pain during sex

Sexual intercourse and vaginal penetration can be very painful or troubling for some females. The medical term for such pain or painful intercourse as Dyspareunia. There can be many reasons leading to this condition. It may vary from physical to psychological reasons. Many women face the problem of painful intercourse at different points in their life. If this happens once in a blue moon, it can be considered normal but if the pain is experienced regularly during intercourse or occurs very often, consult your gynecologist.

Pain during intercourse can have a bad effect on both male and female partners. As per a survey, about 20 percent of women experience such pain during sex. Reasons for painful sex may vary from physical to psychological factors in different cases. This problem can lead to distress and problems in the relationship between male and female partners.

This condition can cause recurrent or persistent pain. It may lead to several other problems, especially related to the female’s genitals if left untreated.

Causes of Painful Sex or Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is seen mostly in women. However, it may be seen in males also. The pain experienced in this condition can vary from mild to severe and unbearable pain. Pain can also be experienced after intercourse. The proper cause of the pain is supposed to be discovered and identified by the doctor and the treatment is done accordingly. The treatment widely varies as per the causes of Dyspareunia. Below are mentioned the causes for Dyspareunia :

  • Vaginitis 

female having vaginal pain

 In vaginitis, there may be an involuntary spasm in the muscles of the vagina. This may be an involuntary action caused by the fear of getting hurt or pain during intercourse.

  • Vaginal Infections

 Vaginal Infections are a common reason for pain during sex. The female might be suffering from an undiagnosed yeast infection if experiencing such symptoms. Vaginal infections can be very harmful if left untreated. So, consult a gynecologist to the soonest on having symptoms of vaginal infections. 

  • Complications with Cervix

This is not a common condition in which upon penetration, the penis can reach up to the cervix to the maximum. Maximum penetration is seen in this case. This can lead to problems and complications such as cervix infections.

  • Complications with the Uterus

Uterine Fibroids can cause deep pain during intercourse, especially during deep thrusting. Other symptoms of uterine fibroids can include abnormal menstrual bleeding, very heavy and long periods, and severe symptoms of PMS. 

  • Complications with Ovaries

Cysts on ovaries may be a reason for painful intercourse. Having ovarian cysts is a serious medical condition and should not be avoided. 

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID may cause pain during sex. In this case, tissues present deep inside the vagina become inflamed and when pressure is exerted during intercourse, it causes pain.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a rare pregnancy complication in which the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus. This can cause pain while having sex.

  • Menopause

female having sexual problems during menopause

 Women generally experience pain during sex when they are about to reach menopause. The vaginal lining becomes dry and lacks its normal moisture while on menopause, which can cause pain. Such symptoms can be more severe in case the female has PCOS as PCOS and menopause can affect each other.  

Also Read- How is Sex affected post Menopause?

  • Injury

 Injury to vagina, vulva, or labia will cause pain during sex. This includes cases like tear or cuts because of childbirth or due to cuts or tears on the skin and tissues between the anus and the vagina ( this generally happens during excessive stretching at the time of labor).

  • Vulvodynia

The female experiences chronic pain in this case. The genitals of the female including vulva, labia, clitoris, or vaginal opening may be effected in this case. This pain may be experienced at one point or the whole vaginal area.


  • Childbirth or any recent surgery around the abdominal or stomach area may cause pain.
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases like Genital Warts, Herpes or Sores can also cause pain.
  • Change in Sexual Behavior
  • Excessively tight vagina.

This is a serious condition and should not be avoided. The pain does not go away on its own in most cases. In fact, it gets worse with time. Get professional help before it gets too late.

Pain during intercourse in Men

sad couple in bed

Painful intercourse in men is very rare. Although, they do exist. Just like in the case of females, various factors may lead to pain during sex. Below are mentioned the common causes of it. Treatments are available to all such complications. Many men are not comfortable and feel shy to discuss such problems related to their reproductive organs, sex life or genitals with a professional. It should be understood that such problems can become very worse if avoided. Make sure to pay attention to the symptoms and consult a professional.

Causes of Painful sex in men

  • Infections 
  • Phimosis (excessively tight foreskin can lead to pain while penetration. The foreskin gets pushed back and becomes painful while penetration)
  • Tear or cut on the foreskin, which generally cannot be seen or identified with the naked eye can cause soreness and pain around the affected area. This is generally more pain during sex.
  • Prostatitis
  • Swelling and pain in the testicle.

How does Painful or Discomforting Intercourse feel?

sad couple in bed

Pelvic, vaginal pain or pain in or around the labia or vulva region can be experienced during sexual intercourse in the case of Dyspareunia. The pain may be accompanied by itching, irritation, or burning sensation. The female can easily identify such pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of Dyspareunia

  • Pain while penetration in the vagina. The pain may vary from mild discomfort to severe pain in the vaginal region.
  • Deep pain may be experienced by some females.
  • The female may complain of muscle cramps, spasms, pelvic pain or cramps, or muscle tightness.
  • Primary pain is experienced by some females. The complete sexual intercourse is painful for the female in this case.
  • Some females may experience deep thrust pain in the cervix or lower abdominal area. This pain is generally experienced the most at the time of penetration.
  • In severe and rare cases, there may be females that have pain while intercourse or penetration during their entire lifetime.

Visit a doctor 

gynecologist examining a woman's vaginal area in clinic

Sex is not meant to be painful. Some pain or discomfort may be experienced rarely. But it is not supposed to occur frequently or often. Consult a medical advisor to the soonest if you are experiencing painful intercourse or penetration. The condition of the female may even worsen in some cases if the treatment is not done. The extent and seriousness of this condition can be confirmed only after knowing the exact cause of the disease. It is always suggested to visit a female gynecologist in such cases. The gynecologist may ask several questions that may involve your sexual routine or habits to better understand the condition. Do not hesitate and hide anything from the doctor. The doctor needs to have a clear and honest scenario so as to provide the best and appropriate treatment.

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