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.

  • lu lu .

    it would be best if your partner fingered you a little before, putting his penis in. I think it is less painful, and it helps you get more comfortable with having sex.

  • Angelmonkey72482

    you guys need to understand that all women and men are diffrent, i never bled the first time i had sex, it was the seccond time i had sex that i bled, so PLEASE don't go ruining a relationship/marriage by assuming about a girl! TALK to her bout it first before assuming! :)

  • Sara Oconnor

    please have sex with me im dieing for sex

  • sammi212

    wat doe it ean when a man bleeds when coming?

  • Wykedmo

    i have a problem and i am scared for my gf.i had sex with my gf after having sex i was fingering her.sometimes hard.when i took my finger out there was blood all over my finger.this is the first time that this happened to her.i always finger hurt but now im scared in do not know what to do help me.

  • Amit_chandra

    I m newly marrige boy, i have sex with my mate in first intercourse she was in monthly period but she did'nt bleed. I want to know she had sex with other before marriage.

  • tiff

    damnn your too young to be having sex!

  • Birdi3baby

    actually thats a lie. because from experience i did not bleed the 1st time i had sex! which was like 2 years ago an today was the 1st time i bled.. so maybe you shouldnt be so sure of yourself smart ass

  • Mr.Helpful

    a common thing that people belive is that bleeding is some serious thing most of the time it is due to having to much sex or your just growing and things are stretching i say wait about 2 weeks if its light bleeding a month if it heavy bleeding…………….i mean ppl dont run to the hospital if they have a cut on there finger they let it heal

  • Tafara morrison

    thanks for your advice on when my boyfriend had sex then i saw spot of blood in my underwear, but it was due the fact that he was have sex to rough but am fine know that it was that an nothing more

  • 05andersong

    I WANT A BIG BLACK COCK IN MY ARSE, I WANT IT TO FILL IT UP SO GOOD THAT I BLEED.

  • twinkle

    lol

  • Luciana

    o menino sangro e ele é transa com todas, dentro da minha amiga e depois ela foi no banheiro e ainda saiu um pouco e pior eles transaram sem camisinhaa e normal ? sera que ele ta com uma doença e agora passo pra ela ?

  • Garrettlaangel

    I want to know since I don't have a period on a regular basic I want to know if there are a chance of me getting pregnant.

  • XpuccaxX

    i didnt bleed the first time i had sex.. if a girl got fingered or anything, that already caused their hymen to be broken

  • Maryriefler2

    well i was a virgin when i had sex with my boyfriend. i didnt bleed, but i think it was because i started using tampons before that. the tampons hurt when first using. so maybe she would use toys or tampons before you?

  • SmartAss

    Your An idiot; think about what you just said “this morning i was bleeding, does this mean im pregnant? ” – think about it now – Blood = period + Period = NOT pregnant. Also Girl Below me – Your also an idiot.

  • SmartAss

    yet again another idiot – although you should definetly check yourself out for having blood coming from your 'penis' not penies by the way, how old are you seriously come on people!

  • SmartAss

    i feel sorry for your boyfriend, but yeah get yourself tested.

  • louise

    iv been tested for all stds 3weeks ago havnmt slept with anyone from then till now and i had sex today and bleed what does that mean

  • sara

    that happened to me too!! its weird

  • One_thousand_kisses_deep

    A woman's hymen (membrane that covers the opening of the vagina) can break from a number of things. Horseback riding, bicycle riding, tampons, playing sports, falling down. and even very heavy periods A hymen is not a perfect indicator wether the woman is a virgin or not. I know alot of women who did not bleed their first time.

  • ljt

    After my last month's period was over, every time me and my partner had sex I bled during and a little after sex. There would also be a salty scent, and would experience discharge and an odor for about 3 days after sex. This would happen every time we had sex. Neither one of us had any disease or had any other partner, so I knew it wasn't something like that, but Id never bled before like that. However this month's period is over, and I have not bled like I did last month after sex, everything is back to normal…I have no idea what it was. Any suggestions?

  • lil_girlie

    im 11 and i masterbated for my 1st time 2day. i didnt do it for very long but when i was done i bleed and im scared. can sum1 tell me why im bleeding? i cant go to a docter because i cant let my mom know that i mastubated. PLZ HELP ME :'(

  • Bellydancer239

    well if you want to wait and have a child in the future and not now make sure you have condums your first time should always be special so make sure your both ready for it

  • Meganbennett

    i am 16 years young iv been havin sex with my partner for since may 2010 and wev been okay but the last 2 days iv been bleeding during sex it only happens when i have sex then after it i get blood in my underwear' but iv only ever had sex with him and he's only ever had sex with me we was both virgin's befor we met… what's the problem?

  • Keeshadomond

    did you go to the doctor to check it out.and did you have sex .

  • Sam

    hey have you heard stop beging a jerk cause right now you have a smart mouth. and ps keep your mouth stut next time.

  • Sam

    what are you trying to say. and can you lose your virginty by a girl

  • Sam

    first watch your mouth what ever your name is first off. you call yourself a smartass pleace….not ever person is perfect os get it throught your haed

  • Carly

    did he pop your cherry if he did then your not a virgin. i had a foursome and that was my first time i had lose my virginted and i didn't bleed. and ps it was a good time

  • Keesha

    you should go to the doctor and get check out. and thats wired and i understand my mom doesn't know i having sex i hed sex 6 time 1st was a foursome and one was a friend of my.

  • Tinahh<3

    Okay,,
    dudes,, if your bleeding during sex, it means you have blood in your sperm and you should get that checked out.
    Girls, it can mean alot of different things.
    i am 15 and i started having sex at 13.hey things happen and im not proud of it.
    but i have the same problem sometimes.
    if your on DEPO(birth control shot) and its almost time to renew it,
    it can just be that your body wants to start the monthly cycle but theres a blood clot.
    gross but yes, when you have sex it knocks it loose.
    Another reason, you may not have been turned on enough and you ripped it.it'll stop in a few days,
    of you have an infection, check it.
    AND PEOPLE! stop getting on peoples cases about when they have sex!if they wanted to wait then thats their decision,and if they did it young, so be it.no changing it now.
    -Tinahh yo(:

  • Iyke

    i had protected sex on her menstruation period, do u think i am infected with disease? the condom did not break.

  • Rozita_1983

    I have a problem…I am a virgin and I’ve never had sex (intercourse) before ,today I was with my friend and we had some sexual moments, and we decided to go further, so we tried anal sex, during it slipped a little bit and I stopped him because I thought he hit my vagina, and we continued,,,after two hours I went back home, and I found bleeding, weird one,,it is close to brown blood and not pure red one…but I didn’t feel it inside…did I lose my virginity? Did anyone have such a problem before?

  • Starcherb

    Dude your penis is never supposed to bleed during sex that is ALWAYS an indicator of something wrong you probably have some sort of infection or STD get checked ASAP get tested ASAP…

  • Kira_doo

    mur I am scared I am a 14 year old girl, I was on my period and I masturbated with a sharpie [cape on but I used the end] when I did so, when I woke up this morning I wasn't on my period no more…I don't know what happened…help?

  • pamelaq

    i been with my boyfriend for over a year, always had great sex, but the last couple of times we done it, he dies while he's in me,(literally,dead) what the hell does that mean? he said that happened because he was too hot, he needed a moment to start over. after a couple of minutes we started again and yeah we got on it again and actually finished. is this kind of things normal? it never happened to me with anyone else i've been with.

  • Young_idgaf

    okay i just lost my virginity like yesterday,and i popped my cherry and when pee it bleeds and i dont know whats wrong.?

  • Young_idgaf

    same thing happend with me,then the next 2 days i was bleeding too.. :(

  • AngeloftheNight

    My boyfriend and I had sex for the first time 16th of June straight after my period…28 or so days later my period started as normal…the day beffore though we had sex again…then this last monday two days before my period should start again we had sex…he didnt cum in me…hepulled out like every time, but he lasted a lot longer, we were there for like 45 mins instead of like 10 lol….but its been 32 days since my last period and i'm still not on…could I be pregnant or could it be an iregualrity like what happend once before..I didn't have a boyfriend (he's my very first one) and I was 40 days into my period before I came on…….. Please help >.<

  • Kellim88

    I'm 15 years old and I believe I'm ready to have sex, but I'm scared because my boyfriend has a very HUGE penis.. He has performed oral sex on me before, and that hurted a little. Will it hurt worse when we have sex?

  • Ian

    it depends if your wife does any kind of exercise if she does she may not bleed the first time, but thats still a maybe, but if she doesn't, then she could be lying to you, if you ask her why she didn't bleed and she says “i dont know” she might be lying.

  • djs

    hey u nomi….hw can u b so damn foolll…i mean dis z a very small prob dat girls r facing nw adays not bcoz dey r already fucked but cz girls do a lot of physical work n all…n some sports gals ..k….n secondly stop creating nuisance among ppl….n u mr.biswrana …dnt ever trust ppl lik dat…dere r ppl cald DOCTORS so do consult dem fr surety not such stupid ppl….n wat if ur wife ask abt ur virginity proof???trust z da main biggest virginity..ok..once u lost it cannot b mend again..k..start trusting ur wife…huhhhh

  • Reboudngirl34

    yea niether did i ! its said that women that have played sports in there life time dont bleed the first time they do it !

  • Summer

    Just a random note id like to talk about to do with this topic.
    i had sex for the first time a few months ago with my friend.
    we didnt use a condom, and it hurt a lot, it was kinda rough/fast too.
    i was due for my period, but i guess it didnt stop be from having sex.
    it kinda happened so fast, i wasnt stimulated at all, he just went in and then after 5-10mins i started bleeding, heavily.
    in fact i lost a lot of blood, probably because we took it fast and didnt use a condom.
    i went to the doctors and they said theres a tear, but it will soon heal and the bleeding will stop.
    it did, and then the next day it continued to be a regular period.
    but im afraid, that this will happen again, even if i take it slower, and become stimulated before having sex.
    help?

  • Miss_M25

    Okay. For one: do not be calling any sort of people “stupid”. When you, yourself, cannot even puncuate or have correct grammar.

  • shanead

    Hey Enrique! Aaaaw bless! Maybe it’s b’cos ur masturbating way too roughly that ur rupturing ur delicate blood vessels from ur bladder which in turn results in giving you the discomforts ur experiencing. Whilst it’s perfectly normal to be experimenting at ur age, do be careful as this may lead to further complications…..e.g, a bladder infection! Meanwhile….ENJOY! ;-)

  • Fayfay8778

    she could have popped her cherry from masturbation too stupid

  • Destofano

    “bellydancer239″ is right, make sure your both ready but, if your married and faithful in each other then condoms aren’t necessary, have her use the pill and you pull out before it happens. i wish you good luck on you new life friend :)