There’s an old song, made famous by Nazareth, called “Love Hurts.” We’re used to that concept. We often live it, are a sounding board for friends who are dealing with a breakup and go to see rom com movies to try to heal ourselves. And after all, there’d be no country music industry at all without heartache.

But can sex hurt? Although you’ve probably never heard a song or have seen a movie about that topic, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Sex can hurt, which is the exact opposite of what sex is supposed to be.

If sex is ever painful for you, know that you are not alone. Psychology Today reported that up to 80 percent of women have had painful penetrative sex at some point in their lives. If you are wondering why does sex hurt for you, there are many potential reasons. Once you learn what they are, you’re on the road to preventing this problem from happening with future sex. Know that you don’t have to live your life with painful sex.


It’s common to see a couple in movies or on TV become so enamored with each other that they can’t help but start to rip each other’s clothes off, only to start immediately having intercourse.

But real life sex just often doesn’t work that way for many women. It takes women longer to get their level of arousal up to that of a man’s. Women generally need foreplay to prepare their minds and bodies for intercourse. If there is no foreplay, there might not be any lubrication in the vagina, which means that sex can hurt.

Foreplay includes hugging, caressing and kissing. And slowly removing each other’s clothing is usually more sexy than trying to have intercourse in such a rush that his pants are between his knees and your skirt is hiked up….

Although every once in a while you may actually want this if the sexual tension has built up incredibly and there is a lot of sexual chemistry between both of you.

That kind of sex is reserved for when you are already turned on. If not, you need to have foreplay. You’ll learn some great foreplay tips here.


Does sex hurt every time you try to have penetrative sex, even after a ton of foreplay? If so, you might have vaginismus. Women’s vaginal muscles spasm or squeeze when something tries to enter the vagina when they have vaginismus. And by something, this means a penis, a finger or even a tampon.

Vaginismus is usually caused by anxiety. Once it happens, the thought of having sex can cause more anxiety, and it becomes a vicious circle. You need to treat the vaginismus before you can have sex without it being painful.

Exercises can help you learn how to relax and control the muscles of your vagina. Kegel exercises help. You should squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, hold them for two seconds and relax. Repeat this 20 times, several times a day. After a few days, try inserting a finger halfway in your vagina while doing the Kegel exercises. You can use lube to help. Eventually work up to two fingers, and then try having intercourse again. Tell your partner to go slowly.

If you find the pain truly excruciating, then it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.


Both a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis, also called BV, can cause sex to hurt. A yeast infection causes constant itching in the vaginal opening. Sometimes women also get a burning and sore feeling. If a yeast infection causes irritation and soreness, sex can hurt during this time and will be painful.

BV is a common vaginal infection, often with no symptoms. They find out they have it during their gynecological exam. Women who have symptoms have discharge that smells fishy, or they have a sore vagina. If the vagina is sore from BV, sex will be painful.

You can treat a yeast infection with an over-the-counter treatment, but you need a doctor’s prescription to treat BV. Once the vaginal infection is gone, the painful sex should be gone as well.


There’s probably not a guy alive who thinks it’s possible for a penis to be too big, but for some women, sex can hurt when having intercourse with a partner who has a super wide or extra long penis. Women often feel pain when the penis hits their cervix. One possible solution to this problem is to try different positions. If you are on top, for example, you have control over how far he penetrates you and in the type of movement that occurs.

Also, when having sex with a generously endowed man, it’s especially important for you to be aroused before penetration. When you are aroused, vaginal tenting occurs. The muscles lift the uterus upward during arousal, and that creates more space in the vagina. Before tenting, there is typically about 3 to 4 inches in the vagina, but after tenting, there can be up to 5 to 6 inches of length.


Sometimes you just don’t have enough lubrication. This can make penetration painful. Once you figure out what’s causing the dryness, you can take action to treat it. The most common reasons for vaginal dryness are the following:

  • Hormonal changes – A decrease in estrogen can happen during menopause and after childbirth.
  • Medications – Cold medicines that contain antihistamines can cause dryness throughout your body, including your vagina.
  • Lack of arousal – You need to be turned on to have sufficient lubrication.
  • Irritants – If you are allergic to the soap, perfume or detergent you use on your underwear or towels, it could cause irritation and dryness in the vaginal area.
  • Anxiety – Stress and anxiety lead to insufficient blood flow, which leads to vaginal dryness.

Your doctor might recommend estrogen treatment to balance your hormones. Using lubricants and vaginal moisturizers are often helpful with vaginal dryness.


Both being nervous and having problems in the relationship can make sex painful: if you’re anxious or just not feeling comfortable with your partner, your vaginal muscles will clamp down. If you try to have penetrative sex in this state, it will be painful.

Talk with your partner about your nervousness. It might bring you closer as a couple, and that could ease your anxiety enough to allow you to enjoy yourself. You might also wish to talk with a counselor or a sex therapist for help.


Not every woman can climax from intercourse alone. In fact, most can’t. About 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation from a hand, tongue or sex toy to have an orgasm. If you’re part of that 75 percent and your guy thinks that he should make you cum by using his penis alone, well Houston we have a problem.

And this leads to the next reason sex could be painful for you.


If your guy doesn’t know how to turn you on, you have to be honest with him and let him know. Have a talk with him when you are not having sex, and let him know that you are feeling frustrated that your needs aren’t being met.


You can go from having painful sex to pleasurable sex by making some changes. Be sure to have lots of foreplay, which is really sex play because many women get so turned on during foreplay that they climax.

Use lube, take your time, get relaxed and let him know what makes you feel good. Tell him when something feels good and when it doesn’t. A simple “yes” or moan if it’s good or a shift in position if it’s not should do the trick. If the penetration is painful, even after foreplay, have oral sex instead or give him a hand job while he fingers you.


What about anal sex? Do you think it will hurt when performing anal sex?

It can.

Anal sex can be painful unless you prepare for it. Get the right lube; thicker is usually better for anal sex. You then need to relax your sphincter, and tell your guy to go slowly.


Now you no longer need to wonder why does sex hurt. As you can see, there are many reasons for painful sex. Once you know the reason it’s happening to you, you can do something about it. Most times, if sex hurts, all it takes is some preparation for you to be having pleasurable sex and mind-blowing orgasms.

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