Why Does Sex Hurt? Understanding the Causes of Vaginal Soreness

We will explore four possible reasons for this discomfort and provide some helpful tips on addressing and preventing it.

Published Jun 27 2023 3 min read

Sex is one of the most beautiful and intimate activities that brings pleasure and satisfaction to both partners. However, it is not uncommon for some women to experience discomfort or soreness after engaging in sexual activities. This can range from mild irritation to severe pain, causing distress and confusion. If you find yourself experiencing vaginal soreness after sex, you might wonder what could be the cause. Here, we will explore four possible reasons for this discomfort and provide some helpful tips on addressing and preventing it. 

1. Allergic reactions 

One possible explanation for vaginal soreness after sex is an allergic reaction to a product used during the act. This could be anything from the latex in condoms, an ingredient in lubricants, or even spermicides. The ingredients in these products may cause irritation, redness, and itching in the vaginal area for some people. 

To determine if this is the cause of your discomfort, try using different brands or types of products to see if the soreness persists. If it does, you may want to consider using non-latex condoms, hypoallergenic lubricants, or opting for alternative birth control methods. It is also a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. 

2. Insufficient arousal 

Another potential reason for vaginal soreness after sex is insufficient arousal. When a woman is not fully aroused, her vagina may not produce enough natural lubrication, which can lead to painful friction during intercourse. This lack of lubrication can cause micro-tears in the vaginal walls, resulting in soreness and discomfort. 

If you suspect this may be the cause of your pain, try engaging in extended foreplay or use a water-based lubricant to reduce friction. Communicating openly with your partner about your needs and desires can also help ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to your pleasure and comfort. 

3. Rare cyst 

In some cases, vaginal soreness after sex may be due to the presence of a rare cyst, such as a Bartholin's cyst or a Gartner's duct cyst. These cysts can develop in the glands near the vaginal opening and may cause pain or discomfort during intercourse. 

If you suspect that you may have a cyst, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. They may recommend a variety of treatments, such as antibiotics, warm compresses, or in more severe cases, surgical intervention. 

4. Rough sexual activities 

Finally, rough or aggressive penetrative sex can also lead to vaginal soreness. This type of sex may cause friction, pressure, and stretching that can irritate the delicate tissues of the vagina, leading to discomfort and pain. 

If you believe rough penetration caused your soreness, consider discussing your concerns with your partner and finding ways to make sex gentler or ways to ease into it to make it more enjoyable for both of you. This may include using more lubricant, engaging in slower and more sensual movements, or trying different positions that are more comfortable for your body. 


Experiencing vaginal soreness after sex can be frustrating and worrisome, but understanding the potential causes can help you take steps to address and prevent this discomfort. By considering factors such as allergic reactions, arousal, cysts, and the intensity of sexual activity, you can work towards more pleasurable and pain-free sensual activities. As always, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance on maintaining your sexual health and well-being. 

Have better sex