Painful sex plagues 3 in 4 women – but new £60 'Ohnut' sex toy promises to change that
It can cause so much discomfort, women go to great lengths to avoid getting intimate, putting strain on relationships.
But, it's not just a case of a woman going off sex, there's a medical term for it – dyspareunia.
The umbrella term is used to describe a number of reasons why sex might be uncomfortable, even agony, for women.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists some 75 per cent of women experience painful sex at some point in their lives.
Now, one woman who has endured the condition has created a product, which she hopes will end the pain of sex for millions of women – the "Ohnut".
Emily Sauer, 33, described having sex as being "like Mohammed Ali punching my cervix" before she found a way to combat it.
Thinking there had to be a better way for women to regain control of their sex lives, Emily started creating prototypes in her kitchen in Brooklyn, New York last year.
Her aim was to design something that would be easy to use and make sex less painful.
After testing her prototypes out in the bedroom herself, she developed the "Ohnut", which is designed so it can be used with condoms as well.
"For the longest time I felt so alone in my experience of painful sex because doctors didn't want to help and I was too embarrassed to talk to friends," she said.
"We all know that the internet is the worst place to look for answers when it comes to this stuff."
But painful sex is not an inevitability or a pleasure death sentence, she added.
It made sex feel so much more pleasurable. We just got to explore each other more.
"There are existing treatment options for pelvic health that include pelvic floor physical therapy, dilator therapy, or surgery," Emily wrote in a blog post on the company's website.
"While these can all be very beneficial, we need to continue to investigate painful sex and expand treatment options to meet the needs and the budgets of all.
"One of the new kids on the health-tech block is Ohnut, a doughnut-shaped intimate wearable designed to address deep dyspareunia.
"With a series of interlocking polymer blend rings that slip down the penis or dildo, Ohnut allows users to customise the depth of penetration."
The Ohnut, is a "comfy wearable" rubber ring that can be fitted on to the base of a man's penis or a sex toy.
It stops a man's penis from thrusting too deep – giving a woman more control to ease the pain.
The device, which costs £60, is made up of four separate rings, allowing a couple to vary the depth of penetration as is comfortable.
And the bonus is, the ring feels good for your partner too – still giving the feel of full penetration.
It really has changed to much in my life, and my partner thanks you too," another said in a testimonial video.
Those who have used the Ohnut say it has transformed their sex lives.
"It made sex feel so much more pleasurable. We just got to explore each other more," Anya wrote on the companies Kickstarter website.
Josh added: "I couldn't tell what was my skin and what wasn't my skin. It felt like a hug."
"It really has changed to much in my life, and my partner thanks you too," another said in a testimonial video.
What causes painful sex?
Infections like thrush and sexually transmitted infections can cause discomfort, as can the menopause, which causes the vagina to become dry.
Another major cause of painful sex if vaginismus, which causes a woman's pelvic floor muscles to knot up and spasm.
It happens during penetration, whether with your man or using a sex toy, is attempted.
Even using tampons or a visit to the gynaecologist can leave sufferers in agony.
Vaginismus can completely disrupt a woman's sex life and cause her to lose all confidence in the bedroom.
And it can also lead to relationship problems even preventing women get pregnant.
The condition varies from person to person – some women are unable to insert anything into their vagina, some can use a tampon but cannot have sex and some can have sex but find it extremely painful, according to the NHS.
As mentioned above, dilators are often used to "retrain" the vagina to cope with penetration, as is physical and psychotherapy treatment.
Some women have reported having great results using Botox.
Botox is thought to weaken the muscle spasms that are causing the vaginismus.
The treatment involves injections into the vagina muscles while under anaesthesia, but it is thought to only last about four months.
As for how long it will take before the treatment works, it varies from woman to woman.
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