Painful Intercourse

Dear Dr. Melanie,

When my boyfriend and I have intercourse, sometimes it’s painful for me, and my vagina feels raw the next day. What’s going on?
Signed, Ouch.

Dear Ouch,

The fact that sex is only sometimes painful may indicate that on those occasions, you weren’t aroused enough for your tissues to lubricate before your boyfriend’s penis entered your vagina. When women are turned on, the vagina becomes wet with a glistening, slippery liquid called transudate that helps the penis glide smoothly without irritating the vagina. Glands in the vulva also release small amounts of lubrication to moisten the labia (lips) so external touch feels good, too. The next time you have sex, allow more time for exploring each other’s bodies before touching genitals. Wait until you’re really excited before inviting your boyfriend in. Depending on the time of your menstrual cycle, you may need a little extra lubrication such as ID Glide or Nearly Me. If the problem continues, consult your physician or gynecologist.