Ask the Doctors: I’m Way Too Tight

I’m really embarrassed about this and I hope you can help. I’ve never told anyone about this.

I have not had sex with anyone in over 10 years. When my new boyfriend & I tried, he couldn’t get all the way inside me. It was really painful. We even used lubricant.

I’ve never been someone who talks about sex. But it feels like my insides have closed up and even my doctor said basically that. What can I do?

First off, it’s often true that our bodies change when we don’t use parts of them. It’s a common thing- just think about what it would be like if someone went to the gym for the first time in 10 years. Just as the decrease in ability took some time to develop, it’ll probably take some time for it to reverse. Not 10 years, though, so don’t worry about that.

Just like the person going to the gym, you’ll need to ramp up and practice regularly. It might be difficult at first, but as soon as you start seeing improvements, it’ll get easier. There are a few things you can do and the more you do, the faster things will change.

1) The muscles of the pelvic floor need exercise to stay health and happy. You may have heard of Kegel exercises, which are the exercises to strengthen and tone them. Weak muscles often get tight because they’re not strong enough to work well. The more you tone the muscles, the more they can relax, which makes sex easier. Kegel exercises also increase blood flow to the vagina, which can increase lubrication.

This page on our website has all the info you need about how to find the right muscles and how to do the exercises. They’re very easy and don’t take long.

2) You could also try using a slim toy to try penetration. Again like the person at the gym, start off with something smaller and increase over time. If you try for too much, it can cause pain and muscle spasms, which can make things worse.

A lot of women like the Femani Intimates Wand Massagers because they have a great texture and sensation. The slimmest one is only 1/2 inch wide, so it’s a good one to start with. Or our Vibrating Dilator Set might be a good choice.  because you get 4 different sizes. But the smallest one is 7/8 inch wide, so it’s a bit thicker than the other one.

Also the folks who make the Femani Wands have a great brochure that might be helpful. Sometimes, the skin around the opening of the vagina can get tender or can tear from stretching. They have some good advice about how to take care of that here.

3) Most women report that they need some kind of clitoral sensation in order to orgasm and a vibrator can help a lot. Plus, using a vibrator on the clitoris can feel great, increase blood flow, and build arousal, which can make penetration easier. Try the C-Spot Vibrator, which is designed to go against the clitoris while being easy to hold. Plus, you can use it during sex with a partner since it curves out of the way. The Laya Vibrator is another good choice and it’s very quiet.

Since you’ve never used a vibrator, the book Tickle Your Fancy might help. It’s full of excellent tips and advice. Plus, you can get it in a kit with a vibrator and some lubricant.

4) Lastly, what kind of lubricant were you using? Some are better than others. For your situation, I’d suggest a silicone lubricant because it lasts a long time and doesn’t cause irritations. Swiss Navy and Pink are good choices. And FYI, you only need a little bit because it goes a long way, so even though they cost more per ounce, the bottle lasts a lot longer.

If none of these things help, my last suggestion is to give the folks at the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center a call. There are some medical conditions that can make penetrative sex difficult or painful, and these wonderful people can be a big help. Plus, they do phone consultations and if you’re not near San Francisco, would be able to give you a referral.

We’re dedicated to getting you the information you need about sex, pleasure and your health. If you have any questions, please email our staff experts, Dr. Carol Queen and Dr. Charlie Glickman, at! For product-related questions, please email or call our customer service staff at


Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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