Helping out a friend

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    This is probably a weird question and I’m not sure this is the right place to seek help, but you never know.

    I’m living together with a (female) friend of mine. Last month we stared renting a house together (too expensive otherwise for young people like us).

    We both (recently) have a boyfriend, and when my friend invites her BF over to our place, I usually make sure I go to the movies with someone, or turn on the tv or listen to a podcast, whatever… I give her some privacy. Of course I’m not stupid and I know what’s happening inside her bedroom, but we have to live with that as long as we are renting the place together.

    Two weeks ago I was at home and although I tried not to mind, I could hear them having sex and she clearly didn’t enjoy it. I could hear her moaning load and saying it hurt several times, however, she also asked her BF not to stop. I had the feeling this was not just something like “ouch this feels uncomfortable” but really “god damn this hurts a lot”. So I’m thinking: could this be vaginismus? The problem is: I don’t want to give her the idea I’m listening in on them. I also know she only recently started having sex so I’m really not sure if it IS vaginismus, which is my I’m very hesitant to start talking about it.

    She’s my friend and I want to help her, protect her, and I surely don’t want her to be in pain during sex, but I really don’t know what I should do. How can I bring this up and tell her to go and seek help from a doctor?


    Hi Juliette!
    I do have to say that sex IS a learning process with any partner experienced or not. It takes time to learn your partners body and find what works and what doesn’t. If she just started having penetrative sex after not ever having experienced it, it may be that she isn’t used to having sex. Maybe she isn’t using enough lube, or the position allows too deep of a penetration and it’s hitting her cervix. But as someone who experienced vaginismus, there are a lot of emotions attached to it. Maybe you could just ask her about what you heard. Let her know you didn’t want to hear, you didn’t try to but that you want to make sure she is okay. It might be really comforting to let her know if you’re okay with accompanying her to a doctors visit IF she felt she needed to. Just to let her know you are there and you care. But I wouldn’t bring up vaginismus to her unless she is ready and willing to talk about what you heard. Sometimes unexplainable pain can be scary and it’s best to see a doctor for a diagnosis so there isn’t fear about the what could be’s. I hope this helps!


    I think Heather’s advice is excellent and sensitive – I also want to say that it’s very compassionate of you to care for your friend in this way! If you don’t want to bring up what you heard, you could try being even more subtle about it since you both recently started dating new people and ask questions about how that relationship is going and wind the conversation toward sex if you feel comfortable doing so. But I think there’s also something to be said for just admitting what you heard and checking in as a concerned friend without bringing up any particular diagnoses – just offering yourself as a resource to talk about it or to provide support in going to a gynecologist. Hope this helps and that your friend is in less pain soon!

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