20 Explanations for Painful Sex in Men and Women

Pain during sex is a common issue that can interfere with intimacy. However, many people are only familiar with the surface problems and may not know the underlying causes. If you're experiencing tenderness or pain during sex, it's important to understand the possible causes, which can affect both women and men.


16. PROSTATE PROBLEMS – Irritation of the prostate gland can be extremely painful.

11. MENOPAUSE – Experiencing vaginal dryness is common during this stage of life.

3. IRRITATIONS – Using certain soap products or douches can cause irritation and discomfort. It's recommended to use organic, non-scented soap or just water for washing, which applies to both men and women.

9. STIS – We don’t say STDs anymore. There are tons of culprits, genital warts, herpes, etc. This goes for both women and men.

5. EMOTIONAL FACTORS – Anxiety, depression, and poor body confidence can lead to a lack of arousal, which can cause pain from tightness or lack of lubrication.

1. NOT ENOUGH LUBE – Vaginal dryness makes intercourse really unpleasant. Load up on the lube.

12. OVARIAN CYSTS – It doesn’t need to be directly a vag problem. These fluid-filled sacks can be a bitch.

18. TESTICULAR PROBLEMS – And don’t blame it on blue balls.

13. VAGINAL INJURY – Whether inside or out, healed cuts and tears can also cause discomfort – things like episiotomies or hysterectomies.

14. VULVODYNIA – Chronic pain in the vulva area. No known cause or cure.

7. CERVIX ISSUES – If there is an infection or inflammation in the cervix and your partner’s penis can reach it during deep intercourse, it can cause pain.

4. STRESS - Even ordinary stress can have an effect on our bodies. Not being able to relax can create tension in the bedroom, and our drifters don't like that.

6. LARGE/SMALL PARTS – Either the woman has a smaller than normal vaginal opening or the man is girthy or long. This “vaginal tightness” can be unpleasant (which is just another reason why men shouldn’t be all gung-ho about being hung like an elephant).

10. CHILDBIRTH – There is a waiting period before you can have sex after childbirth. Too soon is not a good idea.

17. FORESKIN TIGHTNESS – Either from pushing back the foreskin or tiny tears.

15. MEDICAL TREATMENTS – Radiation and chemotherapy can cause changes in the body that can affect comfort during sex.

20. PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE – The inflammation of the tissue can cause some intense pain.

19. VARIOUS CONDITIONS – Endometriosis, uterine prolapse, retroverted uterus, uterine fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, cystitis, etc. A big one of these is …

8. VAGINISMUS – Involuntary spasms in the vaginal muscles. Fairly commonplace.

2. VAGINAL INFECTIONS – There are many, but yeast infections are one of the big ones. Brought on by an unbalance in the natural conditions of the body and the fungus Candida. The painful swelling and itching make sex unbearable. FYI – Men can get this too.


Holy hell that's a lot of possible causes for pain during sex. It's important to remember that this list is not meant to be a self-diagnosis tool, but rather to provide information and support. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort during sex, know that you're not alone and there's no shame in seeking help from a healthcare professional.