Ask the Doctors: Painful Intercourse

I could use some suggestions about how to make intercourse less painful.

Vaginal insertion is very painful now that I have gone through menopause and I am not enjoying penetration at all (I used to be orgasmic this way years ago, but not now). My vagina seems too tight, not elastic at all, and dry.

I have addressed the dryness with various lubricants (from GV), but this does not seem to help much with the pain of penetration. I am wearing an Estring, but again, it has not helped very much- probably a tiny bit with the dryness. I did have two children, but both ended up being C-section births, so my vagina was not stretched out at all.

My doctor recommended I contact Good Vibrations for some help.

I’m open to suggestions!

This is a really common situation- a lot of women find that after menopause, the vaginal lining gets thinner and more sensitive. Since vaginal lubrication can also decrease due to hormonal changes, it’s easy to see how any penetration can become painful. Plus, the skin of the vulva can lose elasticity, which can become painful when it stretches during penetration.

There are a few different options that you can explore. The first is the Oasis Intimates Wand Vibrators, an amazing new set of vibrators that are designed by a doctor and a therapist for exactly this situation.

The Oasis Wands are made of a higher quality plastic than most toys and are designed to last longer than the novelty vibes that most people are used to. They’re also very quiet and are engineered to be less “buzzy” than most vibrators. That’s because they’re meant to help increase the blood flow to the vaginal tissue. Massage is well-known to enhance blood flow, but most sex toys aren’t effective at that, even if they are lots of fun. The Oasis Wands can also help you tone the pelvic floor muscles, which can make penetration easier. I interviewed one of the designers about these products so you can read her own words here.

A lot of women find that massaging the vulva with a moisturizing lubricant can also help a lot. This soothes the tissues and helps keep the skin from losing flexibility and elasticity, which will help make penetration and erotic touch easier. It’s similar to the way that using a moisturizer on your face makes the skin feel better. Our Vulva Balm is a great choice, although some women prefer coconut oil. When you do feel ready to try vaginal penetration again, you may find that one of the silicone lubricants makes it easier. While they don’t moisturize, they are very slippery and don’t dry out, so they are very effective.

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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