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What Is Cervix Penetration?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 27, 2021

Cervix penetration is a term that describes making contact with the cervix during sex. Either the penis touches the cervix, or a finger, dildo, or other sex toy is used to stimulate the cervix. The term is technically incorrect — it’s not possible for a penis, finger, or similarly shaped object to penetrate the cervix.

The cervix is the neck of the uterus, located at the top of the vagina. It has a small opening to allow semen to enter the uterus and to allow menstrual blood to leave the uterus. The opening is tiny and normally closed with mucus. So the cervix may be touched during sex, but it cannot be penetrated. 

Some people find cervical stimulation pleasant. Others find it uncomfortable or even painful. Sometimes it depends on where they are in the cycle of arousal. The vagina lengthens during sexual excitement, and the cervix lifts so it is farther away from the vaginal opening. That makes it harder to touch the cervix, but possibly more pleasant if it does. 

If a woman is not sufficiently aroused when sexual play or intercourse begins, the cervix is more likely to be stimulated, but the woman is less likely to enjoy the sensation. Something similar may happen if she orgasms first and her vagina returns to its unexcited state while penetration is still taking place. 

Myths and Misconceptions About Cervical Penetration

Some people may not realize that cervical penetration is impossible. You can think of the cervix as a closed door between the uterus and the vagina. It is the reason a tampon can't get lost in the vagina. The tampon has nowhere to go. The cervix only opens up during labor. 

The cervix is also part of the reason a woman can have sex during pregnancy without fear of hurting the baby. It's like a tough cushion protecting the baby. Combined with the amniotic sac and fluid and the muscular uterus, the cervix protects the baby even from deep penetration and vigorous thrusting. If cervical penetration were possible, the baby wouldn't be as well protected.

Some of those with penises may assume that being able to reach the cervix during sex is a sign of virility and should feel amazing to the person with the cervix. Actually, cervical contact may feel highly pleasurable to one person and unpleasant or painful to another. And one person can experience that contact differently at different times, depending upon what else is going on inside the reproductive system.

In popular literature, you may see claims about women having cervical orgasms. Sex experts point out that there are very few nerve endings in the cervix. In fact, there are so few nerves that doctors can do simple medical procedures on the cervix without anesthetic. Still, sex experts are reluctant to deny a person's experience of sexual pleasure.

How to Explore Cervix Penetration

If you've never experienced cervical contact and you would like to, you can try it with a partner or go solo. With a partner, you'll learn that sexual position is key. Some positions give you much deeper penetration than others. If you are stimulating yourself, you can use a finger or a sex toy.

In any case, take it slowly, use lube, and stop if you feel a sharp pain. Deep penetration that is too vigorous could cause a bruised cervix, which isn't serious but could cause pain that lasts for a while. Follow the same rules if a partner is stimulating you manually.

Safety Advice and Special Considerations

It's not unusual to experience a little pain during intercourse. You can prevent most pain with a few simple steps. Use lube, allow for plenty of foreplay, and change positions if one position is uncomfortable. 

Pain upon deep penetration can have other causes that aren't so easily fixed. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and ectopic pregnancy. Check with your doctor if you have pain that is sharp or persistent. But remember it's also possible that you don't like cervical stimulation.

It's fairly common to have a little bleeding after sex. If it persists or if the vulva or vagina feels raw or itchy, see your doctor. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Sexual Health: Female Pain During Sex (Dyspareunia)."

Columbia University: Go Ask Alice: "How deep is the average vagina, and does it elongate when something's in it?"

Columbia University: Go Ask Alice: "Possible to penetrate the cervix during sex?"

Hancock Health: "What is the Cervix and What Does it Do?"

HealthyWomen: "Could You Have a Bruised Cervix?"

Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health: "Sex During Pregnancy."

Mayo Clinic: "Vaginal bleeding after sex."

Sexual and Relationship Therapy: "The involvement of the human cervix in reproduction and sex."

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