Why am I having painful sex? Is it normal for sex to always hurt? What does it mean when sex hurts? What causes pain after sex?

Many women ask a variation of this question at some point in their lives. Reasons for painful sex or pain after sex are varied and range from childbirth to a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Let’s look at some common causes of painful sex or pain after sex:

  • Injury or trauma
  • Early and frequent intercourse
  • Infections
    • Herpes
    • Trichomonas
    • Gonorrhea
    • Chlamydia
    • Bacterial Vaginosis
    • Yeast infection
  • Childbirth
  • Bartholin’s cyst
  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis

If you have just had a baby or are having sex for the first time, the pain should go away in a few weeks. Listed below are some comfort measures that may be helpful:

  • Sitz baths
  • Cool packs after intercourse
  • Proper lubrication (This is so important!!!)

Remember to be patient with yourself and your partner!

If you are having vaginal discharge, recently have a new partner, or have never been tested for STIs, it would be beneficial to get STI testing. If diagnosed, you will need to receive treatment. In addition to receiving treatment, you will also want to practice good vaginal hygiene.

If you notice that after using latex condoms you experience intense itching and irritation in your vaginal area, you may be allergic to latex.

If you continue to experience painful sex during sexual intercourse, it could be a sign of endometriosis or adenomyosis.  Make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss your symptoms.

Sometimes women feel that sex is just going to be painful for them, but this should not be the case.  If you are having painful sex, talk about it with your healthcare provider.  Most of the time, it can be resolved.

If you are having painful sex and are concerned it could be due to an infection, call or click today to make an appointment!


Keely Darnell, RN, MSN, WHNP-BC

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner


King, T. L., Brucker, M. C., Fahey, J., Kriebs, J. M., Gegor, C. L., Varney, H., & Varney, H. (2015). Gynecologic Disorders. Varneys midwifery (5th ed., pp. 382-383). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning

Likis, F. E., & Schuiling, K. D. (2013). Female Sexual Dysfunction. Women’s gynecologic health (2nd ed., pp. 416-418). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.


This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with a healthcare provider.