Question: I have a new girlfriend and she’s a virgin and has never been touched. Each time I try to touch her she says it hurts but she wants me to do it anyway. But I dont want to hurt her. How can i make her like it?Answer: When you say that your girlfriend is a virgin and has not been “touched”, and that you are trying to “touch” her, I am guessing that you mean that she has not yet had vaginal penetration/intercourse and that you and she are attempting some form of vaginal penetration (e.g., putting your fingers or penis inside her vagina). Is this correct? (If I am not understanding your question correctly, please let me know).
If, however, this is what you are asking, then I hope this information will be helpful to you and to her. Since this is a new sexual relationship – and her first time being sexual with someone in these ways – your girlfriend might find it helpful to spend time learning about sex. This can help both her and you, as it can help you both to feel more relaxed and prepared as you attempt to be sexual with each other. You did not mention your age, but if you and she are relatively young, then you may find it helpful to read S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College. If you are slightly older (say, older than 20 or 21) then you might prefer to read my fun new book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction, which contains tons of tips and techniques for more comfortable, pleasurable (and possibly orgasmic!) sex.
Learning about sex is helpful for several reasons. For one, books that highlight accurate information about our bodies and sexuality can provide longer, more detailed information about why sex sometimes hurt, painful sex conditions (such as vaginismus or vulvodynia that can make sex feel painful or impossible for women). Learning about sex can also help both women and men to feel more relaxed about their bodies and when women feel relaxed and ready to have sex, then sex may feel more comfortable and pleasurable (that’s because as a woman’s body relaxes, her muscles also relax which can make vaginal penetration for comfortable for her).
Learning about sex together also gives the two of you opportunities to talk about your ideas, expectations, concerns, and feelings related to sex. It might make it easier for you both to talk about to what extent you both feel ready to have sex with each other and why you want to have sex with each other. For example, sometimes people worry that if they don’t have sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend, that their partner will break up with them. Other times, they have sex out of loneliness, or because they are curious about what it feels like to have sex, or because they think it will make them a “grown up” or in order to become pregnant or fit in with their friends, or because they feel as though they are in love.
Spend time talking, too, about ways to reduce her and your worries about having sex. For example, if you are trying to have intercourse (penis in the vagina), have you talked about ways to reduce the risk of pregnancy, such as birth control methods like condoms or the birth control pill? Has she had a gynecological exam, which is recommended for women who are thinking about becoming sexually active? If you have had sex before, or if either of you have had oral sex, anal sex or vaginal sex, have you both been tested for sexually transmissible infections (STIs, also called STDs)?
Finally, once you have learned about sex and talked about your feelings and thoughts related to being sexual together, there are other – more physical – ways to make sex more comfortable/less painful. You can try using a water-based or silicone-based lubricant (I like Good Clean Love) to make sex feel more comfortable. If you are using condoms, the lubricant should be applied to the outside of the condom once it is already on your penis. If you are not using condoms for intercourse, then the lubricant would be applied to your penis. Whether or not you are using condoms, you can also apply lubricant to her vaginal opening. If you are not putting your penis in her vagina, but you are putting your fingers inside her vagina (called “fingering”), then lubricant can be applied to your fingers.
If you are having vaginal intercourse, she could try the Woman-on-Top position which would allow her to have more control over the depth of vaginal penetration (e.g., how deep your penis goes inside her vagina) and at what pace/rhythm. This may help her to feel as though she has more control over what sex feels like.
Also, try spending a long time in foreplay (perhaps at least 20 minutes, but maybe even longer, like 45 minutes) before trying to have penetration/intercourse. Try kissing each other and touching each other in ways that feel pleasurable to her, as this can help to build her arousal and encourage natural vaginal lubrication, which can make sex feel better and less painful for her. If sex continues to hurt her, or if the pain during intercourse is severe, she should check in with her healthcare provider; she and you can also learn more about vulvovaginal pain and a condition called vulvodynia through the web site of the National Vulvodynia Association.
The first time that a woman has sex, it often hurts or feels uncomfortable, and is sometimes even painful. However, it is less common for it to be very painful for a woman to have sex, and pain is something that people should always talk to their healthcare providers about. You are wise to take things slowly, to seek out information, and to trust your instinct and avoid doing anything that would hurt your girlfriend or cause her pain, even if she is asking to be touched. Perhaps over time, as you two continue to learn about sex, learn how to talk about it, and as she checks in with a healthcare provider to make sure that she doesn’t not have any physical conditions or medical problems that might be putting her at risk for pain, sex may come to feel more comfortable and enjoyable. Thank you for your question.
Learn more in Dr. Herbenick’s book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction, and follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor
[Photo by Cayusa and available via their Flickr photostream.]