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Ask Bish – I Just Can’t Enjoy Vaginal Sex But I Really Want To

Advice for someone who enjoys sex but finds vaginal sex painful.

Hi =) well, I just can’t enjoy vaginal sex. My boyfriend really knows what I like and how I like things when we are masturbating.. I am usually very relaxed, but when we start the penetration it hurts a lot. I already had anal sex and it didn’t hurt like this (actually, it didn’t hurt, I enjoyed it).
When I try to put more than one finger inside me, it hurts too, even when I’m “turned on”, I think that maybe my vagina is too small, but Idk if it can happen.

Sorry, I wrote too much. Anyways.. I just want to enjoy this kind of sex.. at least try to make it less painfull.. Do you know anything that could help me?


Thanks for your question which I am delighted to answer. Don’t worry about your long question, I’ve given you a bit of a long answer!

Basically I encourage you to think about having sex which is enjoyable not what you think you should have. You don’t have to have vaginal sex you know? I give you some ideas on ways to do this but also some ideas on what might be happening with your vagina and what you (and a doctor) may be able to do to help.

You Don’t Have to Have Vaginal Sex

It’s really great to hear that you are able to communicate what you like and to have sex that you enjoy. It sounds to me (from your question) that you are ready for sex, that you know what your needs are, can communicate them and have someone that knows how to meet your needs.

You’ve been having sex which is enjoyable and not painful: why not just do that? Some people really don’t like anal sex, others really don’t like masturbating and others really don’t like vaginal sex. You are allowed to have what ever sex it is that you actually like (so long as it’s consensual).

Here’s a more recent article about how to avoid painful sex.

But Bish, Vaginal Sex is ‘Normal’

Yes I know, if you have a vagina then everyone expects that you will like vaginal sex. Everyone says it’s ‘normal’ which means that if you don’t do it then you’re ‘abnormal’: f**k that. I’m sick to death of people saying what is ‘normal’ sex – it creates a massive pressure to have the sex we feel we ‘should’ have rather than the sex we might actually ‘want’ to have.

Many people who have vaginal sex find that it doesn’t hurt but they also find that it doesn’t give them that much pleasure either. Many people do it because they think that it’s ‘normal’ (and may get pleasure from doing something because it’s ‘normal’) but it doesn’t always make for really fun, enjoyable sex.

Try this article about enjoying sex without having ‘sex’

It’s More Important to Have Enjoyable Sex Isn’t It?

So please think about having some more of that sex that you enjoy doing. It’s great that you’ve found that you like anal sex: so long as you use lots of lubricant and condoms (if you need to think about STIs) and start slowly (with a finger – ideally with the nails trimmed) then it’s not harmful at all. The anus is surrounded by lots of muscle which contracts again soon after sex.

Think also about other ways of having sex which might involve external stimulation. The easiest way for you to stimulate the clitoris will be from the outside, which is where the really sensitive part is anyway. You can masturbate each other with hands but you can also grind your thighs against each others genitals (this might be good to do with lubricant so you slide over each other). The great thing about masturbating each other is that you can do it in any position you like. You can move your bodies like you’re having hot sweaty sex and it can be really enjoyable.

What’s Going On With Your Vagina

I can’t tell you what’s going on with your vagina because I’m not a doctor. If you really want to explore having vaginal sex (maybe you’re planning on having a baby for instance, though you don’t have to have vaginal sex to have a baby of course (IVF)) you may have to see a doctor.

But I could give you some background on what could be happening and there are a couple of things you could try which might help.

Your Vagina Might Be Doing It’s Own Thing

As I explained in this Ask Bish from last week the vagina totally changes when turned on. It stretches and gets longer allowing for really deep entry. It also gets much wetter. It doesn’t sound like this is happening for you: is it?

You said that you are very relaxed and turned on but is your vagina? Our genitals sometimes rebel against us and don’t do as we want them to (naughty genitals). For instance sometimes, even if someone wanted an erection more than anything else in the world, their penis stays soft (sometimes the reverse happens).

This might be happening with your vagina. Even though your head is saying ‘yes I’m horny and I want sex’ your vagina is saying ‘no, no I’m not’. Imagine your vagina being cross with your head with its arms folded stamping its feet. The really tight muscles surrounding the vagina just clench really hard making entry really difficult.

Why is My Vagina Doing This?

If this is happening then it may be a mystery to you at the moment. For other people it happens when the vagina has been injured or has experienced pain before. A history of pain or trauma in the vagina can stay in the vagina’s memory bank for many years. If you keep trying to have vaginal sex and it keeps hurting then this is going to make things worse.

You may also have had a vagina infection previously (or now) such as thrush. This can make the walls of the vagina really sore. This (or other kinds of vagina infections) can be looked at by a doctor. If you have it now then treatment can help.

Find out more about the vagina.

Explore the Vagina Really Really Really Slowly

You mentioned that you can insert one finger into the vagina but that more than this hurts. Remember to focus on what does feel good, not what doesn’t. Please don’t try to force things because you may make things worse.

When you’re masturbating (probably best if you do this by yourself) you should feel the clitoris getting hard and throbbing (as it fills up with blood just like a penis – the clitoral boner). The opening to the vagina may start to feel wet and more sensitive, try just playing with the opening, stroking the lips maybe. Go really really really slowly.

Observe what is happening to your body like a fascinated scientist. What happens with your breathing? Are you getting tingling nice feelings anywhere? How wet are things feeling? What does your vulva look like (use a mirror for this maybe) and how does it change? Is your temperature changing? Tuning into your body in this way can really help you relax but also will store up some really good memories for your vagina.

Very very slowly you can insert a finger. Try your smallest finger first. Make sure the nails are trimmed. You might want to get hold of some lubricant or even just to use your own spit on your finger. Again observe what is happening and keep going only if it feels good. If it feels bad or ‘meh’ you can stop for now and remember that it did feel good for a bit.

The Bit Where I Tell You to See a Doctor

If none of this works out for you please see a doctor. They might treat you for (for example) thrush, or they may refer you to a gynaecologist or they may refer to someone who can help you with sexual problems. Click on ‘Service Near You’ in the sidebar where you can find local sexual health services that can also help you with this (so you don’t have to go to your own doctor).

Other links you may find helpful are: here and here

Please leave a (nice) comment below if you like or ask me a question here.

© Justin Hancock, 2024 Find out more about me and BISH here.

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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

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3 thoughts on “Ask Bish – I Just Can’t Enjoy Vaginal Sex But I Really Want To

  1. Have never enjoy vaginal sex since have started having sex. Sometimes it can be so painful, I always feel discomfort dryness no pleasure as a woman I can’t say this is how sex feel like no Enjoyment my body doesn’t react to foreplay.i’m 26years and am not happy I also want to Enjoy sex what can I do?

  2. hi i love ur site i am 32 yers old i wil lik u to help me in this, i want to hv sex but i dont have the feeling whenever i am with a girl wot wil i do? pls help me.

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