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How often do you experience pain when you get intimate with your partner? Several factors have been known to make sex painful. Some are medical, while others are physiological. Nonetheless, no one wants to get steamy when it feels painful going down there. That said, we have outlined some of the most notorious causes of painful sex, including vaginal dryness, infections, and have also discussed means to resolve them and make sex more enjoyable.

Sex is intended to be a pleasurable experience and fun part of life between you and your partner. However, some people feel pain when having sex due to various reasons. (not related to breaking virginity). While the feeling is not a concern to most people, a few have raised concerns about how and why they feel pain. Others also go a step further. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the seven causes of painful sex and how to make it more pleasurable.

Vaginal Dryness

This is a major cause of painful sex. Dryness can be caused by several factors such as birth control use, breastfeeding, menopause, or insufficient sexual arousal that cuts down on lubrication, leading to vaginal traumas. For sex to be pleasurable, take foreplay before intercourse as vaginal moisture is tied to arousal. Also, avoid strong or scented soaps or lotions near the vagina.

Use estrogen or non-estrogen oral therapies, water-based lubricants, and vaginal moisturizers that provide short-term moistures if you use condoms because oil-based lubricants can damage them and make them ineffective. There are also natural oils like grapes seed, olive sweet almond, sunflower, or coconut to help with vaginal dryness, and pleasurable sex is assured.

Genital Infections

Bacterial and yeast infections are among the most common and well-documented causes of painful sex. They can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, discomfort during urination, itching, and burning in the vaginal area, making you uncomfortable with daily activities.

These infections are easy to treat on their own by using antibiotics sold over the counter. Read the prescription well before use, finish the dosage even when the symptoms go away on the first day; if the pain doesn't go away after finishing the dose, return to your doctor for further diagnosis. When taking the antibiotics, you have to forego sex until relieved, and sex will be pleasurable again.


Vaginismus is when the vagina suddenly tightens up when you try to insert something into it, leading to pain. Whenever penetration is attempted, your vaginal muscles tighten up on their own. This is involuntary in that you have no control over it. Physical or psychological reasons often trigger it, so it's important to work out with your doctor to determine the right treatment for you.

Vaginismus does not necessarily affect your ability to get aroused. The condition can be painful and upsetting, but the good thing is it can be treated or managed in a matter of weeks. Sexual pleasure is restored by managing your feelings around penetration to ensure no pain, exercises to gradually get you used to penetration.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually transmitted diseases often result in painful sex. They include; genital warts, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis. They can spread through not only sex but also skin-to-skin contact. If left untreated for long enough, STDs can cause changes in the genitals that make sex more uncomfortable or even more painful.

Fortunately, all of these diseases are treated with antibiotics. For prevention measures, always use latex condoms every time you have sex to enjoy and be safe at the same time. If you use a lubricant, make sure it's water-based and ensure you use condoms for the entire sex act. Wash before and after use.


It is a chronic, painful disorder in which the vulva experiences a burning sensation, itching, rawness, or a general feeling of soreness. Vulvodynia makes sex unthinkable because of pain. This can become a long-term problem that's very distressing to live with but helps relieve the pain. This is not associated with another medical condition.

If you have vulvodynia, don't let the absence of visible signs of embarrassment about discussing the symptoms keep you from seeking help, as treatment options are available to lessen your discomfort. Let your doctor determine the cause of your problem and get treatment, so you start enjoying sex again.


Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissues lining your uterus (endometrium) grow outside your uterine cavity. This will occur when endometrial-like tissues grow on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis.

The hormonal changes of your menstrual cycle affect the misplaced endometrial tissue causing the area to become inflamed and painful. This means the tissue will grow, thicken and break down, and be trapped in the pelvis, leading to severe pain during periods and sex.

This condition can only be managed because there is no specified cure. Your doctor will help you find the right option to reduce your symptoms and manage any potential complications. You can try over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen to have pleasurable sex and reduce pain during periods.

Hymen Lacerations

The first time you have vaginal sex, it may hurt. There might be pain or bleeding; some people naturally have more hymenal tissue than others; this pain and bleeding can happen when their hymen gets stretched.

If pain and bleeding don't get better after the first time you have vaginal sex, you can slowly stretch your hymen tissue with your fingers over time. If it does not change, let your doctor know as a hysterectomy can help make it less painful and enjoyable.

The Bottom Line

Pleasurable sex life is an important part of health and wellness. If you are experiencing new symptoms and pain during sex or something going on for a while, it's better to get a solution as early as possible as your health and well-being are worth it, and pain-free sex might be on its way. The above are the seven common causes of pain during sex and when to talk to your doctor. At the same time, there is no doubt that painful intercourse can have a major impact on your life and your relationship with your partner; it's nothing to agonize about or feel embarrassed about.

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