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Why Is My Vagina Sore After Sex? 9 Causes and What to Do

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When you’re dealing with a sore vagina after sex, it’s pretty understandable to have lots of questions. If an intense romp leaves you waddling (let’s be real, that’s the accurate and extremely unsexy way to describe it), it’s easy to assume things just got a little out of hand. In some instances, many people enjoy rough sex that causes some level of discomfort. But under most circumstances, your vagina shouldn’t hurt after sex—or during.

After all, being intimate with your partner is supposed to feel good. So, when sex is painful (medically known as dyspareunia1, by the way), it’s important to let both your partner and your gynecologist know what you’re dealing with. This shouldn’t make you feel like there’s something inherently wrong with you or your body. You also shouldn’t feel like you just have to live with it, either. To get to the bottom of this issue, SELF asked experts to explain the potential causes of vaginal or pelvic pain after sex and what you can do to feel better.

First, is it ever normal to be sore after sex?

To be extra clear, no, sex isn’t supposed to be painful (and we’re not talking about consensual pain during sex—we mean the kind of sex that hurts when you don’t want it to).

“It’s not normal to be sore after sex unless it’s [your] first time, and there was some stretching of the hymen to contend with,” Mary Jane Minkin, M.D.2, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells SELF. Your hymen is the tissue that’s at the opening of your vagina3. Many people’s hymens thin or tear over time.

But just because it’s not normal to be sore after sex doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)4 says that nearly three out of four women will have pain during sex at some point during their lives. For some people, the pain is a temporary issue, but for others, it’s a long-term problem.

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What causes a sore vagina after sex?

If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: If intercourse is hurting you, talk to your gynecologist. Work with your doctor to find out why, because sex should feel comfortable, pleasurable, and pain-free. (Don’t force yourself to put up with anything less!)

This article is a great starting point that can help you understand what might be going on, but it should never replace an honest conversation with a specialist. With that in mind, learn more about the most common reasons for pelvic pain or a sore vagina after sex below:

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1. There wasn’t enough lubrication for sex.

One of the most common causes of pain during or after intercourse that can lead to a sore vagina is inadequate lubrication. (Take notes, because this one’s gonna come up a few times.) Everyone produces different amounts of natural lubrication, and there are plenty of reasons why—age, birth control, and some medications, just to name a few.

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When your vagina isn’t properly lubricated during sex, the friction can cause tiny tears in your skin. These tears can make you more prone to infection, and they can also make your vagina hurt after sex.

How to feel better now: Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D.5, ob-gyn at Vista Physician Group, recommends putting a little lube in your vagina—even after sex. He likens it to putting lotion on your skin when it’s feeling particularly dry; it’s not too late to moisturize your skin, and it can actually have a soothing effect. That said, you’ll want to stay away from any lubricant with alcohol in it. Check the ingredients carefully to make sure your attempts to soothe won’t end up stinging the tears in your skin.

How to prevent pain in the future: For starters, make sure you’re using sufficient amounts of lube. This is an easy step to take to supplement your natural lubricant as you see fit. From there, you’ll want to talk to your gynecologist, who can help you figure out what your options are.

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2. There was a lack of arousal before sex.

Sometimes you’re just not totally in the mood, and that’s OK. But having sex when you’re not sufficiently aroused can also lead to lack of lubrication and, ultimately, a sore vagina after sex, Christine Greves, M.D.6, an ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, tells SELF.

How to feel better now: In the aftermath, Dr. Greves recommends applying a cold compress to the area. “Don’t apply ice directly to your vulva,” she cautions. Instead, wrap some ice in a clean cloth and either sit on it or lay it on the area (over your underwear) for 10 minutes or so to help tamp down on irritation and possible swelling. Another tip: Give your vagina a break until it feels better, so don’t have sex again until the soreness subsides.

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How to prevent pain in the future: Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay! For a person with a vagina, arousal is just as “essential” for good sex as an erection is for a person with a penis, Dr. Minkin explains. Try communicating with your partner and showing them what you like in the pre-game department. And, if you want to have sex but you feel like you’re not as aroused as you’d like to be, Dr. Greves says this is another instance in which applying lubricant can come in handy.

Source: Self

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