Pain during Sex

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 21, 2017

Dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-nee-uh), or pain during sex, can be a serious problem that can affect your sexual relationship with your partner. It is typically defined as recurrent or persistent pain in the genital region just before, during, or after intercourse. One of the more common reasons why women experience pain during sex is a lack of lubrication.

That being said, pain during sex could also be a sign of an STD or a more serious condition. In addition to STD testing, we would also recommend an person evaluation for this condition.

We're here to help

Call (877) 457-3082(866) 660-2593 and speak to one of our Care Advisors for more information.

Can STDs cause pain during sex?

Yes. Getting tested regularly is the best way to stay up-to-date on your sexual health. If you are having unprotected sex or sex with a new partner, STD testing may be the right decision for you.

Most women are unaware that pain during intercourse can be a symptom of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, or herpes type 1 or type 2.

Syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are curable with antibiotics if detected and treated early. As long as it’s treated in the early stages, long-term risks associated with syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are minimal.

There is not a cure for herpes type 1 or herpes type 2. Antiviral medications can help prevent the spread of herpes type 1 & 2 but their effectiveness is not a guarantee. By taking prescribed medications, using condoms and notifying their partners, patients who test positive for herpes type 1 & herpes type 2 can help reduce the risk of infecting others, while being sexually active.

Untreated STDs can cause long term health problems for patients, so it’s important to get tested if you believe you’re at risk.

Before you can discuss treatment options with a doctor, you need to get tested.

What does painful intercourse feel like?

If you are experiencing pain during intercourse, you may feel:

  • Pain only at the initial point of penetration
  • Pain with every penetration, which can include non-sexual acts like inserting a tampon
  • Pain that develops directly after intercourse, even if pain was not experienced during penetration/intercourse
  • Deep pain and discomfort during thrusting
  • General burning or aching pain
  • Throbbing pain, which can last for hours, even after intercourse

What else could be causing pain during sex?

Outside of sexually transmitted diseases and issues with lubrication, there are a number of conditions that could be causing you to experience pain when you have sex.

  • Vaginismusa commonly found condition in women that involves an involuntary spasm in the vaginal muscles, mainly caused by fear of being hurt.
  • Vaginal infectionswhile STDs infections can be found around the vaginal region, yeast infections could also be found in the same area and can also cause pain or discomfort during sex.
  • Cervix problemsin some cases during sex, a penis, dildo, or other foreign object, can reach the cervix, the opening of the uterus, at maximum penetration. This can lead to problems with the cervix, like infections, which can also cause pain during deep penetration.
  • Uterus problemsfibroids can cause pain in the uterus during sex and deep penetration.
  • Ovary problemscysts in a woman’s ovaries could cause pain during intercourse.
  • Endometriosisa unique condition where the tissue that makes up the interior lining of the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)the tissue in the pelvis becomes inflamed and irritated which can lead to excess amounts of pressure and discomfort.
  • Ectopic pregnancya particular type of pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus, which can lead to discomfort and pain during sex.
  • Menopauseduring menopause, the lining inside of the vagina may lose some of its natural moisture, which results in a dry interior lining. This can lead to pain during intercourse.
  • Injuries to the vulva or vaginainjuries to the vulva or the vagina may include tearing or scarring from childbirth or possibly an episiotomy, a type of cut/incision. These tears typically occur somewhere between the anus and the vagina, as a result of childbirth or the physician performs an episiotomy to accommodate vaginal delivery.
Jump to top