SSIS advice column

October 16, 2020

Welcome back to the SSIS column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@brandeis.edu or leave a question in the Google Form link on the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! 

(Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)

What should I do to make sex hurt less? Putting the tip in hurts.

We are so glad you asked this question. To start, we want you to know that you are not alone in facing this issue. Many people assume that sex will only hurt the first time, but research has shown that many people struggle with pain during sex for months or even years. The good news is that there are ways to turn sex into something you enjoy, not endure. 

Lube can be a very helpful tool for reducing pain during sex. Using lube reduces friction and dryness during penetration. At SSIS, we have three types of lubes: water-based, hybrid and silicone. We recommend water-based for a cushiony feel and silicone is best if you prefer a thinner, slippery lubricant. There is some trial and error to finding which lube provides the most comfort, so SSIS offers small lube packets for $0.25 so you can try a bunch of different types without breaking the bank.

For vaginal penetration, tightening of the pelvic floor muscles can be a key player in causing pain. The best way to address this is to practice relaxing these muscles. There are a lot of techniques you can research on relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. A few helpful tips include starting in a comfortable position in a peaceful environment: dim lights, music and anything else that will make you feel more relaxed. 

Try to locate your pelvic floor muscles: a neat trick for this is to clench your muscles as if you wanted to stop peeing. Practice contracting and relaxing a few times. The next time you try penetration, be conscious of how your muscles are reacting and practice relaxing them as much as possible. It may not be easy at first, but being mindful of your body is a great skill to grow.

Another helpful tool for reducing pain with sex is a dilator set. There are both vaginal and anal dilator sets. Essentially, these sets include a set of dildos which gradually increase in length and girth. This is a great way to adjust to penetration at a comfortable pace! Some people choose to dilate with a partner and others use dilators individually. There are dilators that vibrate and those that do not. You can control all of these factors to find what works best for you!

Finally, it may be worth visiting a gynecologist to rule out any pain-inducing conditions. 

Are you still selling products this semester (Fall 2020)? 

Yes, we are! There are two ways to purchase products this semester.

One way is to stop by our in-person office hours, where one of our trained members will help you find the product that’s best for you and you can buy it there. Our in-person office hours this semester are Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..  

The other way is to order it through the form on our linktr.ee account. To learn about our products before you order them, come to our virtual office hours Monday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can visit our virtual office hours directly or through our linktr.ee

You can also learn about our products in the “Products” album on our Facebook page. SSIS sells 22 forms of barrier methods (condoms, dental dams, etc—10 for $1), nine lubes, nine pleasure products, three menstrual cups, kegel balls and pregnancy tests (2 for $1). 

If you can’t make it to office hours, you can make an appointment or ask questions about products by texting 586-ASK-SSIS.

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