Is Sex Painful For You? Here Are 12 Reasons Why

Sex is supposed to feel good but sometimes it’s the exact opposite. There are many reasons that intimacy can be painful, but regardless of how easily solved the issue may be, it’s not one you should ignore. Here’s what could be going on.

  1. There’s not enough lubrication. Kind of an obvious one, but depending on your stress level, your horniness level, and his skills, you may not be wet enough to be able to truly enjoy sex just yet. Make sure you give yourself ample time for foreplay and maybe try to think about some sexy things in your head before actual sexy things start happening in your bed. Also, use actual lube if you need it—it makes sex way less painful and a lot more fun.
  2. You’re too stressed/wound up. Women get turned on through the brain and if our minds are racing or we’re thinking about some stressful situation that’s been bugging us all day, getting turned on isn’t something that will come easily for us. We all have those days and it doesn’t mean that you’re broken or something’s wrong, it’s just that you’re not in the mood and forcing yourself to get wet when it’s just not happening isn’t doing you any favors. Give yourself a break and know that you’ll be back in action once you’re able to chill out.
  3. He’s not the right fit. So size does matter, contrary to popular belief. Women have different sized vaginas the same way men have different sized penises. What if you have a super shallow vagina and your partner has a super long penis? No bueno. Add in a lack of lubrication and that’s a recipe for painful sex.
  4. You have an infection. Yeast infections and general pelvic inflammation can be a huge cause of pain during sex. Inflections can make your vagina feel raw and painful and sex just adds to the wincing. Taking a probiotic on a regular basis can help stave off yeast infections and getting checked by a gynecologist can help in detecting any pelvic inflammation.
  5. You have endometriosis. While unlikely, endometriosis—a medical condition where the lining of the uterus grows in other places like the fallopian tubes, ovaries, etc.—could be behind your painful sex. Don’t freak out just yet, though—it must be coupled with other symptoms in order to be diagnosable. Symptoms like consistent pain in the lower back, pain before or after menstruation, constipation, heavy bleeding, and fatigue are all grounds for investigation. If you have general pain in the pelvic area (not just during sex), perhaps endometriosis is a possibility? It’s unlikely but it couldn’t hurt to check.
  6. You’re bloated. Honestly, if you ate a bunch of Mexican food and have a stomach ache due to bloating, don’t be surprised when sex hurts later on. You might feel a deep ache in your lower belly during sex and that’s just because your intestines are filled with gas. They’re basically inflated, so any movement down there will make your stomach hurt even more than it already is.
  7. You’re about to get your period. If you know that your period is supposed to be starting soon and sex is hurting you, especially in the lower belly area, just know that it’s due to the uterus contracting. This causes the all-famous cramps we women are blessed with a day or two before our period starts. Sex can make these period cramps come to life and irritate an area that’s already irritated.
  8. You’re going through menopause. I doubt many of you reading this article are concerned about menopause, but it’s always good to know about for when our time comes! At the beginning phases of menopause, estrogen drops, which causes the lining of the vagina to become thin and dry, which can definitely cause some discomfort during sex. Whew. All you need is a little lube though and you’ll be good to go.
  9. It’s your first time. Earth to Captain Obvious. We know through movies and TV that sex for the first time is probably gonna be painful. If it’s unbearably painful, however, you might have underlying conditions that are only being realized now that a penis is inside you. Generally, though, don’t freak out if you’re still sore the next day.
  10. You’re in an awkward position. Depending on the size and depth of your vagina as well as the size and length of his penis, certain sex positions will bode better than others. Missionary is always a good one to try if you’re feeling pain due to the penis being too big.
  11. The night before was a bit too rough. If you had wild and crazy sex last night, you might be feeling a little raw the next day and any sex you have may be surprisingly painful. Consider this: what if someone rubbed your arm vigorously for three hours? It would probably feel a little sore the next day, right? Also consider that the skin lining your vagina is way more delicate than the skin on your arm. Give yourself a rest and try again when you’ve recovered.
  12. You haven’t done it in a while. All it takes is a few months for sex to feel like the first time again. If you’ve been celibate for a good amount of time, your PC muscles have gotten weak and your vagina has gotten soft and stagnant. Your first time will feel different, dare I say even a bit painful, but it’s worth it (or at least it should be, if you’re doing it right).
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.