Status painful sex


I’m 23 and have had sex five times since I was 20. It has hurt every time and leaves me feeling like I’m burning inside. I’ve met a guy I like and we’ve been on a few dates. I know he’s going to expect sex soon and I can’t face the disappointment again. Makes me want to give up dating.


Painful sex is very common in women and quite common in men. While pain varies along with its cause, yours sounds like it could be caused by lack of lubrication.

As our sex ed is based on biology and not on pleasure, all we really learn is that the penis goes in the vagina. But in order for that to be comfortable and pleasurable, the female needs time to lubricate. This creates a natural slipperiness so that the penis can glide in without hurting. As this information is not available, many couples attempt penetration the first time before they are physically ready, and it only takes a couple of painful experiences to set a pain expectation.

Once the expectation is there, the muscles at the entrance to the vagina can tighten to protect you from the expected pain. This can be the start of vaginismus when the muscles become so tight that penetration is agony or impossible. In your case it sounds like the pain is inside your vagina, and that burning feeling is often due to tiny little lesions caused by friction from the penis moving inside dry vaginal walls. You may feel wet on the outside but may not be wet enough on the inside.

Get yourself some really nice organic water-based lubrication such as Yes Yes Yes and experiment alone first. Take your time and breath slowly and deeply. Apply plenty of lube to your fingers and slowly start playing at the entrance to your vagina using circular motions. Once you feel ready, try slipping a well lubed finger inside. If that feels okay, add more lube and try two then three fingers. If there’s no pain during or after, the problem has probably been lack of lubrication.

In porn and most movies, penetration happens almost instantly and the things modelled as arousing may not be in real life. So the more you explore on your own and learn what you like, the easier it will be to tell a partner. If they don’t want to slow down and give you time that is a reflection of their knowledge and skills. There’s nothing wrong with you.

While many women lubricate naturally with enough stimulation, all women will need a good lube at some stage. Just because you’re turned on in your head doesn’t always mean you’ll lubricate. Some contraceptives are notorious for killing natural lubrication, as are anti-histamines. Learn what you need to feel really turned on and don’t settle for a partner who’s only interested in his own pleasure!



Status lubrication


You talk about good lubrication a lot but what’s the difference between all the different kinds and how do I choose?


Great question. Your lube is a personal choice and there isn’t one lube that everyone will love. Here’s a brief outline of the types of lubes available and what you can expect. If you care about what you put in your body and try to buy organic, then an organic lube makes sense as your vagina is as absorbent as your mouth.

If you’re prone to thrush or UTI’s, avoid lubes loaded with sugar or fructose. Manufacturers seem to be copping on to the need for non-sugar products for those prone to yeast infections but also for diabetics and those watching their blood sugar levels.

Aspartame is an alternative sweetener often used so if you’re okay with that, it’s a good alternative to sugar. Glycerine is similar to sugar and is used to add slip to water-based lubes. While it may not act like sugar, some people have reactions to it.

Lubes sold for oral play are usually flavoured and sweetened, and if a lube claims to warm, cool, tingle, is flavoured or scented, it’s likely to have ingredients that could irritate so always read the ingredients.

Water based lubes:
Clean, no mess, can be used with toys and condoms. The consistency is usually quite water like and it can dry quickly and get sticky. Reapply often

Silicone lubes:
Thicker than water-based, safe with condoms but not with silicone toys (pop a condom over your toy-problem solved). Often a better choice if prone to dryness as it isn’t absorbed as quickly as water-based.

Hybrid lubes:
Combination of silicone and water-based. Stays slippery longer than water, often safe with silicone toys

Oil based lubes:
Moisturising, long-lasting, lovely for massage, messy, can stain, can irritate, safe with toys but not with condoms. You can opt for a natural nut oil such as organic coconut oil you cook with, or sweet almond oil. Or you can buy oil based lubes that are often thicker and may last longer but AVOID PETROLIUM! This can leave a thin film of oil inside your vagina that catches and hold bacteria and can lead to irritation.

I recommend Yes Yes Yes Organic water based Lube (in a pale green tube) sold in some chemists and health stores, or Sliquid Organic lube



Status female orgasms


I’m married for 10 years, I have two lovely children. Main problem with lovemaking is that I come very quickly (within 2 or 3 mins) and I am the woman! I have googled this problem and haven’t found out why this is happening. Very frustrating, but my other half is very patient and understanding. I usually have to finish him “manually”…. please help.


Firstly – well done to you for having orgasms so quickly and easily! There’s no reason for sex to end when you orgasm. Women can have numerous orgasms one after the other. I wonder if you reach orgasm from clitoral stimulation and then find that you become too sensitive for any touch directly after. This is quite normal but it doesn’t tend to last more than a couple of minutes. Stimulate your partner, kiss, caress and then go again. You may find that the second, third, fourth orgasms will vary in length, intensity and speed.

You say you have to finish him “manually”. Perhaps you orgasm during penetration and then become too sensitive to keep his penis inside you. Your muscles may be tense after your orgasm and may need a little time to relax. You can keep him inside, but both remain still while you breathe deeply into your vaginal muscles for release, or remove his penis and do something else for a few minutes and then try again. Make sure you’re very well lubricated when you try re-insertion as you can dry up quickly after an orgasm.

If one orgasm is enough (though I strongly urge you to challenge that view), you can try new ways to get to that orgasm that might slow things down. Your partner could tease you and bring you close to orgasm, and with practice, keep you on the edge before you finally climax. The bottom line is don’t give up and do experiment until you find ways to prolong your pleasure.



I’m a woman and have never orgasmed with a partner. I can make myself come, so know it’s possible. I hear oral helps my chances but I’m so full of anxiety that I never enjoy it. What’s going on? My current partner is a gorgeous lover and it’s the first time I’ve felt present when making love.


This is a great question. It’s brilliant that you’re an orgasmic woman! As I don’t know why receiving oral makes you anxious, I’m not going to give you tips on how to enjoy it as the anxiety needs to be addressed first. If it makes you anxious, it’s not your route to orgasm. Let it go for now.

I’d love to know the difference for you between having orgasms solo and with a partner. If it’s due to feeling exposed, self-conscious or there’s anxiety or a fear of letting go, building trust and confidence will need to be prioritised. I’d take orgasm off the agenda for a while and focus more on how to feel even safer than you already do. Context is everything for great sex so while it may feel counter-intuitive, spending more time on feeling deeply connected and intimate usually works better than focusing on sexual skills.

First, learn some relaxation techniques and practice deep breathing for ten minutes a day so that you learn what it feels like to be calm and grounded. That’s the feeling you want entering into sexual play. This takes practice and works well if you can clue your lover in so they can help. It can feel very intimate to have a partner notice and slow you down rather than carrying on regardless. This is a couples issue so work together if you can.

Find the point at which you begin to feel less present and stay there, breathing deeply, until you can ground yourself. Then move on. Tiny steps are the most reliable, and forcing yourself just doesn’t work. Compassion and patience are your friends. Being self-critical is about as unsexy as you can get so watch your thoughts.

Women can take up to forty minutes to become fully aroused so take your time, and if you don’t have a lot of time, alter your expectations to remove pressure. Give yourself permission not to orgasm and instead to bask in sexual pleasure and arousal. You may be surprised at the outcome.



I’m 32 and can masturbate to orgasm in about three minutes and it’s nice, but not earth-shaking. Are women who have those massive screaming orgasms faking?


There’s no such thing as a bad orgasm. They’re all fabulous, but they do vary hugely. If you engage in the same self-love/masturbation every time, you’ll probably have quite similar orgasms.

Women have internal clitorises and they take time to get warmed up and erect. If you’re spending three minutes on your orgasm, odds are the orgasm is stemming just from the external glans of your clitoris. If you take more time and stimulate yourself to bring blood to the internal clitoris, there’s a good chance you’ll start experiencing a greater variety of orgasms.

As we become more goal orientated more of us are tending towards the quickie when it comes to masturbation. I prefer the term “self love” as it reminds us to slow down and love ourselves to orgasm rather than rushing to the clitoris and banging one out as quickly as possible.

Try giving yourself 30-40 minutes three times a week to explore your body and senses. Create a transitional ritual like having a nice shower or bath to help you shift from your busy day to an attitude of curiosity and self-affection.

Start with some deep breathing and bring your attention to your body. Let worries and tasks pass by and don’t hold on to them. Bring your focus back to your body and sensations. Think sexy thoughts. Remember past sexual encounters you enjoyed or imagine new ones where you are everything you’d like to be.

Figure out how you like to touch yourself all over. Try soft, teasing touch as well as firmer massage. Massaging your vulva can be exquisite if you start soft and build the pressure. Rock your pelvis as though you’re having sex and squeeze and release your pelvic floor muscles to replicate penetration if you like that.

If you usually use porn, try watching longer scenes and find stuff that really turns you on. Don’t jump from window to window and allow your imagination to fill in the boring bits.

This is a skill so don’t expect results first time. Go through this routine and if nothing has happened, revert to your usual style of self-pleasure for orgasm and see if it’s different because you’ve spent more time warming up. Always finish with an orgasm and keep practicing.



I’m 24 and in my second serious relationship. We’re together a year and I’m mad about him. I’ve never been able to orgasm and my boyfriend says all the girls he’s been with before me came easily during sex. He’s more experienced than me so I must be doing something wrong. How can I fix this?


I’m delighted to hear you’re mad about your partner and are curious about becoming orgasmic. I hope you and your partner can read my answer together and work as a team towards fantastic orgasmic sex!

Here are some facts that might help you both to understand the complexities of female orgasm.

On the left is a basic diagram of a vulva with the clitoral glans and prepuce/shaft showing externally (note: vagina is to vulva, as mouth is to face). The one on the right shows the internal clitoris, which was only scientifically acknowledged in the 90’s and is still unknown by most. The super-sensitive glans has as many nerve endings as a whole penis and has a hood like a foreskin to protect it.

The clitoris averages about 5 inches in length and becomes erect just like a penis. When this happens it swells and can throb and ache, and can provide a wider variety of deeper orgasms as the whole clitoris contracts deliciously causing delightful spasms in the pelvic floor, vagina, anus etc…

The skin on vulvas and clitorises is particularly soft and sensitive to friction, so as with any play involving genitals, use a good organic lube (spit is not the same as lube).

The vast majority of women don’t orgasm through penetration alone and need external clitoral stimulation before and during penetration.

When stimulating the external clitoris DO NOT go straight for the glans and start rubbing. Many women never need direct stimulation to reach orgasm but every woman is different so don’t assume the moves that worked on your last partner will work now. For example, some women have obvious clitoral shafts that you can give tiny hand-jobs to using your lubed fingers, and some don’t.

Ask for feedback and when you find something that works, keep doing it. DON’T speed up, add more pressure or change technique unless directed to.

Begin with a long session of gentle teasing and exploration. Start on the outside of the vulva using the outer lips or labia as a buffer between your mouth/hands and the clitoris. Try kissing her labia the way you’d kiss her mouth. There’s a nerve cluster at the vaginal entrance so don’t focus solely on the clitoral area.

A full female erection can take at least 40 minutes of skilled and varied play, including gentle teasing, building anticipation, vulva massage, and indirect clitoral stimulation. Deep breathing, rocking your pelvis and clenching and releasing your pc muscles also help to bring blood to the internal clitoris.

On the other hand, direct, rushed external clitoral stimulation can easily speed a woman past the exit to orgasm-land and straight into over-sensitivity. That’s a cue to stop all stimulation and allow time for recovery.

DO NOT insert anything until your woman tells you to as this is really unsexy for many women.

DO NOT use porn as a teaching tool for great oral sex. That’s like watching the Fast and Furious and then thinking you can drive. It’s not real and it’s not helpful.

DO NOT compare your current lover to past lovers – particularly negatively – and then expect them to enjoy sex with you. How would you feel?

DO NOT give all the responsibility for your orgasms to your male partner. They don’t have a vulva and clitoris so how are they supposed to know what to do with yours without your guidance? That’s like telling them to drive you to Donegal without having a map!

Finally, the best way to become orgasmic is through masturbation while alone, where there’s nobody else to please. Once you can do that, you can teach your lover based on experience. Ask yourself what’s stopped you thus far from learning to orgasm alone? If masturbation freaks you out, speaking to professionals or friends, or finding sex positive websites, can help. Check out, and “The Elusive Orgasm” by Dr Vivian Cass to get you started. Best of luck!



I’ve been with three different men so far. One was a one-night stand, one was a six-month relationship and now I’m with someone for three months. I’ve never had an orgasm even though I enjoy sex. What am I doing wrong? I’m 21.


It’s great that you enjoy penetrative sex and that you’re curious about orgasms. I don’t blame you! Only about 15 – 20% of women orgasm through penetration alone. You’re part of the majority of women who need clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

The best way to have an orgasm is to practice on your own so there’s no pressure to please anyone else, and you can concentrate and relax into your pleasure. Women who masturbate tend to have better and more orgasms with partners, because they know their own bodies and arousal. Of course, they also need to teach their partner what to do, which is a skill in itself and may need practice.

But for now, I suggest you give yourself some private time in a warm, comfortable room. Get a mirror and have a good look at your vulva, and learn where your clitoris is. Get some nice organic coconut oil (or sweet almond oil) and begin gently and slowly exploring all of your vulva to find out what feels good. Take your time and remember to breath. Don’t try to bring yourself to orgasm while you’re still exploring your anatomy. Just get comfortable with your body and be curious.

I prefer the term “self-loving” or “self-pleasure” to masturbation because the idea is to love your body, your genitals and your sexuality. Touch yourself with care and affection and praise yourself for being a beautiful, sexual woman. Your thoughts are probably the most powerful component of self-loving and to orgasm. They can be sexy or undermining. Your body will react accordingly to which ever type of thought you have. So practice being loving in your mind as well as with your hands.

Tell your partner that you need him to slow down and spend time gently touching you. Women can take up to 40 minutes to orgasm. It’s not like the movies, or porn. The trick is to slow down and savour the journey to orgasm, and not just the orgasm. The longer you both take to reach your destination, the more powerful your orgasms could be.
Get yourself The Elusive Orgasm by Dr Vivienne Cass for a step-by-step guide to orgasm.



Status female oral pleasure


My boyfriend wants to go down on me but I’m way too embarrassed and worried about the smell and taste. How could anyone really like that?


It’s very common for women to worry about the look/taste/smell of their vulvas and vaginas. I wonder why you’re embarrassed. Women’s vulvas vary as much as their faces. While we all share features, they can be totally unique in size, colour, shape, positioning and hair cover. Google The Great Wall of Vagina to get an idea of the variety (you won’t see hair as casting vulvas with hair would mean agonising waxing!)

Have you ever tasted and smelled your own juices? It’s worth doing, so you know what you’re worrying about. But you need to do it repeatedly to get an idea of how your juices change throughout the month due to hormones, or after certain foods and drinks. Many women find it’s really not that bad and at worst, feel indifferent to the taste and smell.

But no matter what you think, it’s not reasonable to enforce your tastes on anyone else. If you go to a restaurant and order chicken while he orders steak, would you tell him he can’t have steak because you only like white meat? Is it reasonable to prevent him from drinking Guinness because you like wine? What’s the difference? The sheer enjoyment many people experience while giving oral pleasure to their female partner is unique and subjective. It’s a sensual pleasure just like food, drink, art and music. Life is made all the richer by variety in tastes and desires. Imagine a life where everyone had to like the same things!
So give it a try but start off slow. Ask him to begin by kissing and stroking your tummy and inner thighs. Keep your underwear on at first and get used to his mouth on your vulva that way. You’ll feel heat, moisture and breath. Get him to check with you before he goes further, and know that you can stop any time. That may be enough for a few weeks. Then try it naked with him kissing your outer lips without opening them. Get used to how that feels and if you like it, keep going. Your job is to breathe deeply and quiet your worried thoughts. Ask him to tell you he loves it throughout so you can feel reassured. Ask him not to jump to your clitoris until you’re used to his mouth there as it may feel like overload.



Status body image


I’m way too shy to let anyone see my body naked. I look like a starving child, even though I’m 19. People tell me I look great, but they can’t see how thin I am under the layers. I eat lots but just can’t put on weight so I’m stuck like this.


If you haven’t already, get yourself some professional advice on gaining weight as there may be a reason such as your body not absorbing nutrients from food, a hormonal imbalance, a fast metabolism, or an overactive thyroid.

Whether you find a cause or not, it’s time to acknowledge that, despite our social conditioning, there is no “one size fits all” for attractiveness, and I say Amen to that!

Try getting naked in front of a mirror and look at your body with appreciation for what it can do for you, rather than how it looks. Can you feel pleasure? Can you give pleasure? What parts of your body give/feel most pleasure? With regular practice (every day), you may begin to find more things to like.

Add ways of showing love to your body by using your favourite soaps and potions, and wearing things that make you feel good. Self-loving is a great way to learn to love your body for the pleasure it can give you.

The most valued aspect of any lover is confidence and knowing what they like, no matter what shape or size a person is.