It can be uncomfortable to talk about issues related to sexual intimacy, but I'm always amazed by what can happen when we do. The story of Ohnut is an example. Emily Sauer was experiencing sex that was so painful that she described it as feeling like Muhammad Ali punching her cervix. She had an idea for a new product that would solve that, but first she was going to have to talk about the problem.
As she began sharing this very personal information about herself, many women said something surprising to her. They said they could relate—that they'd had painful sex (also known as dyspareunia), too.
That was all the encouragement she needed to develop the Ohnut. Women who tested versions of the product while it was in development kept her going with comments like, "Sex has been better than it has been in years."
A set of five stretchy, silicone rings, Ohnut allows you to control the depth of penetration during sex. It slips over the penis and acts as a buffer to prevent penetration that's so deep that it's painful. By adding or subtracting one or more interlocking rings, it can be customized.
The mismatch between partners that causes this kind of pain can happen for a variety of reasons. It may simply be the build of your bodies. Vaginal atrophy, which includes both narrowing and shortening of the vagina, and scar tissue are other culprits. The Ohnut may provide relief.
Another option to consider is the Tor 2, a vibrating penile ring that helps a man maintain arousal and provides additional sensation for his partner while also preventing deep thrusting.
As a longtime gynecologist who has talked to thousands of women, I can tell you that whatever you're experiencing, you're not weird or even alone. And there's likely something that can be done to help you. So, take a deep breath and tell your health care provider what's going on.
Barb DePree, MD, has been a gynecologist for 30 years, specializing in menopause care for the past 10. Dr. DePree was named the Certified Menopause Practitioner of the Year in 2013 by the North American Menopause Society. The award particularly recognized the outreach, communication and education she does through MiddlesexMD, a website she founded and where this blog first appeared. She also is director of the Women's Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan.