Despite what we see in the movies, sex is not always as simple as it appears.
There are many problems we can encounter when we do the dirty, from not being able to maintain an erection to being too dry for penetration.Many have experienced pain during or after sex, and it’s easy to start panicking and thinking there’s something seriously wrong with you.
While it’s unlikely you’ve done more than just gone at it a bit too hard, there are some conditions that are linked to pain during sex.
Here is everything you need to know about the most common conditions causing painful intercourse.<
1. Genital herpes
This STI can cause discomfort during sex that should be discussed with a medical professional.
The infection can be passed on by someone who doesn’t have any visible symptoms, which is why using protection during sex is important.
Symptoms include blisters around the genitals and rectum, vaginal discharge in women, pain when passing urine and general flu-like symptoms.
There is no cure for herpes, but symptoms can be managed using antiviral medicines.
2. Yeast infections
Many women will experience a yeast infection at least once in their lifetimes.
Symptoms include itching and burning sensations, unusual discharge, and pain when passing urine or having sex.
An imbalance in naturally occurring bacteria causes the infection, and can be triggered by factors such as uncontrolled diabetes, a weak immune system, pregnancy and a poor diet with lots of sugary foods.
Doctors can prescribe remedies such as antifungal creams to treat the infection.
Many women with endometriosis can experience pain during sex.
The condition involves the tissue that lines the uterus starting to grow in other areas, and this can affect a woman’s sex life.
If the additional growth is located behind the vagina and the lower part of the uterus, this can cause pain as sexual thrusting will push and pull at it.
Asking your doctor for an ultrasound screening can help to locate problem areas.
Trying alternative sexual positions, having sex at certain times of the month and keeping the lines of communication open can help to ease the issue.
4. Irritable bowel syndrome
Those with IBS are more likely to experience dyspareunia, which is pain during or after intercourse.
It affects both genders, but is more common in women, and those who are sexually inexperienced or post-menopausal up their chances of experiencing the issue.
Symptoms can include pain upon penetration, thrusting or throbbing pain after intercourse.
Medication and relaxation exercises can help to ease the condition.
5. The menopause
Women going through the menopause may be more susceptible to painful sex.
As parts of the vagina and vulva can become additionally sensitive, sexual acts that used to feel good can result in pain instead.
Dwindling estrogen supplies can result in dryness, which ups the chances of painful friction during sex.
Self-help remedies such as using lubricants, increasing foreplay and masturbation can aid in reducing pain during sex.
Dry skin can lead to dyspareunia, especially if left untreated.
Symptoms include feeling itchy and sore during sex, needing to scratch the skin while engaging in intercourse and getting painfully hot.
Self help remedies include changing your washing powder, drinking more water and finding the right moisturiser for your skin.
This condition involves a recurrent or persistent tightening of the muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted.
It can disrupt sex lives, lead to embarrassment and frustration, and cause relationship problems.
Some women can only insert a tampon and are unable to have sex, while others can be penetrated but find it painful.
Vaginal trainers can be recommended by a doctor, or sex therapy may be recommended.
8. Peyronie’s disease
This condition is one of the most common causes in sexual pain in men.
It is characterised by a visible curvature of hourglass shape of the penis when erect.
Most men can still have sex, but will find it to be a painful experience.
The condition can fade on its own, or medications can be prescribed by a doctor.