11 Causes of Pain During Sexual Intercourse

· February 4, 2017
3 out of 4 sexually active women report experiencing some type of discomfort during sex. This discomfort may be caused by many different gynecological, physical, emotional and psychological conditions.

Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse is quite common, and could cause problems with sexual satisfaction.

According to information from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 3 out of 4 sexually active women have experienced some type of discomfort during sex.

This pain or discomfort often occurs in the vulva or other areas that surround the opening of the vagina. This pain or discomfort frequently extends to the lower back, the pelvic area and even the uterus and  bladder.

This causes a change in women’s sexual performance and also results in emotional reactions.

There are many causes of this problem that are all related to various gynecological conditions and a lack of arousal.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the 11 most common causes of discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse.

Why do I experience pain during sexual intercourse?

1. Skin problems

Woman with her hands covering her pelvis

One common cause of pain during sexual intercourse are ulcers that develop on the delicate skin of the vulva.

Another common cause is dermatitis and allergic reactions caused by a pH imbalance in the vaginal flora.

You should be careful when using perfumed soaps or lubricants, since they can sometimes cause these problems.

Read also:

Vaginal Infections: The Types and Causes

2. A vaginal tear when having sex

Women can also suffer from several internal tears during sex. These can be the source of pain during sexual intercourse and the source of difficulties in maintaining a sexual relationship.

These tears are caused by increased force exerted on the vaginal passage and sometimes by small injuries.

If the pain remains and leads to the appearance of more symptoms, visit your gynecologist as soon as possible.

3. Vaginal dryness

Worried woman

Vaginal dryness can happen at any age. However, it’s more common during perimenopause or menopause itself.

This condition happens because of a decrease in estrogen levels. An imbalance of this hormone affects vaginal lubrication. As a consequence, this hormone imbalance could cause irritation and a burning sensation during sex.

In these cases, it’s best to buy lubricants that are sold in pharmacies to resolve this problem. You can also use various home remedies to control hormonal imbalance.

4. Vaginitis

Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina, which is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. Women with this condition not only experience discomfort during sexual intercourse, but also a burning sensation and unusual discharge.

5. Vaginismus

Woman with vaginismus

Vaginismus is a condition that’s characterized by the involuntary tightening of the walls that surround the vagina, which makes penetration difficult.

This is one of the greatest causes of pain after having sex. This condition is also sometimes a sign of scars or tumors inside the vagina.

Vaginismus treatment usually involves continuous practice of kegel exercises.

6. Episotomy

The incision made in the vagina during childbirth or tears in the perineum can also cause problems during sexual intercourse months after giving birth.

To treat this problem, doctors suggest physical therapy, medication, and in special cases, surgery.

Read also:

Women Need a Year to Recover After Childbirth

7. Latex condom allergies

Man opening a condom

A small number of women have allergic reactions to materials found in condoms and latex.

The discomfort caused by this allergic reaction starts at the very beginning of sexual intercourse and often stops women from fully enjoying sex.

8. Emotional problems

Emotional health plays a major role in the pleasure aroused during sexual intercourse. Feelings such as fear, guilt, shame and stress prevent women from fully relaxing, which is necessary to be aroused.

Because of this, sexual desire decreases, which could lead to pain during penetration.

9. Relationship problems

Couple fighting in bed

Although many people are unaware of this, relationship problems can interfere with sexual arousal.

This is because a lack of communication, sexual difficulties or infidelity can cause negative effects when it comes to having sexual relations.

10. Certain medications

One of the side effects of taking birth control is a low sex drive.

Furthermore, this side effect occurs when consuming too many analgesics and antibiotics, which also affect the natural lubrication of the vagina.

11. Cystitis

Woman at the gynecologist

Bladder inflammation, which is caused by bacterial infections, can also lead to discomfort when having sex.

This is because the continuous desire to urinate and vaginal burning cause pain and a loss of sex drive.

As women, it’s important to tend to these conditions in a timely manner in order to prevent them from affecting your sex life. 

A gynecological consultation can determine what your problem is and the best way to treat and control it.