Using Pleasure to Overcome Pain During Sex
By Dr. Rose Schlaff, DPT, WHC, IF
"It's normal for sex to be uncomfortable or even painful, right?" NO!! Although nearly 75% of women experience pain during sex at some point in their lives, it is not normal.

I've talked to so many women who have experienced pain during sex for years and have either hidden it because they felt like they were the only ones having issues or have actually reached out and talked to their doctors and their doctors have told them to "just relax and have a glass of wine." To any woman reading this that ever had a medical professional tell you to 'just relax and have a glass of wine,' please let me personally apologize - your pain is real and there are many reasons for pain during sex. Today we're talking about some of the science of pain and what you can do to decrease pain and increase pleasure.

Your first chakra (root chakra) is located at the perineum, halfway between the anus and the genitals and is responsible for your sense of safety, security, trust, and self-protection. When we do not feel safe, our body will go to great lengths to protect us. Our muscles often guard to protect us, creating tension/stress in our pelvic floors, just like we often feel in our shoulders.

Any time we experience pain or discomfort, it is your brain and body working together to support and keep you safe. Although it can often feel like your body is working against you, your body is on your side, working to protect you.
Did you know that simply learning about the science of pain can decrease your experience of it? 
Pain is generated by the brain (but your pain is real, it is NOT in your head). It is a way to keep you safe and it is completely context dependent. Pain is the result of fear and the perceived danger at any given moment. Sometimes the brain decides there is danger, even when there isn’t any which can result in chronic pain. Emotions can also impact pain because it can impact whether we feel safe. Fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and stress can all make you feel more vulnerable and less safe which will increase the likelihood of your brain interpreting non-threatening events as dangerous and producing pain to protect you from that danger.

So how can we utilize our understanding of the brain to decrease pain and discomfort during sex?

Try these tips below:
Pleasure Inhibits Pain

  • What makes you feel good in and out of the bedroom?

  • What do you like to see, smell, touch, taste?

  • For me, I experience pleasure when I:

  • See: the ocean
  • Smell: lavender
  • Touch: pet my cat
  • Taste: a perfectly ripe watermelon

  • In the bedroom, your vibrator can be a great way to switch up sensation:

  • Try utilizing vibration at your inner thighs and lower abdomen, see if you can find any area that feels good.

Create a Sense of Safety However You Can

  • I often have my patients create a red light, yellow light, green light list for in and out of the bedroom.

  • GREEN light items are things you pretty much always enjoy:

  • ex. shoulder rubs, hugs, time in nature, music, dancing

  • YELLOW light items are things you sometimes enjoy but not always: 

  • For yellow items, notice under what context you feel you enjoy them and when you do not.
  • ex. sometimes cooking feels fun, but not when I'm exhausted. Sometimes I enjoy when we kiss, but not when I feel pressure that it will lead to sex.

  • RED light items are things you never enjoy, to be avoided:

  • For many of my patients who experience pain or discomfort during sex, they often place penetration on this list.
  • I recommend that you take any red light items off the table for at least 30 days.

When you have a discussion with your partner about removing or pausing red light items, it can create an increased sense of safety. You may find that your yellow light items feel less pressured, more fun and safe, and they may move to green.

Utilize resources, like the oh-nut, if you are continuing to engage in penetration.
Check out this stretch for additional pelvic floor muscle relaxation.
  • Use your hands to gently hold both feet up in the air

  • If you cannot reach your feet, grab what you can reach!

  • This position places the pelvic floor muscles on stretch

  • Hold for 10 deep breaths

  • Make sure you can feel your belly expand into your thighs

  • Visualize breathing all the way down into your pelvic floor
The CTS staff is fully vaccinated against COVID-19!
The health and well-being of our clients and staff are top priority.
March is #NationalNutritionMonth, a great time to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes!

A good rule of thumb? Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day! 🍎🥕🍋🥑🐟🍆

🔹 Include healthful foods from all food groups.
🔹 Hydrate healthfully.
🔹 Learn how to read Nutrition Facts Panels.
🔹 Avoid distractions while eating.
🔹 Take time to enjoy your food.

Follow us on social media for more nutrition tips all month long. 🥗 / (858) 457-8419 / Open Monday-Friday 7am-7pm