Penis Size and Painful Sex. What’s a Wife to Do?

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

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I have heard from a few readers who have courageously asked me to address an issue that most women wouldn't even want to discuss with their closest girlfriend.

I also happen to have a friend who experiences the same struggle and has talked to me about it (I guess this is the benefit of having a friend like me who will talk about anything sexual).

Here is what they are wondering:

What can a wife do when the large size of her husband's penis makes sex painful for her?

For all the locker room bravado that would lead us to believe that "bigger-is-better," if you spend any amount of time listening to what wives think on the subject, you will discover that we as women are not nearly concerned about penis size as men seem to be.

But when the largeness of a penis is actually getting in the way of an enjoyable sexual experience for a wife, then size ironically becomes more of a detriment than an attribute.

Sorry guys.

I'm just calling it like it is.

I should start by doling out my standard disclaimer -- I'm not a doctor, counselor or sex therapist.

I'm simply a wife trying to offer good insight and encouragement.

I also want to add that sometimes what is going on during painful sex is that a wife and/or couple has unresolved issues with past sexual abuse, relational betrayal and so forth.  If you think the real root cause of your physical pain is that you have yet to heal from past struggles, please seek a professional counselor and resources to be able to move forward in your intimacy.

Let's say, though, that there aren't abuse or relational issues.

When a husband's penis size is causing pain for his wife, what should a married couple do?

Here are five things to consider:

1. Sex isn't supposed to be painful.

Sure, most women will attest that the first time she has sex, and maybe even for short while thereafter, sex can be painful and uncomfortable.

BUT, a general rule is that God designed the penis and vagina to fit together, regardless of size. With proper arousal, the vagina is designed to secrete fluids that aid in lubrication and the muscles are designed to stretch.

If sex is painful, it could be that a couple needs to engage in more foreplay to better ready her body for receiving her husband's erect penis.

If pain still seems to be an issue even with plenty of foreplay, consider...

2. Different positions and/or artificial lubricants.

A change of positions may make sex more comfortable, such as the wife being on top where she can have more control over the pace and angle of movement.

A husband entering his wife's vagina from behind may also be more comfortable (some wives think this position is more arousing as well).

As a wife, you may need to coach your husband on how to move within you.  If he is thrusting too hard or too fast and you are simultaneously experiencing pain, it will be almost impossible for you to not tense more, which just will lead to more pain.

If lubrication seems to be an issue, there are great over-the-counter lubricants that you can purchase at places like Walgreen's, Wal-Mart, etc.

I think Astroglide is one of the best, but KY has a variety of ones as well. If you are using condoms as birth control, be sure to read the packaging on any lubricant to see how it may affect the effectiveness of a condom.

What if even with plenty of lubrication or a change of position, pain is still an issue:

3. Definitely talk to your gynecologist and possibly even a urologist.

There can be actual physical conditions that make sex painful. It may be difficult for a wife to discern if the pain is because of her husband's penis size or because of something else entirely.

Don't just guess or suffer in silence.

The only way to find out for sure is to have an open and thorough conversation with your doctor.

If your doctor is not taking this seriously or seems to give you over-simplified answers that really offer no solution, find a different doctor.

I cannot emphasize this enough...

4. Be your own advocate.

Research and explore all possibilities.  No question is off limits when talking to your health care professional, even if you feel embarrassed to ask or embarrassed to describe what you are experiencing.

In addition to speaking with your doctor, consider exploring the websites of The Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders and the National Vulvodynia Association.

These sites are dedicated to helping women who experience vaginal pain, particularly during sex.  There are actual conditions that can cause pain, and these sites may point you to valuable resources.

Your doctor may also be able to talk to you about vaginal dilators, which aid in stretching the vaginal opening.

At any rate, I highly encourage you as a wife to remember this:

5. Do not carry this burden alone.

If you are suffering pain during sex, your husband needs to be part of the solution, not a bystander on the sidelines waiting for you to dole out information to him.

Husbands, please go to the doctor with your wife (if she is open to this).

Please read the information she is finding.

And by all means, please communicate to her that you are lovingly committed to helping her enjoy sexual intimacy.

She may be feeling like she is failing as a wife.  She may think she is to "blame" for the sexual struggles.   She needs your reassurance.

If you are a wife who has resigned yourself to simply enduring painful sex, I implore you to not get stuck in that mindset.  Satan would like nothing more than for you to have a marriage that is marred by mediocre, dreaded or non-existent sexual intimacy.

You, your husband and your marriage are worth finding resolutions. You may think his large penis is the cause of the pain, but the issue may be more complex.

If you want to read more insights on this, consider this incredible post on pain and pleasure.

If you have personal experience in this area, please comment to share your insights and encouragement.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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23 Responses to
“Penis Size and Painful Sex. What’s a Wife to Do?”

  • Annonymous says: February 23rd, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    If it is painful in some positions, but not others, and you are also experiencing intermittent abdominal pain DEFINITELY see a gyno or urologist. If could mean other issues... in many cases, easily solved issues. (some, not so much, but good to catch early.) Either way- GO!

  • Brea says: February 23rd, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    When we were first married I had a horrible time with sex being painful. This lasted for about 6 months. My GYN said that I just needed to be more aroused and sent me home. So I did some research. Turns out the birth-control I was on (Depo Shot) is known to cause problems. So I didn't go back for the next shot. Two weeks later we could finally have sex without me crying. We have been married for almost 2 years now and although we still have to be careful (I'm pretty tiny and hurt easily) it's so very much better than it was those first few months.

  • anonymous says: February 24th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    i often experence pain during intercourse unfortunately. it's mostly when it goes in too deep and while its an ego boost to hubby that he can "tap bottom" (mind u he feels bad that it hurts and doesn't do it on purpose) it completely ruins the mood for me :( its gotten bad enough lately that i'm hesitant to initiate sex bc i have to be super ready for it not to hurt...

  • J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says: February 24th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    This is a great topic to cover because those women who struggle with penis size and pain may feel that they have nowhere to turn. Despite the male notion that being hung like a wildebeast is a good thing, not so much from the wife perspective, especially if she is early on in marriage. I agree with your tips and believe you did a wonderful job with the subject matter.

  • Clark says: February 25th, 2012 at 8:54 am

    From a mans point of view, and after being married for 28 years, I have found it is very important to take the necessary time to prepare the women to receive the penis. First and foremost, is that the women needs to be lubricated. If there is enough foreplay, the women might create enough lubrication, but to be sure, I always will check to see if there is enough lubrication, and if there is not, I will add some. I think it is the mans responsibility to make sure his wife is adequately lubricated before intercourse. I also learned that Virgin Grape Seed oil http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XF1ZDY/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details is probably the best natural form of lubrication. I have used many different kinds, and grape seed oil is by far the best I have used, and it also does not cause UTI's. I think atleast 15 minutes of foreplay is also very important, and that the wife should have atleast one orgasm before intercourse. If there is enough foreplay, and lubrication, it is much easier to give a clitoris orgasm. One orgasm will do wonders for helping to prepare the wife's vangina for a penis. After one orgasm, the vagina becomes bigger and more ready to receive the penis. In the case where the size of the penis may be a problem, the man should take about 5 minutes and massage the vagina with lubricated fingers before intercourse. After I learned to do those 3-4 things, I never once heard complaints from my wife when having intercourse. If a women is still having pain after that, then she definately needs to get checked by a doctor. I apologize if I was to graphic, but those 3-4 things are so very important in helping the women have a great experience during intercourse.

  • Paul H. Byerly says: February 26th, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Julie - Thanks for this; it's more common than most would guess.

    Aside from those who have real pain, many women suffer discomfort and can't really enjoy intercourse.

    Circumference is more likely a problem than length. Aside from lube and good foreplay, slowing down will help many couples. He should enter slowly, and be prepared to be still for a big after fully inserted. The ability of the vagina to lengthen and widen is not infinite, but it is fairly great if given the chance. Pain will stop and even reverse the process, so it needs to be avoided at all costs.

    If he's very wide, she will be sore the next morning far more easily. Regular careful sex can help with this, but until she can deal with it better they would do well to keep intercourse short.

    Lastly, arousal dulls our pain receptors, so she may not feel pain, or not feel the full effect of pain during - only to be unhappy hours later. Learn to know your/her limits and don't push past that.

  • Liv says: February 27th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I struggled with what I thought was this issue for years. My husband and I have been married for 12 years now and for the longest time, and 2 babies born vaginally, I thought that he was just too big for me. There was a stretch of time where we simply avoided the whole situation and didn't initiate any kind of sexual play with each other at all and although I felt sad about it I didn't know what else to do. In the last month or so I've been able to make some mental changes that have better equipped me to take him in and also have alerted him to the fact that he can't just come on in right away - I need longer to prepare through foreplay.

  • Shell says: March 6th, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Glad to hear I am not the only one who has this issue! Feels good to know there are others!

  • Painful Sex: What You Need to Know | Intimacy in Marriage says: April 8th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    [...] have blogged about this before, most recently in regard to penis size and painful sex.  My fellow blogger J of Hot Holy and Humorous has also addressed this topic of painful sex (a [...]

  • Ronnie says: April 10th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    The first time my 5' 1" wife saw me naked, she pretty much said "no way", I am longer than average. She also doesn't like getting "bumped". An real easy answer is use one of the stretchy rings around the penis at the right spot. This work great, I highly recommend it.

  • reh says: December 9th, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Thanks for donating your much time in this holy cause. really help ful.

  • reh says: December 9th, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Really Helpful. My wife felt pain at some angle. But atanother she is much comfortable.

  • Water Is Cold says: December 26th, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Sometimes, it does matter. After 18 years of marriage, the last decade of which has been almost sexless, I found out that my wife has had an affair with her generously endowed BF from before she met me. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship, but the sex amazing. When we got together, she was willing to sacrifice the sex (my smaller package didn't do it for her) for the fact that we got along so harmoniously , and I was better "marriage material".
    Don't get me wrong - I've always known I was more of a compact model. She wasn't my first, after all, and I'd been set straight by a former girlfriend. But, I'd always believed in I could make up for it in skill and tried to develop my other techniques. I thought I had it with her, but I guess not.
    I think it was a sort of mid life crisis, because she actually looked him up after her 41st birthday. She longed for that amazing sex, figured she'd have him as a mattress mate, and still keep our house together. A best of both worlds, so to speak, since he's still a bit adolescent in his overall life philosophy.
    Long story short, the affair was discovered, it has wreaked havoc on hour family. Our daughter failed her first semester at college and is basically angry at both of us. Wife is remorseful, and wants to make amends to us, and is willing to forego the amazing sex with John for family harmony. When I explained how hurt I was at being forced into celibacy for the past 15 years, she even offered me 3 times a week to make up for it.
    Yay. I feel so blessed. Duty sex, knowing that it is really no more than a penance for her. What more could a man want?

  • Julie Ann says: December 30th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Leave her!! You deserve SOOO much better!!!

  • Michael Jay says: January 1st, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Great post.

    My wife and I have had a lot of problems due to my very large penis. I hope its okay to go into some "gory" detail because I have some experiences that might help others.

    In particular, the thickness (or girth) of my penis has been a major problem. I actually really do not like my penis because it is needlessly large. Even at over 30 years of age, I am teased about it by some friends. I can't wear normal slacks or jeans without being obscene and have to use compression shorts to keep it from being obvious at work. And the problems with my wife sexually have been disheartening. I really wish I had a normal sized penis.

    My wife and I had resorted to basically only doing non-penetration sex like oral sex and hand jobs. When we first met, she was surprised by my size and we worked our way to intercourse by foreplay and using fingers on her to prepare her. After about two months, we tried intercourse using KY Liquid lube after a lot of foreplay and slowly and with some pain I was able to penetrate her. After the initial shock, as she got more aroused, we were able to have sex. It was amazing!

    A few hours later, she was in a lot of pain from it and was out if it for another day. I felt awful about it. We tried a few more times and if I just barely penetrated her, it would be okay, but it was not really fun or pleasurable sex for either of us. Also, over a few attempts, it actually became impossible to enter her vagina all together. As I was about to try to enter her, her face would scrunch up and it was like a wall inside preventing entry.

    After that we looked up what was going on. I knew from past experience that it could take time and work for someone to get used to my penis, but had never experienced it becoming less able to take it. There is not much information on this out there and it was hard to find. That's when we came across the term "vaginismus".

    Vaginismus is apparently a condition where just prior to penetration, the woman experiences a muscle spasm that closes off the vaginal walls. This is an unconscious reaction due to the anticipation of pain. It made a lot of sense! The treatment was to use "dialators" to get her used to penetration and prepared for my penis.

    Dialators for this purpose are sold. Basically, they are like dildos of increasing size, starting with a shorter thin one and working up to a longer, thicker one. (We also bought a nice vibrating dildo. It made it a bit more fun.)

    We also tried a new lubricant, a natural organic lube called "Good Clean Love". Thus stuff is amazing and highly recommended.

    The vibrator and dialators helped immensely. At first the smallest one would not even go in, but very quickly we were able to go to the largest size without pain for her. At that point, although my penis is much larger than the expanded, she wanted to try intercourse. It worked! Slowly and with the lube, we were able to have sex again. And this time she did not have that pain hours later.

    I know I'm going on, but one more thing. At that time, about half of my penis was entering her. If I went too far in, she would have a shock of pain. It didn't feel like her cervix was being hit, but something else. We went to her Obgyn to see if she had endometriosis, but found out instead that she has polycystic ovary and ovarian cyst on one side. The doctor recommended prenatal vitamins for the hormone imbalances (which are another topic all together) and trying sexual positions that would avoid brushing that side.

    Massive, massive difference once we found that out. We figured out positions where my penis would not hit that area inside her. Missionary and her on top facing me work great!

    Now, I'm not saying we have the perfect sex life as a result. Far from it. But we are able to have mostly pain free sex finally, and that is a huge step. Any intercourse involves using her vibrator, lube, a lot of foreplay and the right position.

    Hope something in here can help someone else. I still wish I had a smaller penis. I feel like it would be a much simpler solution. And I could wear stylish jeans!

  • JulieSibert says: January 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    @Michael Jay... thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I do believe you've given great information and that many could benefit from it. It is encouraging that you and your wife did not give up and were committed to exploring possibilities, talking with doctors, etc.

    Thank you!!

  • Michael Jay says: January 1st, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you Julie! I hope it does help!

    One thing I learned in this experience is that if both of us are involved, it makes a big difference. Learning about vaginismus and the ovarian cyst were keys to repairing our sex life. There's nothing I can do about my penis size, but there were solutions to these other issues.

  • mr bill says: March 7th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I married a virgin and our marriage ended over painful sex. We tried Dr's lotions and creams. Nothing helped and she cried like a baby every time.
    I hit bottom with every women I had sex with. We tried spacers of hard foam rubber and more.
    I moved on after the divorce and had problem with other women. I reverted back to the spacers. It allowed me full contact while not banging her cervex.
    Wife of over 20 years does not need them. She has heightened desire as I do. We worked and things moved and shifed to allow full use.
    I catch her off guard at times now and she jumps away. With position and hard work we have great sex life. Helped much after our 2nd child. She feels better at 40 than she ever did at 20. Bigger is not always better, thats a fact. Several women told this and after told it would never be spoken again.
    I found out in rape and sex offence class, no pleasure points beyond 3 inches of a normal vagina. Only pain.

  • MarySunshine says: August 4th, 2013 at 11:43 am

    If you take it slow, then over time it will not be an issue at all. My husband is extremely large. His penis is over 9 inches long and about 7 inches around. We have been together since we were in high school. It was difficult to have sex the first few times, but once I learned to relax, it was not a problem at all and felt very good. Twenty five years later, still no problem. The only time we ever have an issue is if he hits my cervix. This was a problem as a teenager, but he never tries to go deep now. We prefer doggie style and me on top so I can control the depth.

  • Crystal says: October 10th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I got married and was still a virgin at 20, my husband was the only man I had as a partner. He was killed in a car accident 6 years ago. I am now 43 and newly married. He is the 2nd man that I have been with. My problem is he's to big for me. We waited until we were married and had sex for the 1st time our wedding night and it was more painful than my 1st time. He gets right on my cervix and it's times it feels like he's going through it and into my uterus. It was the worse pain I have ever felt and I had abdominal pain for several days afterwards. It's been 2 weeks since we had sex and I have no idea how to handle it.

  • JulieSibert says: October 10th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    @Crystal... thank you for comment. First, I am so sorry about the death of your first husband. How tragic. I'm deeply sorry.

    As for your current marriage, please do not give up hope. I am not a doctor, but I will offer a few suggestions. Maybe you have already tried some of these, but thought I would mention anyway.

    Spend more time on foreplay to prepare your body for sex. If you are anticipating pain, then understandably you tense, which makes the pain worse. More foreplay may help you relax more and help intercourse go smoother.

    When your husband enters you, he needs to go slow... probably a lot slower than he wants to. But, if he goes slow and does not thrust as deep, I imagine you would experience less pain. He may never be able to thrust as deep as he would like.

    Also, possibly try different positions. If you are on top, you may be able to better control the rate and depth of penetration. You may also use more lubrication.

    Also, do not rule out going to your gynecologist for a complete physical to ensure there is no other reason for the pain you are experiencing during intercourse.

    If after trying a number of different ways to make intercourse less painful and it still is a struggle, continue to talk openly with your husband about creative ways you can still nurture your closeness and help each other experience pleasure. It would be so unfortunate if because of the struggles, one or both of you isolates and avoids intimacy.

    Keep the lines of communication and prayer open between the two of you... resolve that you will continue to work on this together and not let it diminish your marriage relationship.

  • Thickergirl says: January 20th, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Michael Jay, Thank you so much for your direct solutions. I am about to marry a man with an abnormally large girth to his penis. It does not comfortably fit inside of me. we use artificial lubrication to mix with my natural lubricants. He really likes enjoys middle of the night intercourse. I am NEVER ready and this is the MOST painful sex we have. I love him and want to enjoy sex with him. But the anticipated pain keeps my legs closed more often. I will definitely consider different positions. Are there any that are more comfortable that you can speak to?

  • Julie Sibert says: March 11th, 2014 at 7:52 am

    @Thickergirl…

    My encouragement would be that you and your fiancé stop having sex and that you wait till marriage to have sex. God's Word is clear on this matter because He wants what is best for you.

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