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

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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68 thoughts on “Penis Size and Painful Sex. What’s a Wife to Do?

  1. JD says:

    From a mans point of view and from my personal experience i would like to say something to all of the women. If you have a man who really loves you but hurts you during sex, talk to him…tell him exactly what is going on. Tell him everytning. for one, if he doesnt almost burst in to tears after learning how he has hurt you then say goodbye. it should make him sick to learn that.
    I fell in love with my dream girl and things were off to a great start. Ishe was not my first by any means but she was the first i really loved. I was aware of my endowment but i was ignorant. I thought because she had pushed a 9 lb baby out that she would be more than accomodating to me. And the sex was amazing . At first. She was extremely vocal and showed no sighn of distress.afterwards she would want be left alone for a while and i thought nothing of it. Verry rapidly our sex dwindled to once a week. I noticed she seemed reluctant when i would come on to her, but when i asked wjat was wrong she insisted nothing or i have a uti or you knocked around my meuraina(birth control). She is an amazingly strong and proud woman. She was embarrased to say anything to me. All i could think was shees cheating. I didnt want to believe it but when its so common these days distrust began to set in. It let to arguments and her rightfully so getting verry upset with me. She thought i would see her differently or make fun of her or something. She loved enough to hide the pain and i was acusing her of shopping around. What a jack a**. After i knew she wasnt i began to start researching. Still she didnt tell me but as soon as she would orgasm i was told to hurry up and finish. So i did but that meant faster and harder. When i looked into her eyes my heart sunk. All thoughts of intamacy were gone. All i could think is im a scumbag. How did i miss this. How did i tramuatize the woman i had every intention of spending my life with.. i know this is my fault but i wish she could have told me right away. We could have explored many new options. We ended breaking up but stayed friends and talked every day. We became best friends and slowly began reintroducing sex into her life. She is still working to overcome the” tramua” with a counselor and i am always looking for new ways to help. It still makes me sick to my stomach to know im to blame. Every day i make it my mission to treat her like the queen she is.. I hope someone with this same problem can you find this useful. Don’t leave your man in the dark. If hes a man worth having he will be disturbed to know you are suffering. All i can say is please……Communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate communicate oh yeah and communicate!

  2. Rookie says:

    Hello, I’m getting married this year. My fiancé and I are waiting until marriage to have sex and we are both virgins. But we’ve done everything else but sex, without pain, except for maybe a few times. Our wedding night is something I’m both excited about and worried about. I consider myself a small girl and consider him to be fairly big. I definitely fear pain, he said he even thought about it. And it probably doesn’t help that he is completely new to this too and may not know what he’s doing and how not to hurt me. I don’t even wear tampons because I have trouble with them. So I can’t imagine what a penis, which is much larger than a tampon, would be like. I’m hoping that there’s not something wrong with me and that everything will go ok. Hoping for some words of encouragement, thanks.

  3. Julie Sibert says:

    @Rookie — first of all, congrats on the upcoming wedding and, more importantly, on the marriage! Thank you for taking the time to comment and share, as I think your concern is a common one.

    As you get closer to your wedding date, I would encourage you to read a book together about sexual intimacy. There are several ones out there, including mine “Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage.” I’m not trying to push my book, but rather trying to equip you to go into marriage with solid knowledge and helpful insights on how to cultivate sexual intimacy that is satisfying to both of you.

    Definitely get a full gynecological exam before your wedding. Express to your doctor your honest concerns about pain during sex and ask the doctor if, after examining your vagina, they see or feel any reasons that you couldn’t have a healthy normal sexual connection with your husband.

    Generally speaking, what makes sex comfortable for a wife begins with plenty of foreplay, which readies your body for sex. Arousal usually happens easier for a man, but for a woman, it can take lots of touching, kissing, emotionally connecting and so forth. This helps your body relax, as well as it helps the natural process of your vaginal walls secreting lubricant that makes it easier to receive your husband’s penis.

    Another important suggestion: Don’t try to read each other’s minds and don’t assume each knows what to do next. Making love is a learned art whereby you both need to take responsibility for communicating what feels good and what doesn’t. I cannot emphasize this enough… you both need to have the freedom to say “that feels so good” or “that’s not quite right” or “that hurts” or “slow down” or “let’s try a different position”, etc., — all with a kind and loving tone. This kind of intentional communication is what creates safety, affection, affirmation, and phenomenal sexual connection.

    Be patient with yourself. Look at sexual connection as a journey you build and improve and perfect over time. You don’t have to figure everything out the first night or the first week or the first month, etc.

    Also, I highly recommend an artificial lubricant to help as your vagina stretches and becomes more accustomed to having his penis inside you. There are GREAT artificial lubricants available. I did a couple posts on my site, so if you search “lubricants,” you will find those posts. One lubricant I really recommend is Sliquid. That one you would need to order. One that you can find over the counter that also is good is Astroglide. Try a few different ones to find one you really like.

    If after all of the above and several attempts to enjoy sex, you’re still having pain, then I encourage you to see a gynecologist again for further insights on why sex may be painful.

    Lastly, if you do have struggles at first, please please don’t give up. Don’t withdraw or decide to not have sex. Instead, become partners in problem solving. Continue to nurture your friendship and your affection and search for reasons or insights on what could make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.

    I hope this is helpful! Congrats! Contact me again and let me know how you are doing once you are married and having sex!

  4. Roberta says:

    Unfortunately myself and my man have been getting really close physically. We haven’t had sex, or oral sex, but last night it progressed to touching each other over our clothes and so I discovered he’s very well endowed and it scares me. It really scares. Before I became a Christian I had a boyfriend who was very big and I used to get really bad abdominal pain and bleed after sex. The pain was that bad I would get dizzy and feel like I was going to be sick and pass out. I didn’t enjoy sex at all. To be honest it was an awful relationship all round. He wasn’t a very nice guy. I went to the doctor and got referred to the hospital. When I eventually got an appointment we’d split up (only 7 month relationship thank goodness), and consultant told me I had cancerous cells so made another appointment to get them burnt out and went for the procedure which wasn’t nice at all. Neither were the after effects. There was other stuff that happened but that’s all you need to know. I think I’m only realising now how traumatic that time was because I came home from my boyfriend’s started crying. Thing is I can’t tell him because he won’t tell me much about his life before becoming a Christian and he doesn’t want to hear about mine, especially not about an ex. He was into drink and drugs so I kind of understand but that means I can’t tell him. He’s such a lovely guy though. I love him and he loves me.

  5. Julie Sibert says:

    @Roberta… I think it is a huge red flag that you and your boyfriend think there are things you cannot discuss either about your past or his past or how you are feeling about things in your relationship currently.

    If you believe this relationship has the potential to lead to marriage, then you both need to be able to be completely open and honest.

    If you don’t believe it has potential, then what are you doing with him?

    Lastly, I encourage you to stop any kind of sexual activity. Even though you have not had intercourse, it sounds from what you have described that you are still engaging in touch that clearly is sexually arousing. That kind of contact not only is not God’s desire for you in a dating relationship, it also makes it difficult for you and your boyfriend to be objective and clear minded about the foundation of the relationship.

    I know this sounds harsh, but the reality is that if you don’t resolve these communication and boundary difficulties before marriage, things are not going to be easier in marriage.

    I know you say you are worried about penis size, but I think you should be more concerned about whether your relationship is being built on a firm foundation.

  6. Rookie says:

    Hi Julie,

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see your response to my first comment from almost​ 3 months ago until now. I appreciate your words! Seeing a gynecologist is something​ that really disturbs me. So I’ll be honest, it probably won’t happen. I’ll wait and see how things go first. And if there is pain or any other problem, THEN I’ll consult a doctor afterwards. I don’t want to go through an uncomfortable doc visit beforehand, and have it be all for nothing (if the sex turns out perfectly fine). I’m sure most of my issues in life are my own mind games anyways and over-thinking.

    Our family has never been big on going to the doctor’s anyway, of any kind. When I went into 7th grade, a physical was mandatory. They never told us however that a genital examination was going to happen though! The lady did it spur of the moment and I hated it. Everything down there was ok, she just said there was slight redness, and I’m sure it was temporary.

    I’ll definitely find a good, and hopefully natural, lubricant.

    And my nickname on here is Rookie because I’m a virgin and new to this! Lol. Wedding isn’t for 4 and a half more months. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks 🙂 By the way I saw that a couple days after my original post you posted an article on this exact topic. Of new marriages and fear of pain. Thanks for that 🙂

  7. A says:

    We have been married 33 years and it was a big worry for us before we married. I’m a 9 and she is a size very small. If we would of had some good advise sexually before we got married we could of saved our selves a lot of pain for both of us. I always wished we would of started with oral sex. I wish we could of taken a nice shower together and then shaved each other and started with oral stimulation. It’s a lot of fun. Trust me on this.

  8. A says:

    If we could do it all over agian. We were Rookies that should of done things differently Way back when we became man and wife. It very honouring to be virgins at marriage. But you are two unique people with very unique sizes and shapes. Every couple needs to spend lots of time together discovering each other’s sexual needs with no shame what so ever. My wife is so small I can hardly get my pinky in dry. Today we never need to use lube. My penis is a little too big for her mouth but she knows how to handle it today. We have sex rules I always giver oral sex first and she love to orgasm that way. I can get into her after she orgasms. She will always give me treats by letting me ejaculate any where I please. I mean any where. She has learned to enjoy my semen and I make lots

  9. Charles says:

    Or you can do what my wife has done, which is to stop having sex altogether, not be willing to discuss it with anyone including a doctor and tell your husband it’s his problem not yours.

  10. Yvette chabala says:

    JD your experience has really helped me to realize that my man still needs me, regardless of his wellbeing. I wanted to leave my husband for nothing. It’s good have learnt that we need to talk & find solution to that. I enjoy any kind of cuddling, but when it comes to having sex, I have him a lot. We will surely look in to that. Thanks for sharing yo experience so helpful to me.

  11. Tara Langdale says:

    VuVa Magnetic Vaginal dilators work very well for painful sex. Saved my sex life with my husband because I have Vulvodynia.

  12. Tenn says:

    My husband is over 8″ and there were many times that it became painful for me. What I have learned over time is 1. Forplay helps, 2. To find the right angle from the start. There are angels that completely turn pain to pleasure 3. To relax the inner muscle 4. To think of how much I love being with my husband and how he to me is the sexiest man alive.

    Hope this helps!

  13. Tenn says:

    I failed to add 5. Lubricant

    Overall from my experience I suggest finding the right angle and position once found —just relax and enjoy being with the man you love.

  14. A says:

    After rereading the last comments and since body genital size was a huge obstacle in our early married life I come to the conclusion to write once more. Knowing rookie is now married I’m hoping all is well. We were rookies 34 years ago. We look at each other now and say I wish we knew then what we know now. We really believed sex for us would never work. We are oral sex junkies and love it. It would of been great birth control in the early years. I don’t know if there are any other couples as incompatible body wise for sex as us. But I’ll just assum rookie and hubby are as incompatible as we are. Dont sweat it if only you could see how extreem our genital sizes are in size and shape. We have never had rear entry sex and lub sex is just not the same.

  15. D says:

    I am at a crossroad. I am either to stay married or divorce. I am out of options and so morbidly depressed. I am small my husbands well above average in girth. I feel so sore after sex. We have been married for 4 years and we have not have one amazing sexual encounter, it has been painful from the start. I have been for an op, psychology, sexology, Physio, dialators, muscle relaxant pills you name it… even motherlessly drunk but to no avail. I had a previous sexual encounter and it was great not painful at all and now, with this man I am always either torn or very raw to the extent that I have to left alone for a week to recover. I have fallen out of love and struggling to get aroused by him… we are still meant to be honeymoon phasing and I can’t think of anything worse but to be even close to him. He’s an incredible person and so calm and patient. But I have gotten to a point where I can’t anymore. I feel sex is important. I know at our vows we said for better and worst sickness and health and we vowed that before Christ… but this? I have to therefore live a sexless marriage for the rest of my life?? What is worse??? Single forever or sexless marriage forever. I am shackled to this marriage… my happiness is gone… I am 31 with natural sexual urges that end up in pain and anger. I hate my life. I don’t want it anymore, I am at my pits, can’t get anymore depressed, I want to die. I need someone to help me or else I can’t see the point anymore. People are at my throat saying you can’t get divorced because of the promise you made in front of God and I get that! But then my marriage is the closest thing to hell… please can someone say something anything to help me

  16. Julie Sibert says:

    @D … thank you for your comment, as I can tell you are very discouraged. I ask, though, that you not harm yourself. While I do think intercourse is important, I am wondering if in the meantime you and your husband can focus on sexually pleasing each other without penetration? Have you considered this? Oral sex, use of hands, use of sexual toys? It’s not to say you give up on finding solutions to make intercourse possible, but in the meantime, I wonder if there are ways you can reconnect with your husband and experience sexual satisfaction (both of you).

  17. A says:

    So saddened to read this D. My wife is very small and I am extreemly large. She is probably in the smallest 1% and I’m in the biggest .5% a huge issue in our early marriage. It’s taken 25 years to get this issue resolved. But we had our children by a miracle. I’m not going to write more but please understand its worth staying faithfully.

  18. Prefer Anonymous says:

    One woman’s trauma is another woman’s desire. I am on the opposite end of this issue on penis size and I have to say bigger is absolutely better – for women without emotional and abuse trauma or actual physical issues and those who are fearful because of lack of experience or the general guilt trip laid in women about sex being dirty.

    And even in those cases I would say bigger is still better because it is easier to overcome our fear of size, our poor socialization about the shamefulness of sex and even abuse trauma in the hands of a loving husband who takes the time to make love and explore how to ensure pleasure occurs than it is to try to get pleasure from a man whom you can’t even feel inside of you. And yes, there is more that penile pleasure to be had during sex and a woman can orgasm without being penetrated. And yes clitoral gymnastics while a penis is inside of you can go a long way. But when your only sexual pleasure is reduced to everything except enjoying your husband bring you to orgasm with just his penis inside of you that is not so easily overcome.

    I am divorcing after 25 years because despite all the foreplay and willingness for my husband to engage in oral sex I find no visual nor tactile pleasure in his penis, which is barely 3 inches long when not erect and about the same in girth. And barely 5 when erect.

    Perhaps if I was a Virgin when we married and had nothing to compare this would not be an issue. I guess that is why the wisdom of God truly is wise in respect to waiting for marriage. But unfortunately I did not believe in God before marriage and engaged in sex and enjoyed lovers with different sizes that I find both visually and sexually pleasing.

    Foreplay is beautiful. Oral sex is great but if that is all I ever will have to have pleasure I may as well masturbate and do a better job myself.

    Sorry if that upsets any men who are small in size. But I guess those men who know they are below average size should make a point of remaining virgins and finding virgins to marry or woman so scared of sex or who have pain issues during sex. Because for women who are otherwise healthy emotionally, and have no physical pain issues a good size or large size penis is a must. And once we get passed baby bearing stages of life our sexual interest generally gears up. So sex does actually gain far more importance than we keep being led to believe. Sex may not be the glue for marriage but it is a hell of a lot of what keeps intimacy able to bend and move to address growth and issues in marriage. Without it those issues become bigger mountains.

    And ultimately it is the mountains caused by lack of sexual satisfaction that will lead to divorce.

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