Should Sex Hurt? A Guide to Avoiding Painful Sex


Should Sex Hurt? A Guide to Avoiding Painful Sex

Lots of people have pain during sex or after sex. There are a few reasons why sex might hurt, but there are a lot of things that can help.

It’s common to hear people say that sex always hurts or that your first time will hurt. But sex can be painless for a lot of people. Pain is the way your body tells you something’s wrong. So if you feel pain, you can try something else that feels good!

What are some reasons for painful sex?

A common cause of painful sex is not having enough lubrication. Private parts can produce fluid when you’re turned on. But a lot of people don’t produce enough fluid, or aren’t turned on enough when they start having sex. This can be especially true for trans and non-binary people who are taking testosterone.

If someone’s private parts don’t have enough lubrication, sex might be painful. It might cause small tears, pain, or bleeding.

Another common cause is being worried. If you’re worried or anxious, the muscles can tighten up. This can make sex more painful.

There are lots of other reasons for having pain during sex:

  • Infections, like thrush or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Vaginismus, a condition where vaginal muscles spasm without your control
  • An allergy to latex condoms, spermicide, or other things you might use during sex
  • The penis or dildo hitting the cervix. That’s the entrance to the uterus, at the top of a vagina, front hole, etc.

If you have pain deep inside or your pain doesn’t go away, a doctor can check for medical issues. You could have a problem that they can help with to make sex less painful.

What do I do if sex is painful?

There are a couple of things you can try to make sex less painful. If the problem is not enough lubrication you can get more turned on before having sex. You can do this by doing things that make you feel good. Try kissing, masturbation, or anything else that you like.

You can also use a lube that’s made for sex. Lube is a liquid or gel that you put on your private parts to make them slippery. You can buy it at a drugstore or get it for free at sexual health organizations like Head and Hands or ACCM.

If having sex worries you, you can talk to your partners or someone you trust. Having these conversations might help to put your mind at ease. Then you can focus on enjoying sex.

If you’re having pain when you’re with your partners, it’s good to talk to them as much as you can. You can talk about what feels good and what hurts. It might help to try different positions to see which one feels best. It also helps to go slow. If you feel pain during penetration, you can work your way up. Start with something small like a finger before putting a penis, bottom growth, or dildo in.

If you’re worried about your pain and nothing has helped, you can think about talking to a doctor or nurse. They can help look for other reasons you might be in pain. Know that sex doesn’t have to hurt unless you want it to. If it does you can talk to your partner, slow down and add lube. Or you can try other sex acts like oral sex, masturbation, kissing, or anything else you like!

For more on how to avoid pain during anal sex click here!

More info

Pain and Discomfort — Heart your Parts

Heart your Parts identifies some of the symptoms, causes, and solutions for emotional, physical, and psychological sexual pain and discomfort. They cover: STIs, lack of lubrication,…

First Intercourse 101

Provides information (more scientific) for teens thinking of having sex for the first time, such as arousal, pain, bleeding, orgasm, finishing, and aftercare. –


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