Bleeding During Sex: Common Causes and Solutions

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Question:
Dear Dr. Herbenick, I’ve been having sex with my boyfriend for more than a year. In the last couple of months, I’ve had bleeding during sex. It’s happened a bunch of times, it’s very embarrassing and I don’t know what’s causing it. Neither of us have had sex with other people since we got together, so it can’t be an STI, can it?

Answer:
I’m sorry to hear about your experiences with bleeding during sex. It can feel scary and, yes, sometimes embarrassing for some women to notice, especially when they have no idea why it’s happening to them. That said, vaginal bleeding is nothing you need to feel bad or embarrassed about, as bodies are quirky sometimes – and, for all their oddities – they are often very good at letting us know when something may be wrong and needs to be checked out by a healthcare provider. In my opinion, vaginal bleeding is always worth mentioning to one’s healthcare provider even though it’s not always a sign of a serious medical condition.

Although many women will notice small amounts of blood after sexual intercourse (this is often more easily noticed when one pees after sex or, the next day, in noticing small amounts of blood on one’s underwear), it is less common to notice more moderate or larger amounts of blood loss during sex itself. Here are some common causes of bleeding during or after intercourse… as well as, in some cases, what you can do about it.

Small amounts of bleeding noticed after intercourse may be caused by small vaginal tears (sometimes called “micro-tears”) in the vaginal wall or even on the vulva (the outside parts of a woman’s genitals). These often heal within 1-3 days after sex and may more easily heal if you try not to further aggravate these tears with more sex, masturbation, tampon use or other types of vaginal penetration (such as fingering). When a woman returns to sex, she and her partner might consider using a water-based or silicone-based lubricant to reduce friction and thus reduce the risk of more tearing which would – you guessed it – possibly result in more bleeding after sex.

Bleeding during or after sex can also be a sign of a sexually transmissible infection (STI) that may have caused irritation to or inflammation of a woman’s reproductive organs, such as her cervix and uterus. Often, however, STI-related bleeding also shows up as vaginal bleeding or discharge even on days when a woman is not having any sex at all. If a woman thinks there is any possible chance at all that she may have an STI, she should check in with her healthcare provider for STI testing and possible treatment. Some infections, such as chlamydia, can result in what’s called a “friable cervix” which is a cervix that is prone to bleeding (there are other causes of a friable cervix, too, and vaginal bleeding should always be checked out by a healthcare provider).

Benign growths in the uterus (such as polyps and fibroids) may also be linked to bleeding during or after intercourse and, again, this is a reason why vaginal bleeding should be brought to a healthcare provider’s attention as polyps and fibroids aren’t something you can diagnose yourself.

In rare cases, a bleeding disorder or other medical condition may be at the root of vaginal bleeding so don’t be afraid to return to your healthcare provider or seek a second opinion if you continue to bleed during or after sex even if or after you receive a diagnosis or treatment.

In some cases, a woman may notice blood coming from her vagina after sexual intercourse and think it’s her own blood, only to find that her partner had blood in his semen that he then ejaculated into her vagina, and as it came out (thanks to gravity!) it seemed like it was vaginal bleeding when in reality it was a reflection of the man’s health issues (not hers – and, yes, men should speak with their healthcare provider if they notice blood in their semen). So when a woman notices blood after intercourse, she might also ask her partner (if her partner is a man) whether he’s noticed any blood in his semen during recent acts of masturbation. If he hasn’t masturbated in a while, she might encourage him to (or they can engage in hand-penis couple play, aka a hand job) here and there to see if he has blood in his semen.

Bottom line: there are many possible causes of vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse and women should always bring vaginal bleeding to the attention of their healthcare provider/gynecologist. To learn more about sexual health and gynecological issues, check out Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Learn more in Dr. Herbenick’s book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction. We hope you’ll follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor and make friends with us on Facebook.

Related MSP Posts:
- Why does sex hurt? Is it because I’m nervous?
- Botox treatment for vaginismus: is it safe? does it work?
- Why does sex hurt my girlfriend? Does sex hurt the first time?

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.

  • Lola

    i was pregnant not long ago its normal but you should be more clean about it cause you could get a bladder infection…

  • Sexy_lilchica92

    she might not be ling she could have been raped before and just never told you… i have sex and i have never bled before

  • thoms

    hi
    yes she had intercourse before she married cuz all we knows that when we have sex first time then broken hymen.
    it is necessarily

  • Billa_tommi

    dont worry if she didnt bleed the first time some women dont. i didnt bleed the first i had intercourse i bled the third time.
    ask her if she played sports when she was younger my sister ran track when she was younger and broke her hymen then

  • LosT SouL

    Angelmonkey72482:

    is that true cuz i have sex with my gf and she say thats the first time i have asked her she say no i dident do it befor but i dont know why she dident bleed :S i hope thats true what u say Angelmonkey72482

  • Kaurshona

    hei…..i m a girl nd my bf said me dat i shud have sex wd hm coz he thinks dat i m nt serious wd hm bt i love hm a lot…i m serious bt he still wants sex wd me……shud i agree????shud i say hm yes…??actually i fear dat it would cause bleeding nd may b lead 2 pregnancy..plz help……..

  • Elena5

    Hiya…
    yesterday had my first real sex (before we would just lie on the bad and he would “play” with me not that going deep but “knocking” at the entrance and yesterday we did it like normal couple)… a bit pain but no blood and second time went perfectly no pain at all and no bleeding… Boyfriend asked me to tell truth about me not being Virgin and I feel awful cause I have no idea what’s going on =( he said he had sex with virgins 3 times and all of them had pain and blood.
    we are planing to get married but I don’t wanna be lier in his eyes,even though he says he still loves me and doesn’t care was I virgin or no (I know he does)… Please help.

  • Priyanshi Behl6

    some time girls not bleeds during their first sex coz they has already lost blood of their body
    during their menses

  • Tonidisuza

    during pissing blood is also coming from vagina,what kind of this problem is?

  • Sjvivanco

    how do you know when he is gonna sperm

  • questionable

    i had sex before and i was bleeding does this accur a lot

  • Rl678

    my boyfriends penis ripped my asshole in half and I also had to go to the hospita for abruised colan

  • fkshf

    i am 16 years old and pregnant my boyfriend gave me hpv…and i was wondering if its bad to still have sex while we both hav hpv…im also curious and scared to find out if my hpv will go away on its own or if i would have to get treatment….life isnt fair!!

  • Sharmasanjana91

    when i hav done sex with my girlfriend then she did not bleed. what can be the reason .she is saying it was her first time

  • motherof3

    Or she is saying I don’t know because she doesn’t know. I never bled from sex. I have no clue why

  • miguel torres

    i was having sex with this chick then i pulled my dick out n found it was bleeding not a little but a lot
    what could be the cause of that is it cuz she was that tight

    what should i do if it still bleeds

  • Luke_age

    no it doesnt if i girl uses toys or in some cases a tampon she can cuse that bleed herself

  • Edwinmilan22

    I’ve been havin sex for 5 months nw n mi gf says she’s a virgin bt she hasn’t bleed yet n I was d first guy to hav sex wit her bt she says she a virgin everytime we have sex she doesn’t bleed bt last mnth we had sex n d nxt day she said she had bleeded nt she tld me it was her period I wana no if her hymen cud of broken Afta we had sex n dat started her period ?

  • Sandy

    that doesent make sense :S
    what got stupidness to grammer ??
    OMG ur seriouslyy Stupid =S

  • Savan James

    am 20 years also and maybe your partner is not doing you quit well cuase when am done am quite satified i no i cant, speack for no one but my self,i dont think its fine

  • SAVAN JAMES

    MAYBE SOMETIMES SHE WANTS AND SOMETIMES SHE JUST NOT IN THE MOVE AND IT ALL DEPENS WHAT YOU MEAN BY DIFFERENTS

  • Nbluestone

    i m married nd my mate told me that girls has same discharge as boys. but i never have that kind of discharge. is there any kind of discharge that occur with girls. PLSS SUGGEST ME

  • Cristina K

    I have a brith controol in for 5 years and and its been very very good and helping me and then last night i had sex for a long time and after we had sex i bleed and i don’t know why could some one please tell me why? I counldn’t be pragnet could i?

  • Cristina K

    Then it couldn’t be her first time i don’t think so.

  • ron

    hi everyone i want someone opinion, i have been missing my period for 10 months now and am not pregnant i just don’t know whats going on with me. Can someone please tell me whats wrong with me

  • Shazadalimirza786

    yes because her vagina is loose that your penis is comfort with him because she do sex with others before marriage

  • Indianangelbabie

    Yes it could have been her first time. My daughter never had a cherry to be popped. She fell off the monkey bars when she was in ele school and it caused her to bleed and so to speak lose her cherry.

  • Shazadalimirza786

    you must know that you are only 11years old and semen is made of blood so your semen is not completely made try to avoid it at the age of 14.there is no need to go to doctor

  • Shazadalimirza786

    firstly ask your partner to insert his finger into vagina so that your vagina lubricate completely and after then have intercorse

  • Debby Herbenick

    Actually, semen is not made of blood. Semen is made up of fluids from the prostate gland and seminal vesicles as well as sperm.

  • Marly vallon

    i alwayz use condome durin sex but i had sex 2 time in my 15 years old after dat i never had it again , so i did visit dorctor fr that when i was in my country they said i had a cyst in my left over and they give me pills i had bleeding somuch whn i drink the pills and the doctor give me a pills to stop bleeding, but now im nt in tha same country so after 3 month in the other country i’m ,i restart bleeding again and i dnt have my periode has normal it should be i can pass 3 month i dnt see my periode and when i have my periode too it’s can pass month too before it’s stop and i have yeast infection easyly so can somebody help me plzzzzzzzz people i need ur help i dnt thnk it’s can be a sexuel problem coz i always use condome coz i always said dat my mom and my dad take care of me im not gonna give them my child to taking care for me i should take responsibility fr my child thats why i always use condome specially so if a doctor or some one of gd heart visit this site u can u answer my quesyon THNK U FR FR UR UNDERSTANDING

  • Jenna Bentley19

    ok i have had sex more then once and my cherry has poped but right after im done having sex i still bleed and its very time i have sex i bleed i dont know whats wrong with me can someone explane to me whats going on?

  • =]

    not every girl bleeds on there first time your dick was properly not bigger enough this happened to me and on the second time i bleed.

  • farhee

    i have an issue.. i use2 a lesbion..:( so used tools:( and donot remmeber even , bleeding. i lost my self.. now iam going to marry with my cousion . n this is ashamed for me to be like this. what to reply him when he will do intercource first time.. can u guys please tell me the way to to get blood again, please is there any operation? anny medicine? any other excercise. i want to show that iam still virgin so how to get the blood back to have sex again..??? please help me you peoples ..

  • johan

    Hey Hi, I’m man and i have my sweet girlfriend, we never done sex since we met, well I noticed one thing whenever I touch her like on her hands or face then i feel that there’s very small quantity of water like comes from my penis, what is that? sometimes I get strange and have no idea that why water’s like come from my penis? Any suggestion will be really helpfull

  • Djfly55

    i like pussy

  • Sweetykimmy1316

    OK I NEED LOTS OF ANWSERS AND INFOS PLEASE
    I AM ready for sex, and it’ll be my first time but I’m not sure what will happen after that (bleed) . I know it’ll hurt and I know I’ll bleed but I don’t want to go see my doctor after it bleeds.Will the bleeding stop for a few days? and will my period cycle be normal like always? Will things be okay for me? I want to be sure on things before bad things might happen…like STD or infections that’s all I’m scared about..

  • queenliz

    hi, question. i have always have irregular periods. but it seems now a week before my period is suppose to start i experience vaginal spotting or bleeding during sex. is that normal. what could that be?

  • Hischeeks1

    I WAS SPOTTING WITH LIGHT BLEEDING FOR A LITTLE OVER 2 WEEKS. ONCE I STOPPED I HAD SEX BUT AFTER SEX I NOTICED I HAD LIGHT BLOOD WHEN I WIPED. WHAT CAN BE THE REASON FOR THIS???

  • Manithelastking

    fuck you are ruining ENGLISH!! dumbass

  • Smart_rahul32

    if they are pregnant if they have sex vil it bleed???

  • Rajesh shah

     bleeding after sex i am a man why this happen last two time i got bleeding . please can i have a answer. Thank You very much. my e. mail is trupti108@yahoo.com