Why does my vagina hurt and burn after sex? What to do for vaginal burning and more.

 

Question:
When me and my boyfriend have sex after a while my vagina starts to hurt/burn. Why does this happen?

Answer:
I’m so sorry that you’re hurting during what should otherwise be a super fun, pleasurable encounter with your boyfriend!!! There are several reasons why women might experience pain, discomfort or burning during or after sex. Sometimes discomfort or irritation is caused by lots of friction during sex – using a lubricant can help to reduce friction and make intercourse feel more comfortable and pleasurable. Other times women experience vaginal irritation during or after sex due to a hypersensitivity to condoms, the lubricants on the condoms, spermicidal lubricant on condoms, or spermicidal jellies. An ingredient in most spermicides – call nonoxynol 9 (or “N9″ for short) – can be particularly irritating to women’s genital vaginas. I tend to prefer more gentle lubricants such as Just Like Me or Good Clean Love. It may even be that you can reduce the pain somewhat if you try positions (such as Woman on Top) that give you more control over penetration so that you can be more gentle or stop altogether if it starts to hurt.

All that said, about 10-15% of women have more complex issues related to vulvovaginal pain – sometimes pain or discomfort may be related to a genital skin disorder such as lichen sclerosus (typically with LS the genital skin gets white in some areas, and your vulva may itch quite a bit); other times the pain may be related to a pain condition such as vulvodynia. For more information about female genital pain – even if it’s not related to pain during sex (some women have pain even when they are sitting in their car) – contact The National Vulvodynia Association. For more information related to vaginal health, read The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health by Dr. Elizabeth Stewart. To learn how to make sex more comfortable and pleasurable, check out my new book Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction (save money by pre-ordering it on Amazon). And finally, if you’d like the support or guidance of a sex therapist or counselor, you can locate one in your area by visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

If you have a question about sex, love, relationships or dating, send an email to drdebby@mysexprofessor.com

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.