Never ‘Lay back and think of England.’If you find sex painful, read this:

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I’ve worked as a sexologist for over a decade now and it makes me so sad to hear women normalise painful sex and just ‘lay back and think of England’

If you haven’t heard of this saying it’s dated back to war times when British women were encouraged to endure unpleasant sexual experiences with their husbands by distracting themselves with thoughts of their duty to England. eye rolls

Instead of thinking of any duty I often wonder what a world would look like if more women brought focus to their pleasure and saw any pain as a direct message from the body that something needs to change.

I will go into how you can communicate and connect a partner into supporting you with pain in another blog but for now, if you are experiencing pain the first thing that’s useful to check into, is what is the cause of the pain.

This article will track some physical causes, hormonal causes and emotional causes.

Let’s start with physical. If you’re experiencing rawness, excessive heat or sharp pains it could be due to following, an infection such as bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infection, thrush or an STD. With all of these consult a doctor, check your PH balance or try drinking a lot of water and cranberry juice to flush out a UTI.

Other causes that are physical may include endometriosis, vaginismus or vaginal dryness. Each of these come with their own set of symptoms, I recommend looking into each of them but try addressing all the lifestyle issues first as I’ve often seen clients diagnosed with one these and then as soon as they do the ‘inner work’ and change their life they experience a miraculous healing.

  • Vaginal Dryness: A lack of sufficient lubrication can lead to discomfort or pain. This can be due to hormonal changes, medications, or insufficient arousal.
  • Infections: Conditions like yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or urinary tract infections can cause pain during intercourse.
  • Vaginismus: This is an involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles, which can make penetration extremely painful or impossible.
  • Endometriosis: This condition involves the growth of uterine lining tissue outside the uterus, which can cause pain during sex.


Hormonal issues are usually linked in with the feminine portals aka the transitions between maiden to mother and mother to crone.

  • Menopause: Declining estrogen levels during menopause can lead to vaginal dryness and thinning.
  • Breastfeeding: Hormonal changes during breastfeeding can reduce vaginal lubrication.
  • Childbirth: After childbirth, especially if there are tears or episiotomy, sex might be painful until the area heals completely.


This one is definitely worth more than a few bullet points. As someone who has sat with hundreds of women with pain during sex I can tell that more often than not it’s an emotional and psychological challenge that is either the whole cause or at least some of the cause that is lending to the psychical issues.

Stress and Anxiety – If you have a busy life or anything that impacts your nervous systems regulations on most days it’s going to take a little longer to unwind and come in the para sympathetic with a partner. Finding a way to slow down with yourself or self pleasuring with your partner can be a useful way to discover regulation before coming into connection.

Fear – Whether its pressure or your partner moving too fast, the yoni will not open under fear. Adrenaline based sex is fun but the body often needs to work towards that rather than jump right in and hope the adrenaline can numb out any pain.

Relational challenges – There are so many reasons why the body may be experiencing emotional disconnect or trust issues in the relationship. Some of this may be from unresolved conflict and sometimes the body has a difference in opinion to what the mind wants. Take time with your body, go slow and ask that your partner doesn’t take it personally. Your body deserves patience.

Sexual abuse or trauma from the past – I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have some form of sexual trauma whether its abuse or merely rejection. Trauma is stored in the body and the yoni can often be the place it hides. Taking time to unravel trauma will always pay off in the long run. When we have space between ourselves and what has happened to us grace emerges.

If you’re struggling with painful intercourse of any kind, compassion is the first point of call. Secondly understanding that there is 100% a way through this. It may not be comfortable or enjoyable but it can change. Every time you explore different ways to experience pleasure and open your mind to the many ways to enjoy sex things will feel brighter.

I honour you for your bravery in keeping on meeting this. Your pain will never define you.

May pleasure exude from your every cell and radiate from your face

With love


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