Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Ashley Gadarowski, M.Ed.
November 11, 2020
Do you experience pain at any level during sex with your partner or while masturbating? Have you ever questioned whether the pain was normal? Talked to a doctor about it? Have you already been diagnosed with sexual pain disorder? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should consider using the tips below to help you on your sexual pain recovery journey.
What do I mean when I talk about sexual pain? For some of you, you may have sexual pain occasionally (despite being aroused). Some of you may have been diagnosed with the sexual pain disorder, dyspareunia. If you experience sexual pain occasionally, frequently or constantly these steps may help you determine what the right treatment for you is.
Find support in friends and groups
Learn where your problems are
Talk to your doctor
Follow your doctor’s plan
Maybe sex just isn’t your thing
Tip #1- Find Support in Friends & Groups
You don't need to make an announcement on Facebook, but it would be a good idea to find a support group on the site. Disclosing to only a few people can help make the support less overwhelming. They will be there for you if you need to end a relationship with an unsupportive partner. The act of explaining your problems to them can help you become more comfortable with speaking up for your sexual needs. This will come in handy when you need to communicate with your doctor.
Tip #2- Talk to a Healthcare Professional
The first step to getting help from your doctor is speaking up and advocating for yourself. Doctors expect you to tell them when something is wrong. Sure they ask general questions, but you will need to volunteer information to them in order for them to help you. I highly recommend talking to a urologist and a physical therapist.
When I first started talking to health care professionals about sexual health I turned to a gynecologist. When it comes to sexual health though, a urologist is more likely to be able to provide treatment. Look for doctors who specialize in pelvic medicine near you. For 5 more tips on how to talk to your doctor click here!
Tip #3- Follow Your Doctor's Plan
If you see a urologist, they may also recommend you see a physical therapist who specializes in therapy for the pelvic floor. They will teach you how to strengthen your core and use dilators, which will help you relax your body and prevent future painful spasms. Following your doctor’s plan of exercise and dilation is important.
It is likely that you will need to make changes to your lifestyle and follow the plan as consistently as you can. When things are going right, we may not exercise enough or use the dilators. This may cause us to undo any progress we have already made. For more information read Ashley’s article on dilation here!
Tip #4- Learn Where Other Problems Are
Through meditation and journaling you can unlock where there may be other underlying problems. Our bodies want different things at the same time. Our minds may be saying we want sex but our bodies may be saying we need a nap or a sandwich. You many need a pre-sex sandwich instead of the even more enticing after-sex-sandwich.
Journaling can help you unlock stressors you did not realize were bothering you. If you are not the type to keep a journal, you can always type your thoughts on the computer. Most of the time it’s never one thing, sometimes getting the diagnosis makes things worse before recovery. Journal as much as you can throughout your treatment process. It is highly recommended that you start therapy if your sexual pain is related to past traumas.
Tip #5- Maybe Sex Just Isn’t Your Thing
Maybe sex just isn’t your thing. Some people are unaware of the identity, asexuality. This means you do not have sexual desire. Our society teaches us that everyone is highly sexual, but maybe you’re just not the type to have sexual desire. Look into asexual identities and see if that is something that makes more sense for your life. Your body may know something your mind hasn’t admitted to itself yet.
If you have concerns about sexual pain these tips can help you on your sexual health journey. A sexual health coach is also a great resource!
For more information, feedback or to provide additional advice when navigating the health system for sexual pain relief, contact Ashley Gadarowski at firstname.lastname@example.org
a Blog From Emerald Sexual Health Consulting, LLC