There are several reasons that vaginal pain can happen (which I discuss in my new book, Naked at Our Age). With age, especially if you're sexually inactive, the vaginal tissues thin and there's less blood flow to the genitals. Without vaginal penetration and/or regular orgasms and internal stimulation, the pelvic floor can lose its ability to relax, and in its contracted state, the vaginal opening feels too tight to admit a penis or a larger-than-slim sex toy. If this is your situation, please download this Vaginal Renewal program from the wonderful folks at A Woman's Touch sexuality resource center, and put it into action for the sake of your sexual health and future joy.
Part of this program is at least one orgasm a week (you don't need a partner for that!) and internal massage using vibration. Yes, really. Internal massage with vibration brings blood flow to the vagina and helps strengthen the tissues. If you're so tight that insertion hurts, vaginal dilators will help. These are more wands than dildos, starting very slim and progressing in graduated sizes as your body adapts and is able to accept more.
It used to be a hassle to even find vaginal dilators, but now there are two different styles that are easily obtainable and will fill your needs:
FeMani (formerly Oasis Dilator Set) is made of smooth, durable, ABS plastic and comes in three graduated widths: Slim (1/2"), Midi (1"), and Maxi (1.25"). Order the size or sizes you need for $25 each. If you've been finding insertion painful, the 1/2" size is a good place to start, then you can order larger as you're ready. Each has a dial to control vibration intensity, from very mild to moderately intense. Thank you, Babeland, for sending me this set for review.
Both brands do the job well. The FeMani is longer, an advantage for sending the vibrational massage all the way through your vagina. If you need super slim, the FeMani has the thinnest. If you don't have a problem with tightness and you like a fuller feeling, the Berman set has the thickest.
Using dilators is a process for your own sexual health and the health of a relationship you might have now or in the future--and it can be extremely pleasurable, besides! For optimal pleasure, pair your dilator with a clitoral massager (see an array of reviews in my other sex toy posts here).