A Sex Educator’s Guide to Tools for Painful Sex

Painful sex is thought to affect 75 percent of cis women, yet until recently the most commonly prescribed advice was to “drink a glass of wine and try to relax.”

As conversations about sex have become more mainstream, so too has the discovery that individuals who deal with painful sex were neither alone nor broken. Theirs is a very real and very ignored health issue.

Enter: some badass creators. Tired of waiting for solutions—or disillusioned with the existing options—these creators sought to make solutions to their problems, ranging from deep pelvic pain to vaginal dryness. Here are the best tools for painful sex.

6 Tools for Painful Sex


OhNut is an intimate wearable for vulva-havers who have deep pelvic pain during sex. Worn externally at the base of the penis, dilator, dildo, or vibrator, Ohnut compresses down to act as a soft buffer during sex, allowing you to customize penetration depth. Each set comes with four, soft, stretchy rings that link together so you can adjust and explore what depths feel good—for everyone involved. OhNut also comes with a guide to talking to your partner(s) about your experience, and how to introduce the rings.

Private Packs

Private Packs are wearable hot and cold packs for instant help in relieving vulva pain, swelling, and discomfort. Soothe your V after rough sex, spin class, or a wax session; while dealing with vaginal dryness, yeast infections, or post-vaginal birth woes; and, as part of managing vaginismus, vulvodynia, and other forms of pelvic pain. Private packs are portable, lightweight, and cordless, slipping right into your underwear. They’re also latex-free, safe with oils and lubricants, and FSA/HSA reimbursement eligible.

Wellness Silicone Dilator Set

This affordable set of dilators was thoughtfully co-created with comfort in mind by sex educator and cancer survivor Ducky Doolittle. Each of the four dilators—which start at just 0.5 inches wide—is made of soft, flexible silicone. The dilators are straight, with a rounded tip that is less irritating than a pointed one. The set’s heart-shaped bases add a cute, playful touch, while the satin smooth silicone feels luxurious.

Migliori Silicone Lubricant

In general, silicone lubricant lasts longer and creates less drag than its water-based counterpart. It’s also condom-safe, and less likely than coconut or other plant-based oils to impact the vaginal or anal microbiome. 

This particular silicone lube is thicker, providing more cushioning and comfort—and less of a mess. It also contains Vitamins A, B6, D3, and E to nourish and moisturize the vaginal or anal tissue. Its teardrop glass bottle is reminiscent of a perfume bottle, and the pump top makes it easy to use.

Sliquid Sassy Lubricant

While silicone lube is most-recommended for painful sex, it doesn’t always play well with silicone toys like dilators. As an alternative, try Sassy. Marketed as an anal lube, it’s a thicker, water-based lubricant that provides longer-lasting wetness and comfort. 

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapists diagnose and treat a variety of pelvic issues including pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence, constipation, low back pain, painful sex, and much more. While this type of therapy is widely accepted in other countries, it isn’t well known in the US. Ask your OB-GYN or primary care provider for a referral to gain valuable + personalized information, rituals, exercises, and techniques for managing your pelvic pain. If your insurance doesn’t cover this therapy, it’s worth saving up for at least an evaluation to get a better sense of what your pelvic floor needs.

There are solutions to painful sex

You aren’t alone. You aren’t broken. And you aren’t doomed to a lifetime of painful sex. 

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