Xuanyu Han via Getty ImagesWe’re all taught to prepare ourselves for sex being painful. In every film you watch growing up, characters wince when talking about their first time. Whilst this might seem harmless, these popular culture references coupled with a lack of understanding around the intricacies of modern day sex, sets us up for a lifetime expectation that sex is going to hurt.It took a long time for me to understand that sex doesn’t have to be this way and to have the confidence to do something about it. In the past, I’ve been worried about ruining the moment, or making things awkward if I’d suggested mixing things up to improve things for me, but what a waste of those experiences! I could have been having much better sex for a much longer time, and now I’m on a mission to inspire others to put an end to painful sex.One of the main barriers to overcome is the misconception that not being wet means that we’re not enjoying it. There can be a massive disconnect between our vaginas and brains so you can be super horny and not get wet, and you can be not horny at all but your vagina has other plans. I like to think of the latter like the equivalent of random erections.However, feeling dry down below is totally normal. It can be simply to do with where you are in your menstrual cycle, as oestrogen levels affect vaginal dryness. Yet, our lack of awareness and deprioritising our pleasure is causing us to ‘grin and bear it’ which is having negative consequences on not just our sex lives, but our relationships and confidence too.
Everyone is unique so there’s not a one size fits all solution to sexual discomfort. You could try a different position or go slower, but for me, the simple answer is lube, which I use almost every time I have sex. Talking to your sexual partner can be tricky as they’re taught to believe if you’re not wet, they’re not doing a good enough job but it’s not personal! I’m lucky that I have an understanding and open-minded partner but there are still 63% of women who wouldn’t talk to their partner if they experienced sexual discomfort. But just so you know, lube is also great for non-penetrative sex and masturbation!Enough is enough, we need to banish sexual discomfort. Sex is fun, and being vocal about how you’re feeling will benefit everyone. I suggest experimenting with different positions and using lube when you’re having your dryer days. Trust me, it’s a game changer.Hannah Witton is supporting the #LadiesLetsLube campaign from Durex Naturals Intimate Gel to encourage people to stop putting up with uncomfortable sex. Visit https://www.durex.co.uk/pages/natural-hub for more information.