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Pain during intercourse

When it hurts – pain during intercourse 


Pain during intercourse or other sexual activity occurs in both sexes. Discomfort naturally affects both the pleasure of and the desire for sex. The pain may also lead to a conscious or unconscious fear of sex. Sex is an important part of life and love, so do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Pain during intercourse for women

In women, there are a number of conditions that can cause pain. The most common is natural lubrication – the moisture in the vagina.


If it hurts during penetration, i.e. when the penis is inserted into the vagina, the pain often depends on your not being aroused during introduction. When you’re sexually aroused, moisture in the vagina increases and acts as a lubricant. Washing with oil in the genital area rather than soap and water helps keep the delicate mucous membrane nice and soft. After childbirth, lubrication can be affected and it may seem strange to have intercourse at all. It is wise to wait about 6–8 weeks after childbirth before having penetrative sex.

Lubricants give a more moist feeling

Lubrication decreases as we age. In menopause when oestrogen levels are lower, the mucous membranes become more delicate. A weak oestrogen cream can be used, following the advice of a gynaecologist. If the mucous membrane is sensitive and you want a more moist feeling, you can use Belladot Original water-based lubricant. Never use oil or skin cream as a lubricant with a condom, as it makes the condom fragile and it is likely to break.

Infections and infestations

The pain may also be due to urinary tract infections or infections in the mucous membrane of the vagina. Sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes, human papillomavirus (e.g. condyloma) and chlamydia may cause pain and irritation in the genital area. Vaginosis (an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora) and candida (yeast or thrush) are common causes of itching and pain. If you are in pain, it is important to seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment.


Some women choose to have intercourse, even when they are not sufficiently aroused, and despite it hurting. They may be hoping that the pain will disappear by itself over time. They may not want to disappoint their partner, or are afraid of not being good enough as a woman and fear being abandoned. Having sex even though it hurts is to risk turning the pain into a hypersensitivity in the nervous system, even if the original cause disappears. Hypersensitivity means that all touch you usually feel resistant to hurts – sometimes even the light pressure of the fabric in your underwear. Vestibulitis, also known as vulvar vestibulitis, is such a pain condition. The vagina may look quite normal when examined, but hurts when touched. Getting rid of vestibulitis can be a long process. There are a number of ideas on how to ease the problem. One method called biofeedback involves slowly getting the nerves used to touch. Analgesic ointment, calmness and relaxation while touching the painful area can eventually break the old pain pattern.



Worrying about pain can also cause the vaginal muscles to contract on contact, making it impossible to have intercourse or even insert a tampon. This cramp, known as vaginismus, is involuntary and cannot be influenced by force of will. Women who readily have muscle tension in other parts of their body may be at greater risk of vaginismus. Vaginismus can also be caused by the forgotten fear of a painful gynaecological examination, childbirth, abuse and/or painful penetration. It may also arise from fear that the first intercourse will hurt. It is good to know that the vagina stretches when it needs to; only the vaginal opening is affected by vaginismus. In case of severe vaginismus, treatment is required by a gynaecologist or another specialist. If you want to train yourself, you can try gently inserting the tip of your little finger repeatedly until you no longer get cramp. Then try gradually inserting your finger further and further, then try a thicker finger and maybe two fingers. When it’s time for the next step Belladot Greta is recommended, a mini vibrator that’s only 18 mm in diameter.

Find other ways to have sex

Until the vestibulitis and vaginismus have passed, it is of course necessary to refrain from penetrative sex. There are many different ways to have sex. Many women enjoy clitoral orgasm despite the other symptoms. The most important thing in these situations is to be able to talk to your partner, have an understanding of each other’s feelings, and find options that both of you find satisfactory. Your partner could also take part in the training process if you feel comfortable with this. Training the pelvic floor muscles can be helpful with these pain conditions, teaching the body to notice the difference between tense and relaxed muscles.

Deeper pain condition

A deeper pelvic pain that complicates intercourse could be caused by inflammation of the uterus or ovaries. Endometriosis, which means that you have a uterine mucous membrane in the wrong place in the abdomen, often produces this kind of pain. A tilted uterus is also said to be a possible cause of deep joint pain.

Pain during intercourse for men

For men, there are various conditions that can cause pain during intercourse. If you have pain in the abdomen and penis, it is important to consult a doctor or urologist for examination.

Pain during penetration

Pain during penetration can be caused by an infection or virus in the penis, such as herpes or gonorrhoea. Sometimes it may hurt on penetration if the vagina is not wet enough. Belladot Original water-based lubricant reduces friction. When using a condom, it is important to choose a silicone or water-based lubricant. If you use oil or skin cream, the condom becomes fragile and may burst.

Tight foreskin and damage to the penis

If you have a tight foreskin or if it has been exposed to excessive friction, penetration may be painful. This is also true for bent penis, injury or fracture.

Prostate conditions

Prostate conditions such as prostatitis can also cause pain during intercourse, as well as a feeling of weight and discomfort in the abdomen.

Allergy and hypersensitivity

Some men have problems caused by an allergy to vaginal secretions, or chemicals in condoms or lube.


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