Sex is supposed to be fun. But if penetration is painful, that’s certainly no fun. Two-thirds of women sometimes experience pain during or after sexual intercourse, but ongoing pain is never normal.
There are a number of conditions which may cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Vaginal infections could be one culprit. These can range from sexually transmitted diseases to common yeast infections. These infections often don’t have noticeable symptoms. However, during intercourse, the penis rubbing against the vagina and genitalia can inflame the infection and bring about stinging and burning.
Urinary tract infections sometimes result from inflammation of the urethra, the urinary opening near the vagina, during intercourse. The infection causes pain and burning during urination but also can cause pelvic pain after sex.
Irregular growths can lead to sex-related discomfort. These include ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors and endometriosis.
Another cause of pain during penetration could be tears in the ligaments that support the uterus. This can result from problems during childbirth and previous violent sexual intercourse or rape.
Vaginal irritation is another condition which can cause pain during intercourse. This comes from products containing irritants. There are many and they include: contraceptive foams, creams, or jellies; condoms, diaphragms, vaginal deodorant sprays, scented tampons, deodorant soaps and laundry detergents. Excessive vaginal douching can even cause vaginal irritation.
Lack of lubrication often causes painful sexual intercourse. During arousal, women usually produce natural lubrication preparing them for penetration. Hormonal fluctuations, like recent childbirth or menopause, can prevent sufficient lubrication. Vaginal dryness can also occur at various points during the normal menstrual cycle and that can make sex painful.
Vaginal tightness can also lead to pain during penetration. This occasionally happens when a woman feels tense, or is not fully relaxed when penetration occurs. Difficulty penetrating a tight vagina can happen even when vaginal lubrication is not a problem.