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Can Sex Hurt? Things to know about painful sex

Sex is a wonderful and natural thing that can bring pleasure. But when it starts to hurt, it’s a big problem.

Feeling pain during sex is a common sign that something might be wrong with your private parts. However, don’t panic right away and assume you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Take a moment to think about where and how you’re feeling the pain. Is it in one specific area or all over? Does it feel like burning, stinging, or just a dull ache? Are you seeing any bleeding during or after sex?

It’s important to pay attention to these symptoms and observations. That way, you can have a better idea of what might be wrong when sex becomes painful. We’ve created a guide to help you understand why sex might hurt, whether you’re a man or a woman.

Painful Sex for Women

  1. Burning and Itching: If you feel a burning sensation along with severe itching and a cottage cheese-like discharge, it could be a yeast infection. This can make your vagina swell and cause pain during sex.
  2. Fishy Odor: If you experience burning, itching, and a fishy smell, it might be bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  3. Deep Pain: If you feel deep pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis during sex, it could be Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID also causes irregular bleeding, fever, and painful urination.
  4. Painful Position: Sometimes, deep pain during sex can happen because your partner is hitting your cervix. In this case, changing the angle or position might help.
  5. Dryness: If your vagina feels very dry during sex, it could be due to menopause. But if you’re younger and not going through menopause, it might be because of birth control pills, decongestants, or a lack of arousal.
  6. Throbbing Pain: Endometriosis, where the lining of your uterus grows outside of it, can cause throbbing pain and cramping. Your periods may also become heavier.
  7. Pain and Urination: Feeling like you need to pee during sex can be a sign of interstitial cystitis, a condition causing pressure on your bladder.
  8. Sharp Pain Outside: If you experience sharp pain on the outside of your vagina, it could be due to skin irritation, a pimple, or an ingrown hair.
  9. Stabbing Pain: Vulvodynia can cause a stabbing pain when touched near the entrance of your vagina. It can be triggered by sex, exercise, tight clothing, or any contact with that area.
  10. Vaginal Clamping: If your vagina tightens painfully during penetration, it might be vaginismus, often linked to psychological factors.
  11. Hymen Trouble: If you can’t have sex or insert anything because it hurts a lot, it could be because your hymen is completely or partially intact.

Painful Sex for Men

If you’re a man and experiencing discomfort or pain in your genital area, here are some signs to watch for, both during sex and urination:

  1. Swollen Balls: Painful urination, swollen testicles, and unusual penile discharge could be signs of chlamydia.
  2. Yellow or Green Discharge: Swollen testicles, painful urination, and green or yellow discharge might indicate gonorrhea.
  3. Blisters: Blisters on your genitals, accompanied by tingling, itching, and burning sensations, could be due to herpes simplex virus.
  4. Small Sore: A small, firm, and painless sore on your penis, anus, or lips might be a sign of syphilis, which increases the risk of HIV.

If you’re experiencing pain during sex, don’t be afraid to talk to your partner or a doctor. It’s essential to find out the cause and get proper treatment, whether it’s an STD or another medical condition. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from seeking help; early treatment is important.

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