This Is Why Sex Hurts For Some People & Not Others

by Lindsay E. Mack

Even in the age of oversharing and information overload, it is easy to have questions about sex. For instance, is it normal for sex to hurt, or is that a sign something is wrong? Pleasure does not have to involve pain.

Sometimes pain during sex is normal, or at least not a huge cause for concern. Like any other physical activity, sex can sometimes result in a bit of discomfort. As noted on the website for Cosmopolitan, a little post-sex cramping or aching may be caused by muscular fatigue. Even something as simple as hitting the wrong spot or trying a new position, can cause discomfort. (Not everyone's body is super compatible with doggy style.) Additionally, without sufficient lubrication, some uncomfortable chafing can happen. As long as the effects are mild, and pain does not consistently make sex unpleasant, then these occasional moments of discomfort are likely normal. If you have any doubts, of course, don't hesitate to see your doctor for a checkup.

In other instances, however, pain during intercourse may indicate a potential health concern. What type of pain could indicate an issue? According to the Mayo Clinic, if a person experiences pain with every instance of penetration, or the pain associated with intercourse lasts for hours after the sex has concluded, then it may be time to visit a physician for help with the painful intercourse.


There are a number of possible causes for pain during sex. As explained by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), physical concerns such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis are sometimes the cause of pain during intercourse. Additionally, conditions including vaginitis, vaginismus, vulvodynia, adhesions, and even some skin disorders can result in painful intercourse, as further noted by ACOG. Because of the many gynecologic conditions that can cause painful sex, visiting a physician for diagnosis is crucial. In these instances, painful intercourse is a warning sign for other problems.

That said, it is important not to overlook the emotional and psychological aspects of sex as well. Past sexual trauma, or even current problems in a relationship, can sometimes result in painful intercourse, according to the website for Psychology Today. In a way, painful sex can act as a barometer for a person's physical, mental, and emotional health.