One in six women are putting up with sexual discomfort

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls,
updated on Oct 27, 2021

One in six women are putting up with sexual discomfort

New research from Durex highlights what’s holding women back from enjoying sex

For heterosexual couples, the pleasure gap sees a disparity in sexual satisfaction, with women getting the raw end of the deal. A new poll from sexual wellbeing brand Durex has investigated sexual discomfort in women and found that 45% of us (one in six) put up with discomfort ‘often’ or ‘all the time’.

Some of the top reasons identified in the poll were vaginal dryness (46%) and not being aroused enough (44%), however, 45% said it’s because they don’t know what’s normal for them. On top of this, 18% said they didn’t realise vaginal dryness is part of the monthly menstrual cycle and three in five wished it was more acceptable to talk about female sexual satisfaction more openly.

Of those polled, half said they would want to learn more about improving sexual satisfaction for both themselves and their partners.

Learning more about female sexual satisfaction and indeed female anatomy is key. 76% of those polled said the sex education they received did not teach them about what to expect during sex in terms of satisfaction, while three in 10 admitted they had never been taught about female anatomy.

If you can relate to this, it may be time to do a little research. Here are some resources to help you (and your partner) learn more about the vulva:

Lindsey Forbes, Wellness Category Manager at Durex also notes the importance of open communication.

“We know sometimes, it can feel a little awkward or taboo to bring up sensitive topics like sex, discomfort and your body with others, whether it’s friends, family or even your sexual partner, but open communication is a great step to improving your experiences.

“Durex wants to encourage all women to talk more openly about things like vaginal dryness, understand what they can do about it and help more women to get the best out of sex.”

Knowing what’s normal for us and what we like is another part of the puzzle, and masturbation can be a handy tool here (pun not intended…). As well as helping us learn what turns us on, masturbation can actually improve self-esteem and aid sleep.

Tuning in to what we like during partnered sex is also essential. In her article, three steps to finding your sexual voice, counsellor Bonnie Davies shares tips to help you explore and communicate your needs.

“Having a sexual voice is about more than the words you say, although these are important,” Bonnie writes.

“It is also about the choices you make and the actions you take. If you struggle to express your feelings and needs in your life, it can eventually come to feel as if you are imprisoned. Liberating yourself does not have to change your personality but it may lead to some changes in your life. It also has the potential to lead you to deeper fulfilment and intimacy in your current and/or future sexual relationships.”

Learning more about the vulva, tuning in to what we like during sex and speaking up about what we want can all go a long way in improving sexual satisfaction. Aiding this work, Durex’s Natural range offers lubricants and lubricated condoms that are pH-friendly and work with your body to add comfort because, whew… we deserve it.

If your sex life is suffering and you’re struggling to improve it alone, you may find it helpful to explore psychosexual therapy. Learn more and find a therapist at Counselling Directory.

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