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Many people experience pain during sex at some point in their lives and it’s not always obvious why. Find out about common causes of pain during sex and what to do about it.
First thing’s first: sex should not be painful. However, many people will experience pain during sex at some point in their lives and it’s not always obvious why.
We expect sex to be fun and pleasurable, so it can be very confusing if sex is painful or uncomfortable. It can even be upsetting if it affects sex you usually enjoy, your relationship, or how you feel about yourself.
We all deserve to have enjoyable sex that doesn’t hurt, and if you find sex is often painful it’s important to get help.
Pain during masturbation
A lot of this page talks about sex with a partner, but sometimes masturbation can be painful as well and this information will be helpful for that, too. Find out more about masturbation.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong or that part of you needs some care and attention. It’s not your fault and painful sex is actually very common, though it isn’t supposed to be, whether it’s your first time or not.
It can help to understand why pain might happen during sex:
If you are experiencing severe or persistent/frequent pain when having sex, or painful sex is negatively affecting how you feel, you should seek help from a medical professional. They can test and treat for infections, help soreness and tearing heal, and help you to find and access any further support required. Find a local clinic. Remember: medical professionals are used to supporting people with looking after all parts of their bodies. Whilst it can feel awkward or embarrassing seeking help for pain or concerns with your vagina, vulva, penis or testicles, it’s really important that you don’t avoid speaking to someone if something is wrong. Healthcare professionals are there to help, not to judge, and chances are it’s something they will have seen lots of times before.
Here are some other practical tips for when you’re worried about pain:
A lot of people believe that first time sex (be it anal or vaginal) will always be painful. However, sex is never supposed to be painful, whether it’s the first time or the 100th.
There’s nothing special or different about the first time, except that you might be feeling very nervous (especially if you’re worrying about pain) and this can make it harder for your body and your mind to be ready for and excited about sex. When you feel aroused and get wet/hard, sexual touching is usually easier and more likely to feel good.
Find out more about having sex for the first time.
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