Reasons for Painful sex (Dyspareunia) in Male and Female


Sex can be satisfying and intimate activity between two adults with the consent of both individual involved. But for some, it can result to pains during or after having sex. When you are facing case of pains after sex such as stomach pain, abdominal pains, it is important to know and understand what the cause might be. Although pains during or after sex is not an uncommon situation for both males and females of all ages as they are often either preventable or manageable.

          Painful sex is referred to the persistent or recurrent pain in the genital or pelvis that is associated with sexual activity and can take minutes or hours before it subsides. These pains may occur after the end or during sexual intercourse and may interfere with desire or arousal. This can be as a result of vaginal penetration by the penis, fingers or object. The medical term used to describe painful sex is referred to as “Dyspareunia”

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Types of painful sex (Dyspareunia)

  • Superficial (Painful sex) dyspareunia: This is when the pain is felt in the lip of the vagina (labia) at the vagina entrance (introitus) and the lower part of the vagina. The pain occurs with penetration or early after intercourse has begun.
  • Deep (painful sex) dyspareunia: This is when the pain is felt deeper in the pelvis during or after sexual intercourse. It can also spread to the front of the thighs. It may be a sharp or dull pain that can stop immediately or when penetration stop or can continue minutes or hours after sexual intercourse.

Symptoms of painful sex (Dyspareunia)

  • Pains during orgasm
  • Pains in the pelvis or vagina
  • Soreness in the penis after sexual intercourse
  • Burning sensation during penetration
  • Difficulty in penetration
  • Sharp pains at the opening of the vagina or deep with the pelvis.

Causes of painful sex (Dyspareunia) in females

  1. Ovarian cysts: Sometime a cyst can grow in or in the ovary, while these cysts are not usually dangerous, they can cause pains or discomfort after sex. The ovaries are two small organs located on either side of the uterus.
  2. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): This is an infection of the female reproductive organs, typically caused by a sexually transmitted that can lead to painful sex.
  3. Vaginismus: This is an automatic tightening of the vagina when something is inserted into it. It is an uncontrollable fear-base reaction that may occur even in those who have previously engage in penetrative sex. Vaginismus can cause pain and discomfort but does not affect arousal.
  4. Endometriosis: Endometriosis is the growth of tissue outside the uterus (areas like the ovaries, pelvic tissue and fallopian tubes) that are similar to the tissue found in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It can cause excruciating painful periods and cramps during or after sexual intercourse.
  5. Ovulation: This is the time before a woman’s period (usually two weeks before) when the eggs is released from the fallopian tubes into the uterus for fertilization. Cramps may occur sometimes during this period and can cause painful sex.
  6. Deep penetration: Deep penetration during sex can be very painful and troubling for the cervix. It can cause pains and irritation during or after sexual intercourse.

Cause of painful sex (Dyspareunia) in males

  1. Prostatitis: This is an inflammation of the prostate gland that can causes pains during urination, ejaculation and or sexual intercourse. The prostate glands is a small beans-shaped gland below the pelvis right between the penis and the bladder. it is responsible for seminal production and transport.
  2. Bowel condition: This is the problem in the digestive system that can lead to cramping during and after sex. Pain medication can usually relieve the symptoms of constipation and nausea. But irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may need more specialized treatment.
  3. Muscle strain: This is similar when a man exert himself during exercise, when you are held in the wrong position during sex, the body part that felt the burn of the pressure during sex may start to feel pains. A strained muscle is considered one of the most commo injury men face after sex.
  4. Peyronie’s disease: This is a condition is caused by the development of scar tissues inside the penis. The scar tissue can make the penis severely bend or curved during erection. This can also cause pains during sexual intercourse because the scar tissue prevents the penis from stretching as it would normally would during an erection.
  5. Urinary tract infection (UTIs): if you feel burning sensation during or after sexual intercourse as a man you may have UTIs. Urinary tract infection are pains that occurs when bacteria travel up to the urethra and into your bladder. these bacteria can further reach the kidney and tubes connecting the lower abdominal organs.

Tips to prevent painful sex (Dyspareunia)

  • Communicate with your partner if your experiencing pains during sex so you can find solution to the problem.
  • Don’t rush into sexual intercourse especially when you are feeling anxious or stressed.
  • Warm-up before sex, this can help you relax the muscle and reduce pains.
  • Use lubricant to reduce friction and pains during sex
  • Practice safe sex as this is important to reduce the risk of an infection.


Experiencing pains after sexual intercourse is nothing to worry about as it can correct itself on its own. However, if your pains persist it could be a sign of a serious condition that may require the immediate attention of your health provider.



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