Sexual Pain and the Healing Power of Pleasure

By Lorraine Faehndrich

Lack of pleasure contributes to sexual pain.

When you’re in pain, pleasure can be one of the first things to go in your life.

And when your pain is pelvic or sexual pain, like vulvodynia, vaginismus, interstitial cystitis, chronic infections or pain during or after sex…intimacy, sex, self-pleasure, and orgasm, and other powerful ways of experiencing pleasure in your body can be written off completely.

The idea of pleasure, sex, or intimacy can even trigger fear or anxiety, completely turn you off, or sound like too much work.

It may all be so overwhelming that it’s just much easier to avoid the topics of pleasure, sex and intimacy altogether.

While this is completely understandable, it exacerbates the problem.

Lack of pleasure and intimacy, along with dissociation from your vagina and sexuality, is hard on your body and you spirit. 

Lack of Pleasure Contributes to Sexual Pain.

Your pleasure, your sexuality, and intimacy are important. They are important for you, for your healing, and for your passion and spark.

So even though it may feel hard, it is definitely worth facing all those emotions and fears and putting time into reclaiming pleasure in your life.

In my personal experience, and in what I have seen working with 1000s of women to help them heal…reclaiming a healthy, whole, and joyful relationship with your body and your sexuality (whether you’re with a partner or not) is the key to lasting relief from vulvodynia and other types of pelvic and sexual pain.

“Pleasure is an essential nutrient that you need, each and every day, to become and remain healthy”. ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

Pleasure, and in particular sensual pleasure is your golden ticket to healing your body quickly.

Not only are there significant emotional benefits, there are physiological benefits as well. Pleasure is accompanied by the release of the neurotransmitter nitric oxide, as well as other health-enhancing chemicals in your body, like beta endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine.

As overwhelming or scary as it may be, if you want to heal your body, and reignite your inner spark, you want to start making time for pleasure.

One key to success is to start small and go slow.

Rebuilding your pleasure muscle can actually be simple and a lot of fun when you take it slowly.

This can be different for everyone, but often it helps to begin with pleasure in general before moving on to sensual and sexual pleasure.

It’s mostly our ideas and conditioning around pleasure, or what it should be, that can make the topic scary and overwhelming.

How to Reintroduce Pleasure

In my Healing Female Pain Program, the first thing we do to re-introduce pleasure is a little research.

Here’s what you do….

Take out your journal or a piece of paper and write down all the things you can think of that might bring you pleasure. Brainstorm. You may write down things that used to bring you pleasure, but also think outside the box about what could feel good for you now. As you go though your day if you notice yourself doing something that brings you pleasure, or thinking about something that sparks some pleasure add it to your list.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • A warm bath
  • Flowers
  • Dancing
  • Breathing
  • Walking
  • Sleeping
  • Kissing
  • Reading
  • Drawing, painting, or playing with color
  • Petting you cat
  • Laying in the sun
  • Snuggling with someone you love
  • Wrapping up in a soft fluffy blanket
  • Spending time in nature or outdoors
  • Chatting with a good friend
  • Anything else you can think of!

Once you have a list, add one 5 minute pleasure break into your day to do something on your list.

Here are a couple pleasure principles to keep in mind:

1.  Stay In Your Body

Pleasure is felt in your body. It’s not a mental activity. It requires presence and awareness of sensation. Just a few seconds of being fully present with whatever you are doing will increase your pleasure in that moment.

2.  Slow Down

Instead of starting with a hike, start with 5 minutes sitting outside. Instead of having sex, start with 5 minutes of touch. It’s your mind that wants to go big, but remember principle number one…get into your body. When you slow down and stay present with your body, you will be amazed at how simple and nourishing very short and simple pleasure breaks can be.

Start with these exercises and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your experiences and anything you notice about pleasure this week!

Making time for pleasure, exploring your desires and yourself, will not only heal your body and ease your sexual pain, it will change your life.

You deserve that.

If you want to dive deeper into pleasure, including reclaiming a healthy positive relationship with your sexuality, enjoying sex more, and feeling empowered and joyful around intimacy and orgasm, I would love to support you!

Click here to learn more about private coaching.

Click here to learn more about my group coaching program, Healing Female Pain

Read more related content here:

3 Sexual Pleasure Practices for Women with Vulvodynia and Pelvic Pain

Redefining Orgasm to Relieve Pelvic Pain

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