To cut to the chase, sex shouldn’t hurt. Your first time, or first few times, might be somewhat uncomfortable (it’s a new activity and sensation, after all), but it shouldn’t be actively painful. That being said, you may experience a few symptoms, which we’ll cover in a moment. If you’re feeling pain every time or suffering from more extreme symptoms, though, consult with your gynecologist or women’s health specialist ASAP.
What Causes Pain During Sex?
Dyspareunia is a condition in which intercourse is painful — plain and simple. The specific definition is, “persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after intercourse.” There are different causes of the condition that vary per individual. For instance:
According to the Mayo Clinic, the following can be the causes for pain during penetration:
- Not enough lubrication — This is often the result of not enough foreplay. A drop in estrogen levels after menopause, childbirth, or during breastfeeding also can be a cause. Certain medications are known to affect sexual desire or arousal, which can decrease lubrication and make sex painful. These include antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines, and certain birth control pills.
- Injury, trauma, or irritation — This includes injury or irritation from an accident, pelvic surgery, female circumcision, or a cut made during childbirth to enlarge the birth canal (episiotomy).
- Inflammation, infection, or skin disorder — An infection in your genital area or urinary tract can cause painful intercourse. Eczema or other skin problems in your genital area may also be the problem.
- Vaginismus — These involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall can make penetration painful.
- Congenital abnormality — A problem present at birth, such as the absence of a fully formed vagina (vaginal agenesis) or development of a membrane that blocks the vaginal opening (imperforate hymen), could cause dyspareunia.
Vaginal Dryness During Sex
This deserves its own category because vaginal dryness doesn’t strictly mean a lack of arousal. It may be as much about the mental or emotional part of intercourse as it is about the physical. According to Healthline, vaginal dryness during sex is usually caused by low or falling estrogen levels. In part, women begin to lose estrogen as they age. However, menopause isn’t the only condition that causes a decrease in estrogen production. Other causes include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive stress
- Immune system disorders
- Rigorous exercise
- Some cancer treatments, such as radiation to the pelvis, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
Additionally, Healthline says that vaginal dryness can cause a few symptoms, such as
- Loss of interest in sex
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Light bleeding following intercourse
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) that either don’t go away or reoccur
- Vaginal itching or stinging
If any of this sounds familiar, talk with your physician, women’s health specialist, or gynecologist. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if you speak up about it, the condition will begin to become less stigmatized. That being said, if you’re looking for a lube for vaginal dryness, stick to water-based formulas. Coconu’s water-based formula, for example, has a sensuous feel that will moisturize sensitive areas while you enjoy intimacy. Plus, it’s pH balanced to preserve the vaginal environment and protect against irritation. Enjoy!
Again, according to the Mayo Clinic, the following might be causation for the feeling of deeper pain, such as the stomach hurting after sex or the uterus hurting after sex.
- Certain illnesses and conditions — The list includes endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse, retroverted uterus, uterine fibroids, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction, adenomyosis, hemorrhoids, and ovarian cysts.
- Surgeries or medical treatments — Scarring from pelvic surgery, including hysterectomy, can cause painful intercourse. Medical treatments for cancer, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can cause changes that make sex painful, too.
So, let’s dive into some of these conditions that may cause the uterus to hurt after sex. Starting with endometriosis, which is “common” with over 200,000 cases per year, here’s the Mayo Clinic’s synopsis:
“With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would — it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. But because this tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during menstrual periods. Fertility problems also may develop.”
Your quality of life can suffer greatly if you have undiagnosed and untreated endometriosis, so if you’re feeling this sort of “deep pain,” it’s essential that you get yourself checked out.
Next, we want to address ovarian cysts, which are “very common” with over 3 million cases annually. While many women experience ovarian cysts during their lifetime, and while most of them are virtually painless, ovarian cysts — especially those that have ruptured — can cause serious symptoms including:
- Pelvic pain — a dull or sharp ache in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst
- Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
Any time these symptoms elevate, like when you’re experiencing sharp, sudden pelvic or abdominal/uterine pain or nausea, seek medical attention immediately.
Prep Yourself with the Right Products
Taking care of your body is so important, especially when it comes to the health and comfort of your intimate and sensitive areas. Switching to organic lube is one easy swap to make since many of the “popular” name brands aren’t all that good for you or your body. If you’ve ever wondered, “why does lube burn” alongside “why does sex hurt,” we have news for you: It shouldn’t. Some ingredients in generic lube brands can cause a series of unpleasant symptoms. When it comes to your vaginal health, we’re of the “better safe than sorry” mindset, so organic is the way to go.
Here’s what we have to offer at Coconu!
Our water-based lubricant is the best water-based organic lube available. It’s a strong, long-lasting lubricant designed to last as long as you do. It has a silky, sensuous feel that will moisturize sensitive areas while giving you a boost during your most intimate moments. No harmful ingredients mean you can relax and enjoy more possibilities for pleasure.
Our oil-based lubricant, not to be outdone, is ready and waiting to help create stimulating, deeply satisfying sexual experiences for you and your partner. It will awaken your senses and provide real, natural health benefits.
We have more sexual health and wellness resources on the way, so stay tuned to stay informed. In the meantime, take some time to enjoy yourself however you see fit!