Is there such a thing as too tight?
If you’ve experienced pain or discomfort during penetration, you may be concerned your vagina is too small or too tight for sex. The truth is, it’s not. Almost no vagina is too tight for intercourse. Sometimes, however, you have to help prepare a bit more for penetration.
In its unaroused state, the vagina is three to four inches long. That might not seem long enough for some penises or sex toys. But when you’re aroused, your vagina grows longer and wider. It also releases a natural lubricant. If you experience pain or difficulty with penetration, it may be a sign you weren’t adequately aroused, not that you’re too tight.
Additionally, pain during penetration may be a sign of a condition such as infection, injury, or congenital abnormality.
Breaking down the myth of a ‘loose vagina’
First thing’s first: There’s no such thing as a “loose” vagina. Your vagina may change over time due to age and childbirth, but it won’t lose its stretch permanently.
The myth of a “loose” vagina has historically been used as a way to shame women for their sex lives. After all, a “loose” vagina isn’t used to describe a woman who has a lot of sex with her partner. It’s primarily used to describe a woman who has had sex with more than one man.
But the truth is that it doesn’t matter who you have sex with or how often. Penetration won’t cause your vagina to stretch out permanently.
A ‘tight’ vagina isn’t necessarily a good thing
It’s important to know that a “tight” vagina may be a sign of an underlying concern, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort during penetration.
Your vaginal muscles naturally relax when you’re aroused. If you’re not turned on, interested, or physically prepared for intercourse, your vagina won’t relax, self-lubricate, and stretch.
Tight vaginal muscles, then, could make a sexual encounter painful or impossible to complete. Extreme vaginal tightness could also be a sign of vaginismus. This is a treatable physical disorder that affects 1 in every 500 women, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Vaginismus is pain that happens before or during penetration. This could mean sexual intercourse, slipping in a tampon, or inserting a speculum during a pelvic exam.
If this sounds familiar, make an appointment with your OB-GYN. They can assess your symptoms and help make a diagnosis. For vaginismus, your doctor may recommend Kegels and other pelvic floor exercises, vaginal dilator therapy, or Botox injections to relax the muscles.
How does the vagina change?
The vagina changes a lot over a person’s lifetime. It’s designed to have sex and birth a baby. Both events change the shape and tightness of the vagina. Understanding these changes can help you know when you might have a problem.
Changes during sex
The vagina is designed to expand and elongate during arousal. When you’re turned on, the upper portion of the vagina lengthens and pushes your cervix and uterus inside the body more. That way, the penis or sex toy doesn’t hit the cervix during penetration and cause discomfort. (Although, stimulating the cervix may sometimes be pleasurable.)
The vagina also releases a natural lubricant so that when penetration occurs, it’s less painful or difficult. If penetration begins too soon and you’re not lubricated, you may experience pain. Adequate foreplay can help ensure you have enough natural lubricant. If that’s still not enough, you can use a store-bought, water-based lubricant.
But these natural processes don’t always mean sex is comfortable. One study found that 30 percentTrusted Source of women experience pain during vaginal intercourse. If the pain or tightness is persistent, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Changes during childbirth
Your vagina can grow and expand to accommodate the birth of a baby. Even then, it will return to its normal size.
After a vaginal delivery, however, you may feel like your vagina is not quite the same. The truth is, it probably isn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s not still tight.
A vagina’s natural shape and elasticity changes over the course of a lifespan, and that means you have to adapt to those changes. This may mean trying new sexual positions or strengthening your pelvic floor muscles to regain strength and tightness.
If you’re afraid you’re too tight
Several conditions may affect how tight a vagina is. Most of these problems are minor and easily treated. These conditions include:
Insufficient arousal or lubrication
Arousal provides the body with natural lubrication. Try outercourse to get you more aroused. Remember, your clitoris is bigger than you think. But if penetration still feels difficult even after foreplay, use a store-bought lubricant to help.
Infection or disorder
Infections, including sexually transmitted infections, don’t change the shape or tightness of your vagina. However, they can make sex more painful.
Injury or trauma
An injury to your pelvis or your genitals may make sex painful. Wait until you’ve fully healed before engaging in sexual activity.
If you’ve ever been sexually assaulted, any sexual encounter may be difficult without adequate therapy.
Some women are born with hymens that are thick or inflexible. During sex, a penis or sex toy pushing against the hymen may feel painful. Even after the tissue is torn, it may be painful when hit during sex.
Vaginismus causes involuntary contractions of your pelvic floor muscles. Before penetration, the condition causes the pelvic floor muscles to tighten so much that a penis or sex toy can’t enter. This condition may be caused by anxiety or fear. Some people with this condition also have difficulty using tampons or having a pelvic exam.
Treatment involves a combination of therapies. In addition to sex therapy or talk therapy, your doctor will work with you to use vaginal dilators or trainers. These cone-shaped devices help you gain control of your pelvic floor and learn to release the involuntary muscular reaction you experience before penetration.
Each vagina is different. That means you can’t rely on someone else’s experience to tell you if your vagina is “normal” or not. You know your own body best, so if something doesn’t feel right during sex, stop. Find a solution that works for you, and try again.
Sex doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, and you shouldn’t endure feeling too tight or inelastic. Many of the conditions that can lead to this feeling are easily treatable. If you’re worried about pain, discomfort, or bleeding during sex, see your doctor. Together, the two of you can find a reason and a solution.
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