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Why does sex hurt?



Why does sex hurt?
Pain during or after sex (dyspareunia) can be caused by many things such as:
illness
infection
a physical problem
a psychological problem
If you get pain during or after sex, your body may be trying to tell you something is wrong, so don't ignore it. See your GP or a sexual health (genitourinary medicine or GUM) clinic. If you find talking about it embarrassing, remember that doctors are used to dealing with problems like this.
Pain during sex can affect both women and men.
Painful sex in women

Women can have pain during or after sex in the vagina or deeper in the pelvis.
Some examples of causes of pain in the vagina are shown below:
an infection: thrush or a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or genital herpes – see the Health A-Z for information about symptoms of these conditions
the menopause: changing hormone levels can make your vagina dry and affect your desire for sex
lack of arousal at any age
vaginismus: a condition where muscles in or around the vagina shut tightly, making sex painful or impossible
genital irritation or allergy caused by spermicides, latex condoms or products such as soap and shampoo
Pain felt inside the pelvis can be caused by conditions such as:
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
endometriosis (when womb lining grows outside the womb)
fibroids (growths of muscle and tissue in the womb) growing near your vagina or cervix
irritable bowel syndrome
constipation
Painful sex in men

Some examples of causes of painful sex for men are shown below:
infections like thrush can cause soreness and itching and some STIs, such as herpes can make sex painful
if the foreskin is tight, penetration can be painful as the foreskin is pushed back
small tears in the foreskin that can't be seen but cause soreness and a sharp, stinging pain around the tear
inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis)
testicle pain and swelling can sometimes be caused by getting sexually aroused but not ejaculating (coming). It can also be a sign of an infection such as chlamydia
What to do

If you have pain during or after sex, you should get advice from your GP or a sexual health clinic. They can assess what’s causing the problem and whether you need any treatment. For example:
if you have pain, unusual discharge, itchiness or soreness around your genitals, they may recommend treatment for thrush or having an STI test
if your vagina is dry, you may be advised to try using a lubricating product – remember to use a water-based product if you’re using condoms because oil-based lubricants can damage condoms and make them ineffective
if you have an allergy or irritation in your genitals, you may be advised to avoid using products that may be causing it
if there’s an emotional reason or anxiety that's causing problems, a counsellor or sex therapist may be able to help - your GP or sexual health (GUM) clinic can refer you to one.