If your partner has a big penis and the sex is painful or anxiety-inducing, start here.

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HUMP DAY: Big Penis
Credit: Owen Franken/Getty Images

DEAR DR. JENN,

My new boyfriend is extremely well-endowed and while I hate to sound ungrateful for my good fortune, it is more than I can handle. I understand that vaginas are made to birth babies but the sex is painful and becoming anxiety-inducing. What can I do to make things better in bed for both of us? —Even Bigger Big Dick Energy

DEAR BIGGER BDE,

Studies show that 75% of women experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives. A man who is well, too well-endowed can provide additional challenges. 

The average penis has been reported to be 3.5 inches flaccid and 6 inches erect.  According to a study in Psychology of Men and Masculinity, the erect penis breakdown is as follows:

  • 68% measure 4.6 to 6.0 inches
  • 13.5% measure 3.5 to 4.5 inches
  • 13.5% measure 6.1 to 6.8 inches 
  • 2.5% measure over 6.9 inches 
  • 2.5% measure less than 3.7 inches

And FYI, contrary to popular opinion, studies show that there is no relationship between physical traits like foot size, hand size, height, or weight. You simply never know until the pants are dropped!

Interestingly, the same study found that 45% of men were unsatisfied with their penis size yet 84% of women report being satisfied with their partner's size. Many men tend to feel insecure or concerned about their size — and most seem to be focused on length. But given that the 'G Spot' is located 1 to 3 inches up the anterior vaginal wall, great length is not needed. Many sex therapists report that women prefer girth to length because thickness provides what they call containment, a feeling of fullness in the vaginal wall. But I digress.

Avoiding pain during sex if your guy has a large penis can be challenging, but not impossible by any means. There are a lot of things you can do to make the sexual experience great for both of you if your partner is packing large down below.

Rule out the physical. 

First, you want to take a trip to your gynecologist to rule out any physiological problems that may be the cause of pain. Some common medical problems that can cause pain during intercourse are vulvodynia, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, a bladder infection, bacterial infection, or STI. So make sure you talk to your doctor and rule out any of the above first.

Review your medications. 

Many common medications such as antihistamines, asthma medications, birth control pills, cold or allergy medication, sedatives, blood pressure medication, heart medication, and estrogen modulators that are sometimes used in cancer treatment can make natural lubrication more difficult to come by, causing pain during intercourse. Don't just go cold turkey on any medications without talking to your doctor first. Sometimes there are other options to address the same medical issues without making it more difficult to get lubricated.

Lube up! 

A little lubricant can go a long way towards making sex great. A lot of people think lube is only for use when there is a problem, but it is actually one of the most underutilized sex enhancers I know of. Inexpensive and multifunctional lube can reduce friction, reduce chafing, and get things moving better. You wouldn't go down a waterslide without any water. Sex is no different. 

Don't rush the foreplay. 

Foreplay gets the body ready for penetration. Typically it takes a woman's body a little bit longer to get to orgasm than it does for men. Foreplay can help line up the timing so everyone is satisfied. Foreplay will help a woman's clitoris to become erect, her cervix will rise and elongate the vaginal canal making more room for his penis and, her vagina will become lubricated which will help make sex less painful. Not to mention, it's fun! 

Pick reduced penetration positions. 

When having sex with a man who has a big penis, you will want to avoid deep penetration positions like doggy style. Instead, try missionary, spooning, side-by-side facing each other, woman on top (to allow you to have control of the penetration), or reverse cowgirl. Standing positions like three-legged dog (man standing, woman with one leg up around his waist) can also help reduce deep penetration (just be careful you don't lose your balance and fall over!) And of course, penetrative sex doesn't have to be the end all be all — try these oral sex positions to boost intimacy and pleasure.

Communicate with your partner. 

Letting your partner know what you need is an important part of having great sex. This becomes increasingly important when your lover has a body part that causes you pain. Letting him know what you like, what hurts, what positions are most comfortable. and when you are ready for penetration are very important. 

Take into consideration menopause-related issues. 

After menopause, intercourse can be painful due to decreased estrogen levels. This can make vaginal tissue less elastic and more fragile and vulnerable to tearing or pain. It can also make natural lubrication a little bit more difficult to come by. If you are going through menopause make sure to talk to your doctor to find out what the best options are for you to reduce pain and make sex more comfortable.

With good communication, awareness, some strategic positioning, and a whole lot of lubricant, you too should be having great sex in no time at all!

In Hump Day, award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sex and relationship questions — unjudged and unfiltered.