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Stress Free Sex

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Stress Free Sex

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Stress Free Sex
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Q. Sex hurts, so I've pretty much stopped having it. What's going on?

A Hands down, the most common cause of pain during intercourse is vaginal dryness. But—and here's where it can get kind of confusing—that may be due to a number of conditions. "First, you want to rule out vaginal infections, sexually transmitted diseases, thyroid irregularities, conditions like vulvodynia or endometriosis, and hormonal problems, like perimenopause," says Margaret Wierman, M.D., a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at the University of Colorado. Bring a list of symptoms to your gynecologist, and expect her to perform a pelvic exam as well as a blood test that will measure your hormone levels. Don't panic: Most vaginal conditions are treatable, and a good doctor will be able to suggest ways to make sex more comfortable in the meantime.

If all tests turn up negative, you probably aren't fully aroused and therefore aren't generating enough lubrication. That creates friction and even microscopic tears in the vaginal canal, which—not surprisingly—can be a real booty buzzkill. To fix the problem, use a water-based lubricant, like K-Y Brand Jelly (avoid petroleum products, which can cause irritation and also damage latex condoms). Then take it slow: Spend more time on foreplay with your partner, kissing and touching each other. You might have trouble getting aroused because you're worried sex will be painful again, but after a few positive experiences, the anxiety should subside.

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