When sex brings more pain than pleasure…
There are myriad causes of painful sex that medical websites are talking about. These range from psychological and relationship factors to latex and spermicide allergies. But there’s one cause of painful sex that none of them are addressing and it’s time to shine a light on it.
In this article, I’ll go over common causes of pain or burning during and after sex, plus one cause you won’t find elsewhere, along with preventative measures you can take for each.
Here's a quick list.
- Allergies and skin irritation
- Lack of lubrication
- Psychological and relationship factors
- Rough sex (too much friction too soon)
- Sexual positions
And one cause of painful sex medical websites aren't talking about, is
- Acidic semen that burns
Is pain or burning after sex usually cause for concern?
Dyspareunia, (pronounced dis-pah-ROO-nee-uh) affects millions of women of all ages and is especially common after menopause when hormones taper off. Although none of the conditions listed above are life-threatening, the discomfort they cause can certainly put a damper on things.
This condition not only ruins sexual desire and enjoyment, it can also strain relationships and erode your quality of life.
If you’ve experienced uncomfortable pain or burning during or after intimacy, here's a rundown of some causes and suggestions for how to approach each one. Life’s too short for unnecessary suffering and marital bonds need strengthening today more than ever.
Allergies and skin irritationAllergies to latex condoms, lubricants, lotions, and perfumes may irritate the soft linings of the body. There are also sensitivities to spermicides in foams and creams that need tracking down and eliminating.
Tip - Track down and eliminate the culprit.
- Wash the area free of any lube. Once you remove the allergen, symptoms should subside within 15-30 minutes.
- Look for non-lubricated, latex free condoms and choose personal lube separately (more on that below.)
- Invest in a gentle, natural, hypoallergenic lube (see below).
In many cases, vaginal burning results from insufficient lubrication or too much friction too soon.
Lack of lubricationAlthough lube was created to make your sex life more slippery and fun, it can do quite the opposite if you don’t have enough of it. When there is inadequate lubrication, sex can be painful for either partner. The pain tends to be worse in the female and may cause burning after sex.
Tip - Stick with natural oils that have only one or 2 ingredients.
Lube doesn’t have to be expensive, and definitely don’t include any essential oils which are highly concentrated and can burn soft skin. Here are some common, fairly inexpensive carrier oils that are gentle on skin and good for lubricatioin. I really like Burts Bees Cleansing Oil made from coconut and argan. Getting one with a pump dispenser means no spills.
- Almond oil
- Argan oil
- Castor oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
Sex in water - You also may feel burning after sex in water, as water alone does not act as a lubricant and can actually wash away your natural lubricant and increase the friction you feel. (Anyone who’s tried this knows what I’m talking about.)
Psychological and relationship factorsSome people experience pain during or after sex, because of anxiety or distress about sex, or the relationship, or past sexual experiences. Sometimes psychological stress may cause a person to unconsciously tense up, and make sex uncomfortable.
Tip - Some women feel uncomfortable talking about their needs.
They may also be unaware that their body is designed by God for pleasure during intimacy. Open communication makes it easier to experiment and find out what you like and what really works. But if you’re unable to communicate effectively, you might find help from sex therapy or couples counseling. You can also begin to see your own sexuality more holistically by following a trusted mentor on free podcast platforms. Lisa Brothersen and Jennifer Finlayson-Fife are PhD's in family and sex therapy who we've benefitted from as a couple.
You might also consider getting more immediate results working with an alternative therapist versed in emotional release or energy therapy to clear the blocks keeping you from being able to share this part of you with your mate. If you want practice asking for what you need, learn how to have a needs conversation with your man, here.
Quick or Rough sexRough sex, especially without enough lubricant can irritate the skin.
Tip - Slow Cookers vs Microwave Ovens
Couples who know, will tell you that when it comes to sex, men are like microwaves. They can be ready to perform about as fast as you can nuke a poptart. Women on the other hand are like convection ovens. They may need about 20 times longer than poptarts to “preheat” before they’re ready to go. This may not always be possible, but as often as you can, set aside the time you need to warm up with some non-penetrating soft touch intimacy first.
Sexual positionSome positions may irritate the skin or cause pain. Others may intensify the pain of other conditions. For example, positions that allow deep penetration that stimulates the cervix can be painful for a lot of women. In a female who has cervicitis (inflamed cervix), contact with the cervix from any position may be painful during sex.
Tip - Talk with your partner about what's working for you and what’s not.
Experiment to find more comfortable positions. Some people feel uncomfortable expressing their sexual wishes, or talking about sexual pain. Open communication makes it easier to experiment and discover what’s more fun that works.
InfectionsVarious infections can cause burning or pain with sex. These include prostatitis in males, urinary tract infections, urethritis, yeast infections that can occur in both males and females and STI’s (sexually transmitted infections).
UTI’s and Yeast Infection
A UTI isn’t pleasant, and it’s one of the most common causes of burning after sex. Sexual activity can irritate the urinary tract, leading to inflammation and uncomfortable burning sensations. According to the Mayo Clinic, most UTIs affect the bladder and urethra, but they can also infect the kidneys, too, leading to internal pain rather than just vaginal pain. Source.
Other symptoms include frequent or painful stinging at urination, cloudy or pink urine, pain in your pelvic and areas and strong-smelling urine. When the infection targets your kidney, you may also experience symptoms similar to the flu - like fever, nausea and vomiting. Some of these UTI symptoms are similar to yeast infections, but UTIs do not have the typical whitish discharge of a yeast infection. Yeast infections can be passed back and forth between partners, so treatment is important.
If you’re susceptible to urinary tract infections, you might get several over your lifetime, especially when you first become sexually active. Women are at greater risk of developing UTIs according to the Mayo Clinic, possibly due to hormonal changes or the shorter length of urethra to bladder and the use of birth control. However, you can take a few steps to reduce the likelihood of UTIs. This includes washing before and after sex and urinating after sex, which helps to remove bacteria from the vulva and urethra.
When you find yourself with a UTI or a yeast infection, I recommend using Tumtree's Reboot instead of broad spectrum antibiotic or yeast medication. The 5 point protocol will restore balance to your microbiome, clearing away overgrown bacteria and yeast at the same time…while restoring a healthy flora … and relieving burning after sex too!
A number of sexually transmitted infections create a burning sensation after you contract them, both after sex and during breakouts. If your pain persists well after sex or after you’ve removed possibly problematic materials from the area, it may be an STI. (ie. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes or Trichomoniasis)
Sticking with just one sexual partner, and using condoms provide moderate protection against STI’s, but if your pain isn’t relieved by any of the above suggestions and you have visible or palpable sores, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. There’s far more at risk than an uncomfortable sensation after sex. So it’s good to get it diagnosed.
STDs/STIs are either viral or bacterial Both can be addressed by the powerful anti-pathogenic herbs in Tumtree Reboot. Read more about Viral infections and Bacterial Infections here and consider this protocol alongside whatever your doctor recommends.
General inflammation of the vagina and vulva is known as vaginitis, and this inflammation can certainly lead to painful intercourse and burning after sex. Itching and discharge are common side effects of this inflammation as well. Vaginitis can result from an upset in the pH balance or bacteria levels in the vagina; although, a doctor may not be able to pinpoint a specific cause. Hormone changes, menopause and certain medications, including some antidepressants contribute to lack of natural lubricant in the vagina.
Tip - General inflammation in the body, including Vaginitis or Cervicitis can be helped by rebalancing your microbiome.
The gut microbiome is actually the seedbed of acid/alkaline balance in the body, along with controlling the permeability of all the soft, permeable linings of inside you. What Tumtree Reboot does is clear your microbial gardens… all over the body, of acid producing microbes that push your natural pH down to the acid end, when your health pH is really right in the middle of the pH scale at 7.2. This is all to say that moderate overgrowth of one class of microbiota in the gut can upset the pH balance in the vagina and elsewhere.
One cause of painful sex no one's talking about
I want to talk about one other cause of painful sex that I can’t find anyone addressing on medical websites or anywhere else online.
The cause of burning after sex that no one's talking about is when semen burns your skin.
Acidic semen that burns
If you identify that your discomfort comes only right after ejaculation, you may be experiencing a phenomenon that's not yet named in the medical community accept to call it “semen allergy”. This is super uncomfortable for the woman, but when semen becomes acidic enough, it can also burn his skin too. And in reality, it may not be an allergy at all.
I once asked a female family practice MD about semen that burns and she'd never heard of it. But lot's of couples are concerned about it. I came across a dozen questions in Quora on this very topic recently. So people are definitely looking for answers.
Semen Allergy vs. Acidic Semen that burns
Signs and symptoms of true semen allergy include redness, burning and swelling wherever the semen has contacted the skin, from inside the vagina to the outer genital area. Some people may even have a systemic response, including hives, itching and difficulty breathing. If you experience these signs and symptoms, see your doctor.
But if you don’t have signs of a systemic response to your mates semen. Meaning it only burns on contact, consider that his semen has become too acidic and the acid level is what’s burning your skin.
Tip - What to do about semen that burns.
A few years ago, my husband and I experienced this problem and I’ve since talked with other women who've been frustrated by it too. We used condoms for a few weeks just to limit the contact with my skin. Then he agreed to do an alkalizing 30 day challenge with me.
Because I had no other sensitivities or allergies I was aware of, I thought there was a good chance alkalizing his body was all we needed. I did the challenge with him which is much more fun than doing it alone.
What fixed the problem for us completely, was alkalizing with 30 Day Reboot from Tumtree. Over the process of a month, he was able to restore the proper pH to his body, and no more burning semen. During this 30 day program, bitter herbs and nutrients are removing the overgrowth of microscopic organisms that generate acid in the bloodstream and lower the pH of body fluids (making them more caustic and acidic).
Not only did intimacy become much more fun, but we also dropped unwanted weight and primed our immune systems for optimal function.
The Wrap Up
So, the problem with semen that burns may not be with you at all girlfriend. Talk with your man about doing a Reboot together to:
- remove any overgrowth of mold, yeast or fungus
- melt away leaky gut symptoms,
- restore hormone balance,
- get a healthy pH back and
- definitely have more enjoyable sex!