Did you know that as many as 3 out of 4 women have painful sex at some point in their lives? For some women, it is a temporary situation. For others, it can last for years or longer.

Men can have painful sex, too. As with women, pain during sex can last a long time or may be short-term.

If you’ve ever had painful sex and aren’t sure why keep reading for 7 reasons.

6 Reasons Women May Have Painful Sex

When women experience sexual pain, it is called dyspareunia. It can cause problems in relationships but it can result in emotional problems, too.

Here are 5 reasons why women may experience pain during sex:

1. Vaginal Infections

Symptoms can include abnormal discharge (color or texture) and an unusual door. You may also notice spotting/bleeding, and itching in the genital area.

2. STIs

Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, herpes, and genital warts have similar symptoms to vaginal infections. In addition, you may notice blisters, bumps, and sores.

3. Vaginismus

This is a condition that causes involuntary spasms of the pelvic floor. You may experience pain while inserting tampons and muscle spasms. Vaginismus can make it painful and sometimes impossible to experience penetration during sex.

4. Chronic Pelvic Conditions

Uterine fibroids, pelvic organ prolapse, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease are just a few of the conditions in this group. They can also result in painful penetration. You may also experience a dull aching or pressure in the pelvic area, lower abdomen, or back.

5. Vulvodynia

If you have genital pain in the external organs (clitoris, vulva) you may have vulvodynia. This can include soreness, burning, or a raw feeling of these areas.

6. Vaginal Dryness

As women get older, they may not have enough natural lubrication. This is common in menopause. If this is the case, personal lubricant can be a woman’s best friend.

You can learn more about painful sex for women here.

3 Reasons Men May Experience Sexual Pain

Men can experience pain for a variety of reasons, too. Although it may be tempting to ignore it, men should see a doctor right away for a DSM diagnosis. Painful sex can cause further problems if not addressed.

1. STIs

Like women, men can experience pain and discomfort from sexually transmitted diseases. Bumps, blisters, and sores around the genitals, and discharge are some of the signs men should be aware of. Herpes, syphilis, or gonorrhea are likely to cause pain for men.

2. Peyronie’s Disease

This is a condition where scar tissue forms on the penis. It often results in a curved shape and sometimes you can feel plaque (a hard area) under the skin. It can be painful either with or without an erection or you may have trouble getting or maintaining an erection.

3. Phimosis/Paraphimosis

When the foreskin of the penis is too tight (phimosis) or does not retract (paraphimosis), it can cause swelling and difficulty urinating. You may notice a white ring around the opening of the foreskin.

Consult a Doctor

Even if you think you know why you are experiencing painful sex, you should consult your doctor. Some symptoms are very similar. A doctor can order tests to ensure that you have the right diagnosis.

If you found this article helpful, make sure to visit the Health section of our blog for more on sexual health.