Ask Emily: Help! Why Are My Orgasms Painful?

Q: Dear Emily,

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to masturbation and having orgasms. (I didn’t even know that women could masturbate until I was in my twenties!)

Now I’m figuring out what turns me on, what movements I like, and what doesn’t work. I even have a wonderful partner who is totally on board to help me figure it out.

Sometimes when I masturbate, or when my partner fingers me to climax, this weird thing happens: My body spasms, and it kind of…hurts (usually in just the pelvic area).

I can’t hold my vibrator to my clit any longer or I push my partner’s hand away, even though I feel that I could have gone deeper into the orgasm. It totally keeps me from just melting into the experience.

I’m wondering if I’m pushing myself to climax before I’m fully warmed up? Is that a thing? Or is this a serious issue that I might have to get looked at?

Sincerely,

Leslie, 27

A: Dear Leslie,

From one late bloomer to another, the first thing I want to tell you is to not stress about it! When I was in my twenties, I couldn’t understand what the hype about sex was to save my life until a friend nonchalantly asked me if I masturbated. I thought, Who, me? It never even occurred to me to masturbate. But, late or not, you’ve found the world of self-pleasure, and you have a partner that’s along for the ride. That’s great!

What you need to know is that sex-related pain is actually very common among women. With that being said, however, most women suffer through it and never report the pain or see their doctor about it—so I’m glad that you reached out. You don’t have to suffer through this. After all, sex is supposed to be enjoyable!

The first thing I would recommend is to pay a visit to your doctor. Whenever you are experiencing any kind of unknown pain you should absolutely get it checked out. Talk to your ob-gyn about it at your next appointment—or, if you’re really concerned, make an appointment sooner.

What you’ve described sounds to me like it could be vaginismus. It’s an incredibly common condition that causes involuntary muscle spasms in your vagina and most often happens with penetration. So your partner’s fingers could definitely be triggering these spasms, or even your orgasms themselves that are triggering them.

It can be hard to tell what causes vaginismus, but the most common culprit is sex-related anxiety or fear. This could have come as a result of being a late bloomer or could have even developed with one partner and then carried over to the ones that followed. But whatever the cause, you want to focus more on the solution.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT MIGHT BE CAUSING YOUR PAIN AND HOW TO FIX IT IN MY LATEST ARTICLE FOR GLAMOUR’S SMITTEN COLUMN, “HELP! WHY DOES HAVING SEX HURT SO MUCH?

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