7 reasons why your vagina is sore after sex and what to do about it

Soreness after a workout: Yay! Soreness after sex: Nay.

vagina, pussy, sex, relationships, dating, pain, wellness, fruit

Listen: As someone who enjoys the feeling of soreness post-workout, I can assure you that I do not feel the same way the morning-after a different kind of sweat sesh. And, just a guess, but I’m going to assume that a sore vagina after sex doesn’t feel too great for you either.

For one, you might not know why or what is causing the soreness—which is, like, super irritating. Secondly, you may not know how to help or soothe your sore vagina because sex-ed contributed *literally* nothing to your sexual wellness knowledge. And third, you can’t easily engage in round two, or three, or four with your S.O. the morning after because, umm… ouch.

But don’t fret: Soreness after sex, for the most part, is totally normal. We enlisted the help of three experts who can fully explain what’s going on down there when it feels like you need ice cubes, stat.

First, though, brief anatomy lesson: It’s important to distinguish the difference between the vagina and vulva when assessing which of these reasons below could be the culprit for your soreness.

‘Many women will report they have vaginal pain, when in fact they have vulvar pain. The vagina is internal genitalia. The vulva is what you see on the outside, all the way up to the entrance of the vagina, but not inside,’ says physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, and author of Sex Without Pain: A Self Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve. Got it? Now, let’s continue…

The reasons your vagina could be sore after sex

  1. You’re not using enough lube. I realize COSMO as a whole probably sounds like a broken record by now, but come on, ya’ll… If you’re not on the lube train yet, WYD? ‘Not using enough (or any!) lube can definitely cause a sore vagina,’ says gynaecologist Mary Jane Minkin, MD, and contributing member of the Vagisil vSHE Council. What this means? Extra, extra, extra, foreplay to make sure you’re aroused, then use a silicone-based lube.
  2. You’re allergic to latex. ‘Some people experience sensitivity to latex condoms, which can lead to dryness or irritation in the vaginal canal and surrounding tissue,’ says sex therapist Shannon Chavez, who specializes in treating sexual disorders, and is also an expert for Vagisil. Opt for non-latex options to see if it helps.
  3. You have endometriosis. This is a disorder by which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it, which can lead to painful sex. ‘Endometriosis can cause inflammation in the pelvic area and can lead to pain or soreness after sex,’ says Chavez. Schedule a check-up with your gyno to assess if this is something you have.
  4. You have vaginismus or dyspareunia. ‘Women with vaginismus or dyspareunia may have overactive pelvic floor muscles, which means that instead of the pelvic floor muscles stretching and relaxing with penetrative intercourse, they are attempting to tighten—and essentially close around the vaginal canal, creating a strain in the muscle and will lead to soreness,’ says Jeffcoat. Again: Schedule a check-up with your gyno ASAP.
  5. You just had, really, really, really, intense sex (LOL). Maybe your dude is on the bigger side, or is a particular fan of the jack-hammer method? But either way, ‘for acute pain, the likeliest explanation would be bruising and dryness from vigorous intercourse,’ says Dr. Minkin. So if your dude is notorious for going fast, and hard, and it’s totally not your thing, try creating a Spotify sex playlist with only slow songs. This way, he’ll most likely switch his thrusts to match the beat.
  6. You have a UTI or yeast infection. NBD and easily treatable, but these could be to blame for a sore vagina, vulvar and/or vaginal pain says Jeffcoat. For this, you can go to your primary care doctor who can figure this out from a urine sample.
  7. You have an STI. Some questions to run through before jumping to this conclusion: Did you use protection? Is this a new partner? When’s the last time you and your partner have been tested? And based off of those answers, it may be best to go get a check-up with your primary care doctor or lady doc to rule out herpes, or other common STIs.

Is it normal to experience soreness after sex?

Look, sex should not hurt. Period. If it is, you should schedule an appointment with your gyno ASAP. But it’s definitely normal to experience soreness sometimes. Keyword: sometimes. ‘If soreness is happening every time, it should be addressed to prevent further pain and discomfort,’ says Chavez. BUT: It can be v common if you’re experimenting with new positions and/or intensity during sexual activity she says.

Is there anything I can do to help the soreness after sex?

‘Apply an ice pack to your vulva, which will help reduce the swelling and pain,’ says Chavez. Heating pads and cool water cones are also an A+ option. But, again, in order to prevent most cases of soreness, you should be doubling down on the lube and using more than you even think you should be using. Also, spend an extra 5-10 minutes focusing on foreplay. Sometimes, that will make all the difference.

See? Sore vaginas are they’re pretty much totally normal and can be prevented with a few of the right steps. But if you do experience pain regularly during or after sex, ‘see your gyno provider, as we can help with this—whether it’s soreness right after sex, or pain that arises a few days later,’ says Dr. Minkin.

Cheers to no more sore vaginés everrrr again!

Feature image: iStock

This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com

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