FAQ: What do you do if someone is too big? I see a lot of stuff about being too small, but what about the opposite?
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Nobody is fully “too big” for sex.
What is possible is for partners’ bodies to be sized in a way that together makes certain kinds of sex acts uncomfortable or painful. A lot of conversations about sex put a premium on size, pushing the idea that bigger is better. Navigating this depends on what sex acts you are wanting to try, the bodies of the people involved, and what types of difficulties are coming from a size difference. While bigger may be better for some people, it’s also the case that smaller is better, or a different position is better, or sex toys are better, etc.
Most of the time when we get this question, people are asking what to do about making penetrative vaginal or anal sex more pleasurable, so we’ll focus on that scenario. Some things you can try include:
This helps reduce friction and help bodies slide more easily together.
It can take the body a few minutes to adapt to things being inserted into vaginas or butts, and going slow helps that process go more smoothly.
Penetration feels different depending on the position of your bodies. Some positions may be more comfortable than others.
Bodies are adaptable, but it can take time to get used to new experiences or sensations. Working on this could include:
You can tense up when you’re feeling nervous, experiencing new sensations, or are in pain. Creating a comfortable atmosphere helps your body relax more, and you may be less likely to react strongly to unfamiliar feelings.
Remember: Vaginas and Butts are different! So how comfortable something is fitting into a vagina won’t necessarily be the same for inserting it also into that person’s anus.
It is possible for someone to experience pain or discomfort because of condoms. If someone is wearing the wrong size of external condom on their penis, this can make sex less pleasurable and lead to condoms breaking.
In this situation, it could be worth exploring different external condom brands or sizes. The same way that a medium shirt from one store can fit differently than a medium shirt from somewhere else, different external condom brands will fit a bit differently too. And if the standard sizes don’t work, see if maybe larger sizes or comfort tip ones are more comfortable. If it’s a mild discomfort, you can try putting a drop of lube inside the condom before putting it on. There’s also the option for the receptive partner to insert internal condoms for penetrative sex.
If penetrative sex is still painful/uncomfortable, then it might be worth exploring other activities. Things like mutual masturbation, frottage, handjobs, blowjobs, etc., — there are so many parts of the body that can be engaged in different ways during sex! A lot of emphasis gets put on penetrative sex, but that isn’t the only option for partners wanting to have sexual fun together.
That said, sex acts don’t all feel the same. While different sex acts provide different physical sensations, they can also serve different emotional needs around fantasies or intimacy. If penetrative sex just isn’t working for you or your partner(s), this might be a time to talk about how much of a need it is for your desired sex life.
If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]
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Planned Parenthood Toronto’s “Youth and Healthcare Rights” resource lays out young people’s rights for when they go to a clinic. Check ’em out!
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