Turns out, there’s a downside to being well-endowed. “Everyone assumes women want large penises,” says Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and sex therapist and resident sex and relationship expert for Adam & Eve. “But many don’t realize the pain and discomfort that can go into having penetrative sex. And interestingly, many well-endowed men I’ve worked with say that sometimes it inhibits the kind of sex they want to have,” she explains.

If you’re finding certain positions difficult, or even painful for your partner, here are some helpful tips and techniques to implement—as well as answers to your most pressing questions.  

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How to talk to her about having more comfortable sex

You’ll know if some positions are uncomfortable or even hurting her just by paying attention to her body language, expression, and of course, if she says anything (like, “ow”). It’s not nearly as awkward as you think. You just need to test the waters and have the conversation when you think she’ll be most comfortable. 

“You’ll know your partner best in regards to how to approach,” Van Kirk says. “Sometimes saying something during sex makes the most sense with an adventurous partner, while others need a seed or two planted first,” she explains.

For example, if you two are pretty open in the bedroom and have no problem voicing what you want, what feels good, and what doesn’t, ask her. Refrain from checking in after every microadjustment (that’s just one of the things that seriously turn women off in bed); that’s going to take her out of the mood and feel like an exam rather than great sex. But if you know (or have an inkling that) doggie style is uncomfortable for her, bring up the fact you want sex to feel amazing for both of you and want to figure out the right tempo, depth of penetration, and rhythm that sets her off in all the right ways. If she agrees, start slow and go through some trial and error.

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If you think she’d be more comfortable discussing the topic if you tackle it from the side, rather than head-on, bring up a relevant conversation—like how you read on Men’s Fitness there are ideal sex positions for well-endowed guys. Let that be the ice breaker. Read some of the positions aloud to her and how there’s a fine line “between that deep penetration you crave and not causing her pain” (that line’s from the story—in all seriousness, go read it). Ask her if there are some positions in which the penetration is too deep. Odds are this will lay the groundwork for some honest conversation. If she’s still hesitant, share something you love about sex with her and how you never want her to be uncomfortable.

If you’re with a new girl, you have one of two options. You can unsheathe your sword and let her reaction guide your response (“after all, every vagina is different,” Van Kirk says). Or, you can recognize the elephant in the room and tell her you have a large penis before you have sex. “This is not usually ego driven because lots of men have had negative sexual experiences including pain, impairment or injuries as a result of not mentioning it,” Van Kirk says. By mentioning it early on, you can have a more open discussion and ease into different positions without her feeling pressure to just go along for the ride. This is important for you, too; some positions can actually break your penis

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The best and worst sex positions for well-endowed guys

Rear entry positions, like doggie and especially anal, missionary, and cowgirl all have angles that put you really deep inside her. That doesn’t mean you can’t do them, you just need to make adjustments and try variations (again, check out the best positions for well-endowed guys for alternatives to your favorite positions). 

Positions that are typically “safe” include spooning, standing from behind (you can’t penetrate as deeply when you’re both standing), standing face-to-face (support one of her legs by grabbing the back of her thigh), and modified cowgirl or girl on top so she can control the depth.

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Tips to maximize pleasure and minimize pain

Utilize the shaft of your penis more and focus more on clitoral stimulation rather than deep penetration, Van Kirk says. Also, pay more attention to foreplay—kissing, licking, nibbling, etc., she adds. If you jump from zero to 100, she’s not going to have enough time to “warm up.”

“Do some mutual masturbation with finger insertion at the get-go to help relax and arouse her,” Van Kirk says. “Then, use smaller or graduated sex toys as a way of preparing her for penetration.” If she’s still finding certain positions painful, give her all the control. If she’s on top, she can lower on to and use the shaft of your penis first before working up to fully inserting it, she explains. 

And if you’re not using any lubricant, run to the store, man! “Lubes always help,” Van Kirk says. “Dry sex with a large penis can entail bruising, abrasions, and pain: Always be prepared with a good lube.” Here are our top picks for pretty much every situation you could ever find yourself in.