Why is sex painful?

There are a number of reasons why some ladies may be experiencing painful sex. For many women, not being able to enjoy sexual intercourse with their partners can be emotionally distressing and it can have a negative impact on relationships. If this is something you’re affected by, please don’t despair. There are many treatments available for conditions which may result in pain during sex.

Here are a few reasons why some ladies might find sex painful. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a comprehensive list and there are many more reasons not included here. It’s definitely worth discussing with your GP so they can help you get back on track to having the enjoyable, pain-free love life you deserve! 



Vaginismus is a condition where the vaginal muscles tighten involuntarily as you try to insert something into the vagina. This could be your partner's penis during sex, fingers or even when using tampons. It’s possible for vaginismus to develop in women who have previously enjoyed pain-free intercourse. The pain and discomfort with vaginismus occurs during penetration. However, you may still be able to enjoy other types of sexual activity which don’t involve vaginal penetration.

Treatments for vaginismus can include talking therapies and using vaginal dilators. Vaginal dilators are smooth, cone-shaped devices in a range of sizes. The idea is that you start from inserting the smallest dilator and gradually work your way up in size to allow your vagina to comfortably accept penetration without pain. This can take a number of weeks (and in some cases, months), but if done correctly, it can make a big difference to the way you feel.



Vulvodynia causes a sensation of burning and soreness in the skin of the vulva, in the absence of any skin condition or infection. There are two types of vulvodynia – provoked and unprovoked. Provoked vulvodynia causes pain when the skin is touched. Unprovoked vulvodynia is continuous (doesn’t need physical touch in order to be triggered). Pain from vulvodynia is neuropathic. It’s caused by nerves sending abnormal signals, which are interpreted as pain. Therefore, vaginismus responds better to pain relief which targets these nerves, dampening their signals and thereby reducing your discomfort. These medications will need to be prescribed by your GP. In addition to medication, there are also various lifestyle changes you can also try which may help you to feel more comfortable. These can be found here.


Lack of lubrication

The amount of natural lubrication women’s bodies produce can fluctuate for many reasons. The most common factor people associate with vaginal dryness is the menopause. During the menopause, some women also experience vaginal atrophy. This is where the vaginal tissue loses some elasticity and can become thinner, making it more prone to irritation and resulting in painful sex.

Other reasons for lack of lubrication could be due to not spending sufficient time on foreplay and attempting penetration before you’re fully aroused. Certain medications can also affect your production of natural lubrication, such as some allergy and cold medicines, antihistamines and antidepressants.


OVIO Collection

OVIO personal lubricant gels can be used to enhance pleasure during sex. Apply the gel to either yourself or your partner for silky smooth, long-lasting lubrication. OVIO is water-soluble, condom-friendly, can be used with sex toys, and even applied to vaginal dilators for the treatment of vaginismus.

We provide you with a range of formats, so you can feel thoroughly spoiled for choice. Pick between our discreet pump bottle or tube - whichever takes your fancy!

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