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Feeling pain during sex? Here are 5 causes that can be fixed

POSTED: July 4, 2017 9:00 a.m.
Lindsey Miller/

Feeling discomfort, pressure or pain during sex isn't normal, and it can be a symptom of these 5 problems you should NOT ignore.

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The way intimacy is portrayed in the media isn’t real, as much as we wish it was. In fact, many women experience discomfort, pressure or pain while with their partner and never talk about it or do anything to get it fixed. If it’s happening to you, you’re definitely not alone.

Feeling pain during intimacy isn’t fun, and it keeps you from having a great intimate relationship with your spouse. While it’s common to feel pain the first few times you have sex, it’s uncommon for the discomfort to last a long time without getting better.

While some of these you can fix yourself, there are some serious conditions you could have that need professional attention.

Your pain could be something as simple as not having enough lubrication, or it could be a health problem that you need to see a doctor for. Here are five things that might be causing your discomfort:

1. Vaginismus

According to WebMD, “When a woman has vaginismus, her vagina’s muscles squeeze or spasm when something is entering it.” The severity varies from person to person, but some women who have this condition have a hard time inserting tampons or have painful internal pelvic exams.

Vaginismus is often caused by anxiety about intimacy. If you’re nervous about intimacy, you’ve had a bad experience previously or you’re afraid it will hurt, your muscles will tighten and intimacy won’t feel great. Try to relax. If that doesn’t work, visit a pelvic floor physical therapist or your OB/GYN.

2. You’re stressed

Life is crazy, and you probably have a million other things to worry about besides your intimacy problems. But, stress can actually lead to painful sex. According to Mayo Clinic, “Your pelvic floor muscles tend to tighten in response to stress in your life. This can contribute to pain during intercourse.”

Make time for relaxation before you jump right into having physical intimacy. Don’t force anything too soon and have a little fun before you start. If you take time to unwind, it’ll be more enjoyable for you and your sweetheart.

3. Infections

Some of the most common infections are yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTI) and sexually transmitted infections (STI). These can cause some serious discomfort and they need to be treated properly, so it’s best to see a doctor if you suspect you might have any of these issues.

4. Endometriosis

According to Everyday Health, endometriosis occurs when the type of tissue normally lining the uterus (the endometrium) starts growing outside the uterus. Some women don’t have any symptoms while others have a hard time getting pregnant and have painful intercourse.

If you’re experiencing severe discomfort, even the thought of being physically intimate can trigger the pain. Keep open communication with your spouse, try to relax and figure out what works for you. If you’re still having a hard time, see your doctor.

5. You’ve had a bad experience

Emotions play a huge role in intimacy, and having a bad experience can make you anxious or worried about trying it again.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Initial pain can lead to fear of recurring pain, making it difficult to relax, which can lead to more pain.” Sometimes it’s enough to realize this is the problem and work to improve it on your own, but other times therapy and counseling can help.

Pain during intimacy isn’t a fun thing to deal with, and having that physical connection with your spouse is so important to your relationship. If you think you could have any of these problems, see your doctor or take the steps necessary to make it better. You’re not alone, and you deserve to have an incredible physical relationship with your sweetheart.
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