Whether you're single or in a long-term committed relationship, you might experience uncomfortable moments during sex. Maybe you run into physical discomfort, like feeling pain with deep penetration. Or maybe you feel emotionally uncomfortable when your partner asks you to try something new with them. Either way, it's very common to experience discomfort during sex, according to experts.
"Sex is best when two people feel safe enough to truly communicate," Channa Bromley, a dating and relationship coach for Relationship Hero with specialization in sex and empowerment, tells Bustle. "It’s important to feel comfortable communicating with your partner," she says. When it comes to intimacy, though, it can sometimes be difficult to talk about uncomfortable moments in bed.
If you find yourself in a position where you're struggling to speak up, remember to take ownership of yourself. "Your body, your emotions, your rules," she says. "If something isn't working for you, know that it is perfectly acceptable to say something. It is a self-honoring choice to speak up. No one can invalidate how you feel other than yourself."
Another way to build confidence in your sex life with your partner is to practice building confidence in other areas of your life, Bromley says. Consider making new friends, picking up a difficult new hobby, or even learning a new language.
Here are some uncomfortable moments during sex that are actually very common, according to experts.
1. Asking For Something New In Bed
When many people hear “talk dirty to me” for the first time in a relationship, they can instantly begin to get anxious. Many folks can be uncomfortable with the idea of verbally sharing their desires or exploring their sexuality, Bromley says. If you or your partner has just brought up the subject of trying something that you never have before, it can feel uncomfortable because you risk feeling "weird" for what you want.
"If verbalizing your fantasies and your likes is something you would like to grow into, then ensure you are in a partnership with someone who you feel comfortable with," Bromley says. "If talking dirty is not something you aspire to try, then simply respond in a non-judgmental manner."
Say something like, "I understand how that could be something you want, but it really isn't something I am comfortable with right now."
2. Not Being Able To Climax
Whether you're having sex with a long-term partner or someone you just met, it's totally possible for one (or both) of you to not be able to reach a climax. Even though this can feel uncomfortable in the moment, it's very common and should not overshadow the rest of the experience. Bromley notes that "by focusing solely on one desired outcome, you miss the pleasure of the journey." In fact, the more you fixate on the sole goal of having an orgasm, the more nervous you're likely to get and the less likely it is for you to be able to have one, she says.
Understand that sex is not a performance, but an experience. "Release any pressure you feel towards reaching the orgasm, and simply be present," Bromley says. "You can offer your partner reassurance if you feel they are sensitive to their own performance."
3. Unexpected Noises
"It is not uncommon for gas to be released while [having sex]," Bromley says. But even if you've known your partner for a long time and feel very comfortable with them, it can be extremely embarrassing to fart (or to queef from your vagina) during sex. Just do your best not to catastrophize the situation.
"This can be embarrassing," Bromley says, "but it happens to everyone at some point. No one is going to be grossed out by it."
Instead, laugh it off or offer a simple, "Sorry about that" before continuing on with what you were doing before the interruption.
4. An Uncomfortable Fit
If you are having sex where one of you is being penetrated by the other, you can potentially run into some discomfort with fit, Bromley says. This might seem unusual, but it's actually pretty common, she says. Depending on each person's body sizes, penetration can be difficult or even painful sometimes. If you're experiencing discomfort with penetration, don't be afraid to ask your partner to pause. Then, you can try making things easier by using lubrication, or you can switch to an entirely different sexual activity. Changing up your position (so that the person being penetrated is on top) can also give them more control so that they can go at a pace that is comfortable to them.
5. Penetration Goes Too Deep
You might think that if you're being penetrated, the deeper the better. But sometimes this can lead to a good deal of physical discomfort. "There is such thing as too deep penetration, which equates to cervix pain," Bromley says. In fact, almost 75% of people with vaginas will deal with painful sex at some point in their sexual history. This might feel like an awkward thing to bring up to your partner, but take care of your body by speaking up. Ask them to be gentler with you as they thrust so that you can experience pleasure, not unwanted pain.
6. Losing Concentration
Every so often, you probably begin daydreaming when you're supposed to be doing something else. While this probably isn't an inconvenience if you're just doing chores or riding the bus, if it happens during sex, it can be pretty uncomfortable. "We all wander off during activities and sex is no different," Cyndi Darnell, a sex coach, relationship therapist, and sexologist, tells Bustle. This might hurt your partner's feelings momentarily, but just do your best to refocus as soon as you can. "When you realize you have wandered away, bring your focus back to what you're doing by paying attention to what you can feel physically," Darnell says.
7. Not Being Aroused
When you're in the midst of a passionate sexual experience, you might get uncomfortable if you or your partner lose an erection or aren't able to get wet. This is really not an uncommon problem, though, Darnell says. "Use fingers and toys and add lube until things are how you like them to be again," she says. If you lose all interest in having sex in the situation, it's absolutely OK to tell your partner that you want to stop, even if you're concerned that it will disappoint them. If they genuinely care about you, they'll be totally fine with putting sex on pause.
8. Having Bad Sex
One major misconception is that sex has to be perfect for it to be enjoyable. Even if you're in a long-term relationship and know what your partner likes, you're bound to have days where you're just a little off.
"No one has perfect sex and no one is 100% comfortable 100% of the time," Darnell says. "That's a myth."
If you and your partner can't seem to stop knocking heads, having trouble finding a good rhythm, or getting cramps during sex, just have a good laugh at the fact that you had an off day. It definitely doesn't mean that your relationship is in trouble or that you and your partner are no longer compatible.
Whatever discomfort you find yourself experiencing during sex, be sure not to take it too seriously if it's something small like passing gas. But if you're in genuine pain, take care of your body by making an adjustment or stopping altogether.