Pelvic floor pain, especially during sex, can be caused by lots of things. It’s actually more common than you might think, and it doesn’t have to ruin the possibility of an amazing sex life. Everyone is different, so what works for one person might not necessarily work for another, but hopefully, at least some of the tips in this article can help you.
What Causes Pelvic Floor Pain?
In most cases, pelvic floor pain can indicate a problem with one or more of the organs in the pelvic area. These include the uterus, vagina, intestine, and bladder, so a lot of important stuff is all packed in pretty close together! Pain may stem from infection, inflammation, or, super commonly, conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
If your pain is caused by a temporary condition, like an infection, it should go away after treatment. Speak to your doctor and get the necessary medication to get you back up and running. However, if it’s from a chronic condition like PCOS, you might consistently be searching for relief on your own, and that’s what we’re here to help with.
Home Remedies for Pelvic Floor Pain
Do Your Kegels
Kegel exercises can help some people who are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and are often a great starting point on your sex-enjoyment journey! These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. You can do Kegels pretty much anytime, anywhere.
One of the best descriptions of the type of flexing you need to do for Kegels is to imagine you’re tightening your vagina around a tampon. Clench the muscles of your pelvic floor, taking care not to flex your thighs or buttocks or hold your breath. Hold for around three seconds, and then release for three seconds. Repeat this 5 to 10 times to start.
You may find it easiest to do Kegels while laying down, but once you’re familiar with the process, you can do them in any position. Do these a few times a day, and the muscles of your pelvic floor will start to strengthen.
Just like everything else, Kegels work incredibly well for some, and not at all for others. Listen to your body and if they’re not helping, or if they cause you more pain and discomfort, stop doing them and seek other methods of relief.
Take Your Time During Sex
One thing that can contribute to pelvic floor pain is stress and anxiety. When you’re anxious, it can make your muscles tense up, making pleasurable penetration much more difficult. Try more forepaly to calm nerves prior to penetration. Really take your time and try to relax, get comfortable with your lover and take the pressure off of the “main event.”
Another good idea is to talk with your partner about alternatives to penetrative sex that the two of you can engage in. There are so many options beyond penetration. For example, you could try long sessions of oral sex, or nipple stimulation, or different types of sensation play.
Did you know there are meditations for pelvic floor pain that can help with relaxation that you can do before or even during sex? Meditation and mindfulness activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body and can help release tension in your muscles and nerves. Anything you can do to help stop the tension and contraction of your muscles will be beneficial in having more pleasurable sex. If you want something more specific, you can search YouTube for pelvic floor meditations!
Regular exercise, around 3 to 5 times a week, can help regulate your hormones. It doesn’t have to be anything intimidating or intense. Pretty much anything that gets your heart rate elevated is good for regulating these hormones and reducing inflammation that contributes to pain. Whether you like to swim or take brisk walks or cycle, just try doing what works for you and your body. And remember, some exercise is better than none.
Practice Loving Your Belly
It’s super common for people with body shame to suck in in their stomachs, sometimes without even realizing it. This can actually cause pelvic pain issues! All of the muscles and nerves in your lower belly area are connected. When you’re constantly tensing the muscles of your abdomen, it changes how your pelvic floor muscles elongate and contract. By sucking in, you're putting a ton of pressure on your core, causing strain on your pelvic floor. If done consistently, this can weaken the pelvic floor and lead to problems down the road. Practicing loving your belly and mindfully relaxing those muscles can help with pelvic floor dysfunction.
Take OTC Medications
Using an anti-inflammatory medicine can be super helpful, since a lot of pelvic floor pain comes from inflammation of the muscles in that region. Try taking the meds 30 minutes or so before sex to see if it helps your muscles relax.
Applying heat can bring down inflammation and relax the tense muscles and nerves in your pelvic area, relieving pain and letting you enjoy your sex life the way you want to. Try using a heating pad about 30 minutes (or longer, if you’re really tense) before sex.
Contact A PT
There is also no shame whatsoever in contacting a local Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic floor problems. They can get a deeper understanding of how your body works, what issues you are having, and how you are progressing. PTs who specialize in pelvic floor issues are wellsprings of knowledge for you to lean on, who can give you advice and tips about your own body you likely can’t get anywhere else.
Products That Can Help Pelvic Floor Pain
Did you know Starship sells products that can help alleviate pelvic floor pain? Here’s a roundup of some of our favorites!
A vaginal dilator is a tool you can use to gently stretch your vagina. Often times they’re used when the vagina has become narrowed, like if you’ve had brachytherapy for gynecologic cancers, and often as therapy for vaginismus, a disorder that causes the vagina to be much smaller and more narrow than average.
Both of these can lead to painful sex, so that’s where the dilator comes in! When used consistently, you can stretch your vagina gently over time, and help it stay stretched and relaxed, meaning you can have enjoyable penetrative sex.
Vibrators can be a bit polarizing when it comes to treating pelvic pain, but if you’re one of the people they work for, they really work! Vibration may cause irritation to nerves or pelvic floor muscles for some. At the same time, it may help ease muscle tension and promote blood flow for other people, and this is an amazing way to experience pleasure instead of pain during sex. We recommend going with a vibe that lets you choose your intensity and vibration pattern, so you can find what works for you without overstimulating sensitive nerves.
We recommend Ambience vibe for something simple and sexy. The smooth matte finish feels silky as it glides in with extra length for deeper penetration, and the multi-speed motor lets you go from gentle massage to intense buzz at the touch of a button. You can use this vibrator as part of foreplay to help you get aroused and help those muscles relax before having penetrative sex with your partner, if that’s your preference.
Wetter is always better and however great your sex is, however wet you get, however wet your partner gets, lube always, inevitably makes it feel even better. If you’ve never used lube, we recommend starting with a water-based lubricant. These lubes are good for sensitive skin, safe for use with all types of toys, condom-compatible, and won’t stain fabrics!
This might sound a little counterintuitive, but stay with us. Anal relaxers, not to be confused with anal numbing agents, can also be used vaginally, and serve the same relaxing purpose. They use natural ingredients, like hemp oil, to relax your muscles without desensitizing them. When you alleviate tension, you may enjoy penetration more.
To be clear, we never recommend using any numbing agents of any kind. These can be dangerous, since you won’t be able to tell if there is injury occurring.