Cramps After Sex? When the Body Says No to A Good Time


Painful sex is more common than you might think.

Often – like many things that happen to us as women – we tend to look upon issues with our sex badly. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a terrible lover, for example.  Women often approach me with a sense of shame about themselves as a human being if sex is actually physically uncomfortable for them. So this blog is an attempt to demystify some of what we know to be true about painful sex and to break that shame barrier down once and for all.

A revitalisation of sexual pleasure is possible. I have seen it happen so many times that I know it can happen for you too. Let’s explore 🙂

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what’s your pleasure type?

In my coaching biz I have found women tend to fall into one of four, distinct pleasure types. Curious to find out which one of these pleasure types you might be? Take my quiz below, and receive a free, personalised video  giving you tips and tricks specific to your type to help increase your pleasure threshold exponentially!


feminine pain types

Have you ever experienced pain around sexual intercourse personally?

I know for me, I pretty much got away with zero sexual pain ever for most of my life. I guess you could call me lucky like that (‘cos my back has been a total bitch. And my knee is getting dodgy of late.) When it came to sex though? Pretty much everything has always worked as it should.

Not so for many of the women who have approached me for sexual empowerment coaching. For many of them, pain has sadly been a pretty constant companion. Pain of all shapes and sizes too – from burning before during and after intercourse, to sharp, stinging internal pain that comes on suddenly and takes your breath away with its intensity. Cramps in that low, achy, droning that can sometimes last for days after sex.  Or a kind of scratchy, itchy, perhaps I have an infection type of hurting. Even numbness – whilst not pain per se – could be grouped in with this list of things women find difficult about their sex lives or sexual responsiveness.

Turns out then, that when it comes to sex, women are actually often hurting or feeling nothing at all.

And that, dear pleasure seekers, is a sorry state of affairs.

so what’s wrong?

Firstly, and before I get all “mind body connected” on you. I want to say something very common sensical – and that is that if you are experiencing any kind of pain or discomfort before, during or after sex then you might actually have a medical issue that needs seeing to by an actual medical professional.

In this age of “crystal dildos, chlorella supplements and sleeping under a pyramid can cure me of all my physical ailments” – actual medical doctors can get a bad rap.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate – doctors who specialise in female pleasure and sexual health actually exist. This is a miracle. If your pussy is hurting, you are well advised to check their services out. (Even if a medical opinion rules out anything serious or that needs medically treating. Still it’s worth adding their expertise to your pussy reclamation team.)

So please -this is the part of my blog where I reiterate the that nothing I say here is to be construed as medical advice. And if your sex needs a doctor, then get your sex a doctor.

sex and pain

Honestly, I am not a fan of terms. I try to leave that to the doctors. But it turns out that we have one for female sexual pain nevertheless. Are you ready? Drumroll…..


Okay? Feel better now we know what it is?

Right then. Moving on.

And I am being facetious, because sometimes it can help to know exactly what your problem might actually be when it comes to painful sex. For example, Naomi Wolf in her excellent book Vagina is fairly disparaging of all the crystal yoni healers she came across who told her to breathe and release trauma and that this was the seat of her sexual numbness issues. In fact, it turned out, she had a serious problem in her spine which led to the suppression of a key nerve that transported pleasure from her vagina to her brain. And that is most definitely not the kind of health issue you can mantra away in your spare time. Respect to medicine where respect is due.

Moreover, you can empower yourself to help yourself with more information too. To that end, I made a list for you. Let’s break it down. All the main types of sexual conditions that prevent women from enjoying more sexual pleasure. Perhaps you recognise one for yourself:

1. Vulvodynia

2. Lichen Sclerosis

3. Cystitis

4. Chronic Thrush and STIs

5. Vaginismus

6. Menopause

7. Pelvic Conditions

but what leads to sexual pain?

Outside of the realm of  actual medical conditions that are treatable with pharmaceutical drugs – like clearing up an STI for example, or a spinal condition like Naomi Wolf – there are of course many more holistic reasons as to why women’s sexual experience can be painful and dissatisfying.  Yoni crystal healers have a point. (And in fact I like to use them and sell them personally, which you can check out HERE if you are interested.)

Outside of medicine, there are other bonafide areas which provide avenues to explore – especially if you are interested in reclaiming a healthy sex life in a natural and holistic way.

Experience has shown me, that the following are some of the most common reasons why women can begin to encounter sexual pain from a mindbody perspective.

Lack of Movement

Many of us spend hours every day seated in modern life. We all know the score – get your apps on your phone, measure your daily steps, take the stairs not the elevator. Our bodies need movement as much as they need breath. For the easy delivery of nutrients and carrying out of cellular waste products. For detoxing and for keeping muscles healthy, supple and pain free. Turns out that this is just as true – if not more so – in the pelvic region than in any area of the body.

I don’t know about you – but if I sit at a desk for too many hours each day the pain in very real. It may actually (strangely) manifest in knee pain. Or twinges in my shoulder blades. But each time I get a treatment for these my practitioner will always bring the core issue back to tightness in the pelvic and hip area. “You sit too much” is their universal mantra.  “Try walking around more.”

So releasing a tight pelvis is crucial to physical wellbeing in every area of your body. Not just your sexual wellbeing.  But if it IS your pelvis that is stiff and painful and if this is happening during sex, then taking care of your pelvic stretches is even more obvious.

I recommend some gentle yoga stretches. Or Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais (both which I use to great success. Plus I walk more. Someone tell my chiropractor – I do actually walk more.)

Dysfunctional Breathing 

This one is honestly huge.

One thing not many people know about me is that before I became a sex and relationships coach, I was actually a breathwork teacher. I practiced a technique called the Buteyko Method and helped hundreds of people overcome poor respiratory patterns as a result.

One of the central tenets of this method – if not the central tenet – is that diaphragmatic breathing is the key to good health.

Now you don’t have to know about Buteyko to understand this. In fact, you have probably heard this a thousand times already, right?

But what you possibly don’t yet know, is that the diaphragm is connected by a series of fascia to the pelvic muscles. And if you are breathing correctly, your lower belly will be moving gently and in tune with the breath. Which means that your pelvic muscles will also be massaged and moved a little too with every inhalation and exhalation.

With every decent breath then, the pelvic region is treated to it’s own little internal massage. You can think of it like a personal daily pelvic spa. Courtesy of your lungs. And how cool is that?

Consider the opposite for a moment too – a life spent chair-bound. Hunched over with the diaphragm constricted and unable to move freely. Resulting in the tense shoulders and the hyper-volume of air that results from upper chest breathing. This kind of breathing is extremely common and, unfortunately, when we breathe like this the pelvic muscles don’t get a look in.

So good posture, good breathing habits – they don’t  just make you look and feel great. They also help your sex stay relaxed, vibrant and juicy too. What’s not to love about letting go and letting the diaphragm lead the show?

Poor Diet

If I had a dollar for every time my husband rolled his eyes to the ceiling because I just said the words “gut microbiome”  I would be a rich woman.

But here we go.

Your body has an ecology. A balance. Throw that out of balance and an environment prone to disease and dysregulation will result.

We all know the key players – sugar, carbs, alcohol, stress.


We can ignore this knowledge if we want to. But the fact remains that maybe that extra few glasses of wine meant that your pussy was more sore the next day. Or more itchy. Bad diet will most definitely throw off the delicate inner ecology of your vagina. Sorry about that. I know it sucks. But if painful sex is a problem for you due to frequent bouts of thrush or cystitis, then you really already know what you need to do to help when it comes to your eating habits. 🙂


cultural judgements + expectations

Perhaps something that we think about less as women than our dietary habits, is an area where I really get fascinated. And also where my coaching begins to excel with women. Because cultural judgements around performance are deeply ingrained in us and, in my opinion, can lead to a whole plethora of issues.

Let’s have a think about all this for a moment.

Emily Nagowski, in her fantastic book Come As You Are, talks about the three Ms of modern female sexuality:

Medical, Moral, Media.

I have already talked about how medicine can help with female pelvic pain, for example. But what about the ways in which it actually causes more suffering?

I remember personally how I once had a lump checked out in my breast. It was terrifying, of course. What made it easier, was the manner and the deeply empathic approach of the nurse who did the diagnosis. It struck me at the time how well this nurse must have been trained in consent. She was literally a consent expert. Every step of the way she let me know what she was going to do next. She asked my permission to do it. She explained what she was feeling. I came out of that breast examination more than a little blown away – the whole experience had felt connected and supported.

It struck me that I never once had a smear test like that. Not once ever. I remember how, instead, I had been subjected to invasive procedures as a girl to “test” for disease.  I remembered how a nurse had tutted when I cried in pain as she tried to get a camera in an internal to take footage of my Fallopian tube. I remember how a client had told me she had been laid down on a table by a doctor, teacher and parent to try and diagnose her “issue” (she had very large labia), and how she left her body as a result and had never quite fully come back to it, even as an adult.

Female sexuality is fierce, wild and ecstatic.

But it can also be tender, vulnerable, and easily prone to feeling violated.

Women are not stuck in an endless victimhood because they endure these kinds of insults many times throughout a lifetime. But they are sensitive, sometimes, to the results on an emotional and energetic level. They can experience contraction from the fear. And this impacts their bodies and their sex is subtle and long-standing ways. All of which can manifest as tightness and pain.

And that’s just the medicine bit too, right?

Don’t even get me started on the Moral and the Media.

The modern pornification of female genitalia. The way we are conditioned to feel about our female bodies. – I confess I had a bit of a rant about this here.

Or religion?

I don’t mean to offend you.

But I was never prone to wanting to let God in my pussy.

He could have the church. And the gold. And the devout.

Not my pussy though.

Seems that not everyone escaped that conditioning quite so easily, however. Some women come to me with deeply ingrained belief systems that their pleasure is wrong. That desire is the work of the devil rather than (in my books) the nectar of angels. And that masturbating is so sinful that every time they do it a kitten gets killed in heaven. Seriously.

(I never was a cat person myself.)

With such women, and in a coaching setting, I always take it very, very slow.

Which leads me onto my next point….

your sex needs time

What I am really trying to say about all this is that we women have a lot of things that can impact our sex negatively. And with these types of negative experiences, we can contract and contraction can result in pain.

There are ways to counteract this traumatic trajectory, however. And one of the best ways is to approach sex more slooowwwwwly.

A tight vaginal entrance, for example, can be radically helped by tuning into your pussy and actually asking her if she is ready to receive penetration. Remember my lovely breast nurse? How she asked every time she touched? And my body relaxed. Try asking your pussy what she wants, rather than berating her for not coming up with the goods during sex. This simple step alone can have profound impact on your sexual health and wellbeing.

Over and above setting a different pace for your sex to unfold within however, is educating yourself about what your sex actually does, anatomically speaking.  When we begin to actually do this (and you can do that too through my online course Orgasm. But when you educate yourself – not only to your own felt sense and embodied experience of your pleasure – but to what you even have down there? The experience of your sexuality can radically shift and change.

Another cool example – did you know that your urethra is surrounded by erectile tissue? (In fact, there is, pound for pound, more erectile tissue in the human female genitalia than in male.) But getting back to the urethra – surrounding your delicate urinary tract is a tube of erectile tissue, as I have said. And when you are fully aroused, then this tube expands and provides a buffer. In other words, not only does it feel good internally (in fact it pushes through your upper vaginal wall and this is what is known as the g-spot.) But also your urinary tract is protected from too much friction during sexual intercourse by this perfectly located section of swollen tissue.

Perhaps the sensation of burning urine you experience after sex then, is less about an out of control bladder infection, and more about how you go for penetration before you are in a fully aroused state? And that the friction is really just irritating a part of your body that is not meant to be irritated?

Food for thought.

Similarly, when your genitals are fully aroused, your cervix is in fact pulled up and forward in your pelvis  – protecting this sensitive area from being bruised or hurt during deep penetration. If we go for a good deep pounding before we are in this state? No wonder the cervix can feel painful, raw or even numbed out.

When you experience pain around sex then, it is easy to believe that there is something wrong with you. But in fact, and without fail, anatomically  your sex is designed in a truly miraculous way. Maybe one of the reasons your sex hurts, is because you have conditioned to stop listening to it and to perform instead.

Sadly, if women know nothing about how their sex actually works, then they won’t know how to have it succeed in pleasing them.

does dearmoring work for pain?

Taking simple and practical steps towards pussy health, understanding your anatomy and how it works, and going slow enough to hear the whispers of your sex as she tries to communicate with you, are all key, holistic factors to overcoming and healing your pussy pain.

Frequently though, I am asked about the practice of dearmoring to release pain, and so it is worth mentioning this technique here too.

In fact, dearmoring practice is really hard not to love. It involves using a toy such as a jade egg or crystal dildo to work with your genitals to release tension internally. You can think of it like a localised massage for your sex – gentle and penetrative, it is extremely relaxing and really can help foster and intimate relationship between you and your libido too.

Personally, I use dearmoring as a practice a lot. (You can read about that in more depth HERE.)

The jade egg is my absolute favourite tool for this, partly because the egg has a whole lineage and is so embedded in a Taoist tradition for health and wellbeing. I adore my egg and teach online group coaching classes a couple of times a year. You can buy an egg here if you are interested – as each one of my eggs come with some introductory practices for you to get you started.

Equally as satisfying is the crystal dildo – I find I can really reach specific spots with his toy, including the cervix. It amazes me how much sensation is possible with these practices too. So for example, I might find a sharp, stinging pain as I press the toy gently into one part of my vaginal walls. And yet through breathing and relaxing, this pain is eased and worked through – in much the same way as if you receive a back massage. There can be pain. But it is a good feeling type of pain. So yes, pussy dearmoring practice can most definitely help your sex to relax and that can really impact your experience of sex with a partner.

More than purely muscular too, the practice involves developing listening partnership with your pussy.

an invitation to go deeper

I expect it is obvious about me by now, that reclaiming sex and pleasure for women and couples is really my jam.

If you would like to go deeper into this subject, and experience the power of transformation when it is embodied in reconnecting to your erotic essence as a fuel source, then check out my free masterclass all about the embodying and empowering potential of the feminine orgasm. Claim a spot below!

what’s your pleasure type?

I am a sex and relationships coach with a passion for coaching women to amplify their pleasure and use it as a fuel source for power.

And I have found, that amongst almost every woman I meet, that she will tend to fall into one of four, distinct pleasure types.

Curious to find out which one of these pleasure types you might be?

Take my quiz below, and receive a free, personalised video outlining your pleasure type, and giving you tips and tricks specific to your type to help increase your pleasure threshold exponentially!


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