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Can Perineal Massage Decrease Pain with Intercourse?

Hello friends! Today we are going to talk about an intimate subject: pain with intercourse, also known as dyspareunia. Most women think dyspareunia is an ordinary symptom and therefore do not tell their providers (Moirera de Silva, 2017). However, this is not normal and there is help out there. Sex or intimacy with your partner should not be painful! This week we will talk about how perineal massage can help improve pain with sex.

Before we dive deep, please keep in mind that this is not medical advice and should not replace evaluation and treatment by a licensed healthcare provider.

A promising research study looked at women who suffered from dyspareunia and chronic pelvic pain. Each participant had perineal massage performed and showed less pain up to 24 weeks after treatment (Moirera de Silva, 2017). Perineal massage is a technique that helps the pelvic floor muscles to lengthen and relax during penetrative intercourse.

For the treatment, women had massage performed for 5 minutes, one time per week, for a total of four weeks (Moirera de Silva, 2017). That’s 4 treatments, or 20 minutes of total time, for less pain! Wouldn’t 20 minutes of your time be worth it to have less pain with sex, allowing you to enjoy that time with your partner?

Watch the video below with Jeanice to learn how to perform a perineal massage at home.

Another way to help decrease pain with sex is to use lubricants. This can cause less tissue irritation and less pain. Some of our favorites are Good Clean Love, Aloe Cadabra, or even plain coconut oil! If you are using condoms, be sure to check the lubricant and condoms that you are using to make sure they are compatible. Not all lubricants are created equal, to learn more read our blog post.

If you continue to have pain with sex (or any other pain in your pelvic floor), that may be a sign that your pelvic floor muscles are not working properly. You may benefit from treatment by a pelvic floor physical therapist. A pelvic therapist will help to relax and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They often use a combination of hands on therapy like myofascial release, biofeedback, exercises, dilator training, and lots of education.

To learn more about your pelvic floor muscles, check out these great resources:

For providers, check out our online courses to help your clients. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!

Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT


  1. Moreira de Silva AP et al. Perineal massage improves dyspareunia caused by tenderness of the pelvic floor muscles. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2017;39(1):26-30.



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