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Is Sex Painful?

Penetration Should Not Be Painful. So let's talk about it!

naked woman laying on man

Why You Might Experience Pain and How to Address It

Our society has had its share of misconceptions. Amid the mixed messages and cultural narratives surrounding sex, one disturbing notion persists: the idea that sex should be painful, especially for women.

In fact, the confusion goes so far as to make people believe that if you really ‘put it down’ the woman should be struggling to walk after.

And let me tell you something…. all of that pisses me off.

Such beliefs create a skewed understanding of sex and can lead to traumatic experiences. Pain during sex should never be the goal, except, of course, when it's consensual and desired as part of a specific experience.

Reasons for pain during Sex

You are ‘doing it’ too hard

Don’t get me wrong rough sex can be fun, but unless that is what you're looking for then sex should not be rough as a baseline.

You have vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a symptom that literally means pain in the vulvar region. It is used to describe the symptoms of chronic or recurrent pain and discomfort in the vulvar area

Lack of Lubrication

Insufficient natural lubrication or inadequate additional lubrication during sex can cause friction and discomfort leading to painful sexual encounters.


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), urinary tract infections (UTIs), or yeast infections can lead to pain during sex.

Vaginal Dryness

Menopause, childbirth, breastfeeding, or certain medications can cause vaginal dryness, leading to discomfort during sex.


This is a condition where the muscles around the vagina involuntarily contract, making penetration painful or impossible.


This condition occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing pain, especially during deep penetration.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

An infection of the female reproductive organs can lead to pain during intercourse.

Psychological Factors

Anxiety, stress, fear, or past traumatic experiences can contribute to sexual pain.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as those experienced during menopause, can lead to vaginal dryness and pain.

Taking Action

a couple embracing

Identifying the cause of sexual pain is crucial for finding a solution. Depending on whether the issue is physical or psychological, there are areas you should consider.

Physical Issues

If you suspect a physical issue, consult a sex-positive doctor—a medical professional well-versed in genitalia, sex, and sexuality. Not all healthcare providers have comprehensive training in this area. Be sure to do your research on your healthcare providers area of expertise to ensure they have the proper knowledge to help you.

Psychological Issues

For concerns related to anxiety, stress, or past traumas, open communication with your partner is key. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from a sexuality educator or therapist. Anxiety and stress can cause muscle contractions, leading to pain during intimacy.

Don't Suffer in Silence

Pain during sex is not something to endure silently. By understanding the potential causes and seeking appropriate help, you can embark on a journey toward a healthier and more pleasurable sexual experience. Remember, sex should be consensual, enjoyable, and free from unnecessary pain or discomfort.


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