Sex Ed
Sex Ed

What Is Vaginal Sex?

And what do you need to know?

What Is Vaginal Sex?

Vaginal sex is what most people think of when they talk about sex. It is often primarily thought of as a penis entering a vulva and into the vagina, but that is only one part of vaginal sex. It is actually the penetration of something into the vagina. The penetration could be from fingers, a penis, or a toy of some kind. All of these things count as vaginal sex.

Are There Any Risks to Vaginal Sex?

Anytime you have sex with someone, no matter what kind of sex, there are varying degrees of risk. People are at risk for contracting an STI or, in the case of penis penetration into the vagina, pregnancy. You can control the exposure to risks by being aware, and making small adjustments to how you engage. What methods you choose should be based on your lifestyle and the circumstances. It's important that you take proper precautions by using safer sex methods that work for you and your partner. If there are concerns about unwanted pregnancies, you and your partner may also wish to consider additional forms of birth control.

If you are in a committed and monogamous relationship, you may be less concerned about STIs. You and your partner should discuss how you wish to avoid or reduce the risks by discussing fluid bonding. Another solid measure to avoid sexually transmitted infections is ensuring that both you and your partner get tested regularly.

If you are enjoying sexy times with a range of people, or even just a one-night stand, you may wish to consider some different safer sex methods, and include the use of barriers. Aside from just using condoms for penile penetration, you should discuss using barriers for other types of penetration. Condoms can be used on toys to keep them in good condition and make clean up easier. If penetration is happening just with fingers/hands, you might wish to consider using gloves. If the person using their hands has any cuts on their hands, or if their cuticles are in rough shape, some infections can be passed.

Does Vaginal Sex Hurt?

Vaginal sex should not hurt. Many people say that it hurts the person the first time it happens, but this is not always the case. If a person is feeling relaxed, ready for penetration, and received a proper amount of stimulus through foreplay, vaginal sex should not hurt.

There are a lot of reasons why people with vulvas may feel tense during sex, particularly if it is their first sexual experience. Some people may feel nervous or anxious. Depending on how they were raised, a person may have some anxiety about engaging in sexual activities in general. Women, in particular, are socialized to believe that they should be modest and hold back when it comes to sex. This can impact their ability to relax when they do choose to participate.

Vaginal sex can hurt if there is a lack of adequate lubrication. The vulva has a natural tendency to self-lubricate. How much this occurs will vary from person to person. It can also vary across different situations. Foreplay can make a huge difference in levels of lubrication, as well as the relaxation and enjoyment for the person who has the vulva. People with vulvas take longer to achieve orgasm than people with penises. Taking things slowly will help both people ease into it, and make the experience more pleasurable.

Learn More to Enhance Your Sex Life

Vaginal sex is just one type of sex people participate in. Learning about the different ways people connect with each other can help you add creativity to your bedroom activities. A little knowledge helps, but the more you know, the more you will be able to maximize pleasure for yourself as well as your partner.

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sexual wellness
Teela Hudak
Teela Hudak
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Teela Hudak

Teela is a Vancouver-based Sex Educator & Relationship Expert. Learn more at:

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