Painful sex

There are a number of reasons why it can happen, but the most common causes are:

Lack of Sexual Arousal

If you aren’t aroused, your body won’t be ready for sex. This is especially true for women, as when a woman is aroused, her vagina expands and becomes moist. So if you’re not aroused, anything that involves penetration of your vagina could be painful.


Maybe it’s your first time or maybe you’re not feeling very confident. Whatever the reason, if you’re tense your muscles will be too. This can make sex very difficult and painful. The problem is, once you’ve experienced pain whilst having sex, it might block your sexual arousal or make you nervous the next time, and before you know it, you’re in what’s called a ‘pain cycle’.

The fear of pain blocks arousal and makes you nervous, the lack of arousal and nervousness causes more pain, and so the cycle continues.

Here are some tips to help take the pain away:


If you are tense, this will be reflected by your body. Take your time and don’t feel like you have to rush. Taking deep breaths can help you relax, and this could help reduce any pain you may be experiencing.


Make sure you use plenty of water-based lubricant and reapply it. Don’t grin and bear it – if you are uncomfortable or experiencing pain, stop, wait a few seconds and try again.

Don’t just try to carry on and ignore the pain because it probably won’t go away and you may end up causing some damage.

If none of these tips help, you should consider getting professional help as the problem may be a physical one. You can talk to your GP or make an appointment at your local sexual health clinic.