Simple, at-home moves making sex less painful

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Simple, at-home moves making sex less painful

When soft moans of ecstasy turn to loud moans of pain during sex, something’s not right.  Typically we associate sex with lovely sensations of bliss and enjoyment. Pain though, during sex, is not what a woman should be feeling. Pain is always the body’s way of signaling that something is wrong and is telling you to take a step back and figure out what is happening.

How common is painful sex in women?

Unfortunately up to 20% of women experience painful intercourse at some point in during their lives. Many of these women suffer in silence for years without bringing up the topic when seeing a doctor.  Pain during sex is not normal and should always be discussed with a gynecologist or primary care physician to discover and diagnosis what is the cause of the pain.

Possible causes of painful sex

Painful sex can be due to several things such as emotional and physical stressors, as well as medical conditions contributing to pelvic pain and painful sex. Conditions like endometriosis, pelvic congestion, infections, vaginismus, vulvodynia, and interstitial cystitis can all cause pelvic pain. These diagnoses do require medical care which often treats the condition with prescription medications.

How the pelvic floor muscles influence painful sex

However, another factor women should consider has to do with her pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a large, bowl-shaped muscle group stretching from your pubic bone to your tailbone. Your pelvic floor controls your bladder and bowel.  It’s also what relaxes to allow for penetration, and contracts rhythmically and involuntarily during an orgasm. But, just like other skeletal muscles in the body, this muscle group can be weak or tight. While both pose potential concerns for pelvic floor functioning, tightness in these muscles can lead to painful sex, which is medically known as dyspareunia.

3 exercises making sex less painful

Just like any muscle in the body, if you don’t use it, it can get out of shape fast. Your pelvic floor muscles are no different. If you are tired of experiencing painful sex, exercising this particular muscle group can have a significant impact on making sexual intercourse enjoyable once again.

Here are three exercises women should practice regularly helping to relax their pelvic floor muscles.. They can be done both prior and after sex to help make penetration less painful and to relax the body following an orgasm.

These exercises are not intended to forgo seeing your doctor about the root cause of painful sex.  They are simply a natural way of working towards pain-free sex along with what advice your doctor may suggest.

1.  Diaphragmatic breathing

Your diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that sits beneath your rib cage and is connected to your pelvic floor via muscles and fascia (fibrous tissue). When you take a breath, your diaphragm draws downward. At the same time your pelvic floor drops into a more relaxed position, stretching your pelvic floor. As you exhale, your diaphragm rises back to its resting position and your pelvic floor follows suit. Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to practice stretching the pelvic floor throughout the day and can also be performed during sex to reduce pain.

Here is how to practice it – lie on your back, placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take in a slow breath. You want your belly hand to rise, while your chest hand stays still. Pause, and let the air slowly escape your lungs. Your belly hand should fall, while your chest hand remains still. Go slow; breath in for 5 seconds, then out for 5 seconds. Your rib cage and abdomen should slowly expand, and then slowly come back to resting. Practice this exercise many times in any position – the more the better.

2. Child’s pose

Child’s pose is a common yoga pose and an excellent pelvic floor stretch. In a kneeling position, bring your knees out wide while keeping your toes together. If this hurts your knees, you can roll up a towel or blanket to kneel on. Sit up straight, and then bring your head toward the floor. If this is too much for your knees, hips, or back, bring your forearms to the ground in front of you and rest your head on your arms. When comfortable in this position, start taking big, slow breaths.

As you breathe in you may feel a gentle drop through your pelvic floor, and as you exhale you may feel it gently rise. Breathe in this position for at least 30 seconds or up to several minutes.

3.  Happy baby

Happy baby is another common yoga pose, also excellent for relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Lie on your back, take in a deep breath and exhale to bring your knees toward your underarms, keeping your feet and knees wide. With your hands, grab the outside of your feet if you can – if not, grab your shins or knees as an alternative. If you are flexible enough, try to bring your feet over your knees, perpendicular to the floor. Start breathing, slowly.

To intensify this stretch, you can gently rock your hips back and forth, bending and unbending your lower back against the ground until you find a comfortable position. As you breathe in, you may feel that same gentle drop. As you exhale, you may feel a gentle rise.  Breathe in this position for at least 30 seconds or longer if comfortable.