7 Reasons You’re Experiencing Pain During Sex

Pain during sex (medical called: dyspareunia) is a common problem for anyone with a vulva. Wondering Why does it hurt when I have sex is less common, though not unheard of, for penis-owners.

Sex isn’t supposed to hurt. It’s supposed to feel good! Really good if you’re doing it right. If you’re experiencing painful sex - don’t panic. Most causes of painful sex aren’t serious, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

If sex is painful, talk to your partner and take a visit to your gynecologist. There will probably be a simple cause and solution to help you experience the pleasure you deserve.

Here are 7 Common Causes of Pain During Sex

1. Vaginal dryness

Why does it hurt when I have sex? Being too dry is the most common reason people experience painful penetrative sex. And there are a few different reasons why you could be dry down there.

Often, sex is painful because you’re not fully aroused or relaxed. It takes most people with vulvas around 20 minutes to reach full arousal. The solution? Take it slow and never forget about foreplay - whatever that means to you.

You might also be dry down there because you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or uncomfortable.

Hormones also have a big impact on vaginal wetness. Taking hormonal birth control or being pregnant or menopausal can influence how wet you get. Read more about the causes and solutions of vaginal dryness here.

Sad couple back to back in bed

2. The wrong sex position

Some sex positions just won’t suit your anatomy - especially if you’re partner is on the larger side or thrusting hard.

If your uterus or their penis tilts a certain way, some positions will hit your insides all wrong and be uncomfortable or painful. Tell your partner straight away and switch it up. Or hop on top and control the action yourself.

3. An undiagnosed gynecological condition

Several different gynecological conditions can lead to painful sex. Fortunately, most are treatable with a trip to the gyno.

Generally, you’ll know you have a yeast infection because it itches, but it can also make penetration painful because of tissue inflammation.

Endometriosis, a condition that causes the cells that line the uterine to grow elsewhere, can cause pain during sex as well as painful period cramps.

Vaginismus is a condition that involves the vagina muscles involuntary clenching when penetrated. This can be due to previous trauma and anxiety, or for no conscious reason at all. Speak with your gynecologist about the best solutions for you.

4. Irritation

It’s not uncommon for people to experience discomfort or irritation during sex from latex condoms, specific lubes, soaps, or spermicide. If you think one of these could be the cause, and trial and error until you find the guilty party.

Woman with undone bra holding condom and pill

5. A harmless growth

That’s right - it’s not unusual to have benign tissue or fluid-filled growths inside your uterus or on your ovaries.

Uterine fibroids are benign muscle tissue growths that can sit inside your uterus and cause pain during sex when poked at.

Ovarian cysts are more common than you think and can be pressed against or even burst during sex, causing pain.

These may disappear on their own, but visit your gynecologist to be on the safe side.

6. Bloating

Ever eaten a mountain of cheese and then wondered Why does it hurt when I have sex?

It might seem wild, but simply being too full can lead to painful sex. If you’ve got a full stomach or bladder or are an IBS sufferer, the bloating can put pressure on your organs or lower stomach, which can make sex uncomfortable on your insides.

Be mindful of what you consume before sex and of going to the toilet.

7. Rough sex

Sometimes pain equals pleasure - we know. But there’s a difference between consensual rough sex that leaves you with a sexy bruise and suffering real damage to your insides.

If penetration is painful it could be because the sex you’re having is too hardcore and has resulted in scarring or other internal damage. This isn’t good for your body, so take time to heal and consider alternative ways to explore pleasurable pain in sex.

Couple smiling and hugging in bed

These are the most common causes of painful sex. If you’re one of many people wondering Why does it hurt when I have sex? consult this list, talk to your lover and book a gyno appointment to get it solved promptly.

Why? Because you deserve really great sex.