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Cory Silverberg

Sex Q & A: Why Does Sex With My Boyfriend Hurt?

By September 6, 2012

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Yesterday I got an email from someone who said they were confused, frustrated, and in pain. It sounded to me as if they were experiences a lot of different kinds of pain, but the one they focused on was physical pain. I did my best to outline some of the many reasons why sex might hurt, but what struck me most was the last thing they wrote, which was "Every time I read people talk about sex in such a positive way I want to cry because I can't experience it!"

Even if we acknowledge publicly that sex is a social and relational phenomenon, that we can't really talk about sex or sexuality as if we are isolated from the humans we share the planet with, I find that once the conversation turns to physical pain or discomfort we all become individuals, patients on an examining table, the problem clearly resting somewhere in our bodies (or our minds, which are in our bodies).

My response in many ways fell into this trap. I left it as is, and you can read it below, because it's not as if I think that response is unhelpful. But reflecting on it again, it occurs to me that I can't remember the last time I read someone writing about the social causes of painful sex. For all it's supposedly pleasure-enhancing qualities, I think Facebook probably creates more sexual misery than joy. I don't think that social networks or any social interactions produce physical pain in our bodies in response to sexual stimuli. Well probably not. But I do think that when people say sex hurts, or that sex is painful, it's best to start by talking about all the things that might mean, before we zero in on the muscles and the nerves that are more commonly faulted.

It's a slower approach, and I understand that makes it less appealing to many, but I suspect that ultimately it's an approach that would teach us all more.

Read More: Sex With My Boyfriend Hurts

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