Vaginal pain during sex - Play Safe
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Vaginal pain during sex is more common than you might think. Here, we discuss the different causes of vaginal pain during sex, how you can address it with your partner, and how to know when it’s time to see a doctor.


Rough sex

If your partner’s being a bit too rough, let them know. Rough sex is common in porn but not everyone gets off from it. Look to each other for cues about what feels good and what doesn’t.

Lubrication helps make sex comfortable.

Not enough foreplay/lack of lubrication

Making sure to have plenty of foreplay will help your body naturally lubricate, but if you could still use more moisture lube can help. Using plenty of lube, being gentle during sex, and keeping fingernails short for fingering can help reduce pain.



Thrush and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can cause pain during sex and urination. These conditions aren’t sexually transmissible, and generally require a simple course of medication to treat. Visit your GP if you think you might have Thrush or a UTI.

Vaginismus and Endometriosis

Vaginismus and Endometriosis are sources of chronic sexual pain. You may need to visit a specialist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Condom allergy

Allergic reactions to latex condoms can cause pain and an itchy rash. If you react to latex, use condoms made from polyisoprene or polyurethane.


There are times when pain is the result of an STI. If you feel a deep pelvic pain or have vaginal bleeding during penetrative sex, it’s important to see a doctor. Most STIs are easily treated with prescription medicine and getting tested is really simple too.

Think you might have an STI? Try our quick quiz.

There are lots of different things that can lead to pain during sex – some of them you can work through with your partner, and others your doctor can diagnose and treat. If you’re experiencing new pain, pain that won’t go away, or you’re noticing symptoms that bother you, pay a visit to your doctor.

If you want to know more call 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline. Or alternatively asked our Nurse Nette online.