Ouch! That's a description I hear more often than you think. You're not alone. Other women also describe the sensation as sandpaper, cutting, burning, or ripping.
When a woman describes that sensation, it's usually caused by vaginal atrophy, or more likely vestibulodynia/vulvodynia. A careful exam is needed to determine exactly what's happening; proper treatment can make sex comfortable again.
It's likely that vaginal estrogen is necessary to make those tissues healthier; that alone may solve the issue. If that doesn’t completely resolve the pain, treatment options for vestibulodynia/vulvodynia should be explored.
The good news is that there is nearly always successful treatment! You can regain the intimacy you're missing in your relationship.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.