my next son entered the world, my body broke down even more. Each month I had rupturing ovarian cysts, and I dealt with depression due to my hormonal imbalances. My body was riddled with infections, and one infection invaded my private parts and stayed there for well over a year. The doctors had no answers. Vaginal Inflammation. Chronic Infections. Rupturing cysts. This was my way of life for so many years.

I was chronically ill, but I was also chronically seeking to connect with my husband. I didn’t want to deprive him because of what my body was going through. I believe this attitude helped my husband to be chronically understanding, gentle, and loving toward me. My health problems, the problems that the Lord allowed in our marriage, forced my husband to live out his biblical command to love me like Christ loved the church. He had to put that verse into action in the marriage bed!

If you’re dealing with physical pain, here are my tips:

  • Be intentional to pursue intimacy even when there is pain. (This doesn’t mean you have to have intercourse.) You can be Sex Savvy, as J has taught, and you can be creative in spite of your issues. This shows your husband that you still desire him regardless of your limitations. And let’s face it, some intimacy is better than no intimacy. Of course go slow and relax! The goal is connecting with your husband.
  • Work hard to find a solution to your problem. Become your own advocate in dealing with your health. Go to doctor after doctor after doctor until you find a solution. Read books. Eat special diets. (This helped with my inflammation.) Dig high and low to find answers and remedies to help you. The health of your marriage depends on your diligence! I found that when I did this, my man saw I meant serious business that our physical intimacy was important to me. And I believe my physical weaknesses helped him to live out 1 Peter 3:7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
  • Don’t invite Satan into your marriage bed by turning to porn or reading erotica novels in the hopes that these things will fix your intimacy issues. These choices will just compound your problems by fracturing your emotional and spiritual intimacy. Keep in mind that God is allowing the physical limitations to take place in your body and He is the Great Physician. He can heal you at any time. Have faith. Have hope, and always choose a God-honoring path in your marriage bed. (If you’ve taken a wrong turn, just repent and get back on the narrow path.)
  • Use coconut oil. The lubrication will help your sexual experience, and since coconut oil is natural it shouldn’t cause any burning or irritation to your skin. Just make sure you’re not allergic to it! Test it on another part of your body, first.

It’s been almost 17 years now since I said, ‘I do’ to my man. We’ve endured a lot, but we’ve worked hard to try to fix my issues because our physical intimacy is important to our marriage. As I look back over all these year, it felt like my marriage bed was ravaged by the locusts, but my God (and yours) says this…”So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).

Fight for your physical intimacy rather than neglect it. You’ll be surprised by how much your determination will make a positive impact on your marital relationship. You’ll come out of this trial even stronger and closer as a couple.

Jolene EngleJolene was once an atheist who is now sold-out for Jesus Christ. Her heart beats fast for discipling women and you’ll find her doing just that at JoleneEngle.com. She is also the founder of Christian Wife University where she helps wives connect the dots from their reality to the Christ-centered marriage they long for and the one God intended.

Jolene and her husband, Eric, run a weekly podcast called, What’s a Girl to Do? where they provide biblical guidance for women and wives. She is also the author of the book and bible study, Wives of the Bible.

Pain & Pleasure

Here I am, along with other Christian bloggers, encouraging women to have great intimate encounters with their husbands, and some women continue to resist.  Because for some of you, when it comes down to it, intercourse is like inserting a serrated knife into your ear — or worse.  Sex flat out hurts.

Photo of woman in pain

Photo credit: Microsoft
Word Clipart

This is absolutely not an area in which “No Pain, No Gain” applies.  Sex is not supposed to be physically painful.  If it is, you do not grit your teeth and bear it, or lie back and think of England.  You need to treat it like any other instance of pain in your body.  If you had ongoing migraines, you would try to find out why and treat them.  If you had excruciating back pain, you would see your doctor, a chiropractor, or a masseuse.  If you had sharp pangs every time you walked, you wouldn’t stop walking altogether or merely decide that painful walking was your personal normal, you would say to yourself, “Hey, what’s up? Walking isn’t supposed to hurt!”

So here are a few tips to address the pain that some women feel in intercourse.  Remember that God designed sex in marriage to provide intimacy and pleasure.  That is what He desires for you.

Examination.  Visit your doctor and see if there is a physical reason for your pain.  Cervical structure, low estrogen, and other factors can negatively impact your comfort during intercourse.  Physical causes of sexual pain can be addressed.

After childbirth, intercourse with my husband felt like having a scythe inserted vaginally.  At my third visit to the gynecologist, the physician’s assistant realized that my estrogen was especially low.  She prescribed a cream, and voilá! pain alleviated.  It was a relief to me and my husband that I could engage in intimate encounters without wincing, crying buckets, and begging (internally) for him to finish.  Thank goodness we discovered the physical cause and treated it.

Preparation.  If physical factors are not to blame, it could be that the husband is entering his wife too soon.  A woman needs adequate lubrication and swelling to receive a penis without discomfort.  The inner vaginal lips (or labia minora) must be swollen to perhaps three times their regular size.  If the woman is not moist enough or swollen enough, her body requires more preparation.  Preparation = foreplay.

Women take longer to heat up.  Some have compared men and women to microwaves and slow cookers.  Make sure you allow time to become sufficiently aroused.  If necessary, designate a specified time for foreplay.  Tell hubby that you need fifteen minutes of love play before entry.  Or a certain number of romantic songs playing in the background can be your timer.  Make sure that you are ready for your husband’s penis to be inserted.  If you are, it will likely feel quite good when he enters. 

Lubrication.  It can be difficult, at times, to produce enough lubrication on your own.  Perhaps it’s a time of the month when hormones are less cooperative, or the couple doesn’t have sufficient time in the schedule for long foreplay, or aging is playing its part in slowing down the juices.  Whatever the reason, purchase a lubricant and keep it near your bed.  Try different brands to find the one you like best.  You can apply the lubricant yourself or ask your hubby to do so (a request he would likely oblige).

Moisture in the vaginal area assists with stimulation and pleasure.  Your husband’s fondling may not feel good without that wetness.  If you aren’t producing it on your own, don’t worry about it.  Just apply lubrication.

Experimentation.  Find out what feels good to you.  A lot of women who claim they don’t like sex have merely accepted the method used by their husband, and what he does doesn’t feel good.  You need to try different ways of touching one another, different positions, or different times for entry or ways of thrusting.  This isn’t a perfect-on-the-first-try activity.  Explore one another’s bodies and learn what is enjoyable.  Free yourself to find out what brings you pleasure and what brings pain, so you can pursue the former and avoid the latter.

Prior to childbirth, I had a tilted uterus, and sex often felt more comfortable when my husband entered my vagina from behind.  A little experimentation led us to discover a position that kept me from experiencing pain and intensified my pleasure.  Of course, my enjoyment made the encounter more enjoyable for my husband as well.

Communication.  Talk to your husband about what feels good and what doesn’t.  If you begin to feel discomfort or pain, let him know!  He isn’t a mind reader.  Most men are not so absorbed by their own desire for climax that they don’t care about injuring you.  Loving husbands want their wives to gain pleasure from having sex with them.  So communicate.

This may mean piping up verbally during the event to say, “Ooh, that doesn’t feel good.  How about this?”  Or it may mean guiding his hand or his penis where you want it.  It can also entail sitting down outside the bedroom and having a heart-to-heart conversation about the pain you experience and your desire to experience pleasure instead.  Your husband will probably be happy to discuss options for accomplishing that goal.

Habituation.  (I chose a big word to match all of the other –ations which really means frequency.)  Sex needs to happen with some regularity for pain or soreness to be avoided.

If I try to run five miles, my legs are going to scream bloody murder at me, and I will awaken the next morning barely able to move.  If I don’t run again until three months later, it will still hurt like the dickens.  But if I run today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on, I will be able to run five miles before I know it with a runner’s high instead of a weakling’s cramping.

Some women experience unnecessary pain because they do not engage in sex often enough for their muscles to adapt.  Vaginas stretch a little with use.  The vagina will still be tight enough to cause pleasure for the man, but it needs to remain elastic enough to respond.  If sex hurts and you don’t have sex again for three months, it will likely hurt just as much the next time.  Making sex a habit gets your body used to the physical activity, increasing the likelihood that you will enjoy the experience.

Remember that sex isn’t supposed to hurt.  See if one of these reasons is causing the problem and address it immediately.  Bring your husband in on the deal and enlist his help.