Reader’s Request Fridays: When Sex Doesn’t Feel Good

February 21,2014

Welcome to Reader’s Request Fridays. Each Friday, I alternate between The Weekend Sexperiment and Reader’s Request Fridays. On Reader’s Request Fridays, I address one reader email. If you have a specific question you’d like answered or a topic you’d like covered, please email me. If you’re interested in counseling, call (415) 658-5738 or visit my Appointments page to schedule a consultation.

This week the question comes from Julia*, who writes, “I try to enjoy sex, but it never feels good. I’m recently married, and it scares me to consider a lifetime of bad sex. Is something wrong with me? Is there anything I can do?

[Special note to Julia: I tried to get in touch with you, but the email address you provided on my contact form doesn’t seem to work. Please get in touch with me so I can offer you more personalized feedback.]

There are a huge number of women out there whose sex lives are devoid of pleasure. I’m always thankful when I get a client with these kinds of complaints because I know with almost complete certainty that there’s something I can do to help her.

It saddens me to think of how many women are simply gritting their teeth, staring at the ceiling, and grimacing through uncomfortable, unpleasurable, or downright painful sex.

Even typing that sentence makes me want to cry. I want all women to be able to experience pleasurable sex, and I know that this dream is possible!

When Sex Doesn't Feel Good | Vanessa Marin Sex Therapy

Some women out there might think that bearing with uncomfortable sex isn’t that big of a deal. It’s up to each of you to make decisions for yourselves, but here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider:


You may be harming your body

One of the most frequent culprits of painful sex is a lack of proper vaginal lubrication. If you keep having sex and don’t do anything to rectify this issue, you can cause vaginal tears, which can lead to infections.


You may be hurting your psyche

There’s something soul-deadening about repeatedly forcing yourself to do something that causes you pain or discomfort.

Again, it’s up to each woman to take her own unique situation into consideration and make the decisions that feel best for her.

Sometimes it may feel generous and kind to throw your partner a bone when you’re not feeling particularly aroused.

Other times it may feel like you’re being coerced or guilted (by yourself or by your partner) into doing something you really don’t want to do.

I want to encourage you to honestly examine your own motivations.


You’re cheating yourself out of pleasure

You have an almost unlimited capacity for experiencing pleasure. Women’s bodies are exquisitely sensitive.

Our clitorises have double the nerve endings that penises have. Double! And think of how much smaller a clitoris is than a penis! Why deny yourself all of that potential?


Your partner probably doesn’t enjoy it either

It’s usually easy to tell when you’re being intimate with someone who isn’t enjoying themselves. You may think you’re being self-sacrificing for your partner, but odds are they’re not particularly enthralled with having sex with you while you lie there limply.

Sex is so much more fun when both partners are into it.


6 possibilities to consider

So what can you do if you don’t enjoy sex? Enter your info below to get your FREE guide on your best next steps! 


* Names have been changed for privacy


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!