DOES IT HURT? See Why You Feel Sore After A Pleasurable Moment With Him
S£xual excitements can lead one to forget one or two things to do before having the actual s£x and can you blame yourself? The expectations of the pleasure itself can send you out of this world not to talk of the real thing.
Yesterday, you thought your morning romp was of the hurts-so-good variety. But today, it just plain hurts. What gives?
Changes in partner, position, and products—as well as those related to ageing—can lead to some post-coital soreness, says Isa Herrera, a physical therapist in New York City who specializes in integrative pelvic floor therapies for women.
But it’s still important to figure out the cause—and find a solution STAT. Because, as Herrera says, “you should never give up on s£x.” Amen.
Here’s how to determine what may be ailing you, and how to fix it or prevent it next time.
1. You skipped the foreplay (or lube).
Most people know that vagin@l dryness can make for uncomfortable intercourse, but it’s worth repeating since it remains the **most common** cause of post-s£x discomfort, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, an assistant clinical professor of gynaecology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Usually, dryness simply means you were a wee bit impatient.
What to do about it: Sufficient arousal (extend that foreplay!) can help prevent pain. You’ll have more moisture down there, and your vagin@ becomes more elastic as your excitement grows. Also, don’t be afraid to use lube.
2. Your session was especially long or frisky.
Common sense alert: “Of course you’re going to be sore if you’re very vigorous,” says Leah Millheiser, MD, director of the female s£xual medicine program in Stanford University School of Medicine’s department of obstetrics and gynecology. Especially if you’re not well-lubed, those passionate s£x sessions can cause little tears in your v@ginal tissue, which—hello!—is delicate.
What to do about it: Rest up. Dr. Dweck recommends taking a warm bath with unscented Epsom salts and, if necessary, using a hydrocortisone cream around the v@ginal opening for relief. Next time, be sure to pause for lube when you need to. “Listen to your body and know when you need to take a break,” says Dr. Millheiser.
3. The position is bothering you.
“Certain positions increase soreness, but it really depends on the person,” says Janet Brito, PhD, a clinical psychologist and certified s£x therapist in Honolulu, Hawaii. “For instance, if you’re in the missionary position and experiencing pain and the urge to urinate, it could be an indication of a prolapsed bladder.”
What to do about it: “Experiment and choose the positions that are optimal for your body,” Brito says. May I suggest making your way through this s£x-position bucket list?
4. You have a yeast infection.
Yeast infections seriously suck…on multiple levels. “S£x can be uncomfortable if you have a yeast infection since the vulva may be inflamed,” Brito says. “S£xual arousal is also likely to increase vagin@l moisture, which could exasperate itchiness, discomfort, or burning with the combination of yeast discharge.” Fun!
What to do about it: If you’re also experiencing down-there itchiness and pain with urination, give your gyno a call. Yeast infections are super common and have lots of treatment options.
5. Your birth control is to blame.
Low-dose combination birth control pills (like Yasmin, Levora, Estrostep and Ortho-Tri-Cyclen-Lo) are implicated in a lot of sore vagin@ cases. “This is related to the suppression of your own natural estrogen and testosterone, and replacing that with the levels in birth control, which are lower,” says Dr. Millheiser. This can make some women’s vagin@l tissue thinner and drier—almost like they’re post-menopausal—making them more vulnerable to irritation and pain.
What to do about it: Short-term, Dr. Dweck suggests natural personal lubricants, like Restore by Good Clean Love. Long-term, talk to your doc about changing your birth control prescription.
6. Your pelvic floor muscles are tight.
Go-getter, active young women are often tight—and not just in their hamstrings. They’re also tight in their pelvic floor muscles, Herrera finds. “If they’re running, doing SoulCycle, and they’re sitting in poor posture at work… the muscles can’t let go during s£xual activity,” she says. Cue pain. There’s a good chance this applies to you if you have other issues, like feeling like you have to go to the bathroom all the time or you can’t fully relieve yourself, she says.
What to do about it: Pelvic floor physical therapists can guide you through various exercises—often as straightforward as deep breathing—that can help you relax your pelvic floor muscles. Think of them like reverse kegels. In the meantime, try switching up your s£xual position so you’re more in control. It’s possible your partner could be hitting a trigger point, or essentially a knot in the wall of the vagin@.
7. You’re feelin’ stressed.
Stress can cause a similar tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, Brito says: “Since s£x is about relaxation, stress might make it challenging to be in the moment and relax the pelvic floor enough to experience s£xual pleasure.”
What to do about it: Try setting the mood with candles, massages, and s£xy lingerie…whatever you’re into! The key is to take your mind off of your stressors and instead prioritize your ~pleasure.~
8. Your skin is reacting to products.
If your pain occurs only after using certain hygiene products (like scented cleansers), condoms, or spermicides (such as nonoxynol-9), it’s pretty safe to say your soreness is related to product-induced skin irritation, Dr. Dweck says. Certain condoms (especially if you’re allergic to latex), a new shower soap, or underwear washed with a scented dryer sheet can trigger reactions in some women, too.
What to do about it: Ditch the irritating products (duh!) and search for the most natural, scent-free alternatives you can. Dr. Millheiser even advises against lubes advertising a
“tingling” sensation, which to some women can feel more like burning (hard pass).
9. You have a medical condition.
Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes—all are infections that can make s£x (and its aftermath) uncomfortable, Dr. Millheiser says. So, if you have any sort of unusual discharge or lesion down there, take your concern to the pros. Same goes for an ache that’s deep in your pelvis, which could signify a cyst, a fibroid, or endometriosis, Dr. Dweck says.
What to do about it: See your gyno. Infections are totally treatable, and cysts and fibroids can be removed (if necessary). Plus, conditions like endometriosis can be effectively managed—if they’re diagnosed correctly. “In general, pain lasting longer than 24 hours with after-s£x bleeding, unusual discharge, or odor calls for a gyno visit,” Dr. Dweck says.
Whatever the cause of your pain, you don’t need to settle for feeling sore after s£x. There are tons of tools and resources at your disposal, so you owe it to yourself (and your s£x life) to take the time and find one that works.