Causes of Vaginal Pain During Sex

Painful intercourse can be caused by a multitude of reasons. While oftentimes vaginal penetration and intercourse is not painful, there are certain times throughout a woman’s life that this can occur. If your pain continues before, during, and after sex it is time to speak with your doctor as this can be caused by a series of possibilities. At SelfCollect we want to talk to you about what these underlying causes may be to help you understand the female body a little better!

Reasons for Pain During Sex

Inadequate Lubrication

Painful sex does not always have to be something serious, it can be something as simple as inadequate lubrication. For women in menopause and after childbirth it can be difficult for the body to naturally produce lubrication. It can also be a side effect of different medications affecting sexual arousal. No matter your age some women simply cannot produce natural lubrication. A few ways to help with this are by practicing foreplay with your partner, purchasing a water-based lubrication, and speaking with your doctor. Your first step should be to get tested with SelfCollect's STD testing for women Panel in order to check for STDs.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are most commonly caused by the fungus candida albicans. While it is naturally found in the vagina overgrowth can lead to an infection. A yeast infection can lead to painful sex due to the swelling of the vaginal walls and increase of the fungus. With a yeast infection causing a burning sensation, redness, and soreness it can be difficult to enjoy intercouse. If you believe you may be suffering from a yeast infection there are over the counter treatments such as Monistat, but it is wise to speak with your doctor to ensure it is nothing more serious. If you are interested in fully understanding yeast infections read our article, Yeast Infections: What Are They. If you think you may have a yeast infection, check out our Vaginal Discharge Panel which includes candida albicans.


The most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, chlamydia is often a silent STD with almost 80% of people not showing symptoms. Having similar symptoms to yeast infections and gonorrhea, it is important to have proper testing to ensure proper treatment. Chlamydia can cause serious damage to a woman’s reproductive system if left untreated. Chlamydia can also cause bleeding and pain during sex if it isn’t properly treated. Read SelfCollect’s article about chlamydia to gain a better understanding. 


Gonorrhea, or the clap, is very common among sexually active adults. Similar to chlamydia this STD can cause dryness of the vagina and pain during sex, as well as painful urination and discolored discharge. If you begin to feel severe pain during intercourse this sexually transmitted disease may have traveled from the pelvic floor to the fallopian tubes, turning into Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). While this can be cured with a round of antibiotics, gonorrhea can cause serious damage to a woman’s reproductive system. If you think you may have gonorrhea take our at home test kit


Trichomoniasis, also called Trich, is another common STD in the United States caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas Vaginalis. Studies have shown that women are more likely to contract trichomoniasis than men. Pain during sex, redness, burning sensation, and abnormal vaginal discharge are common symptoms with trichomoniasis. When exposed to trichomoniasis you are at higher risk for being exposed to HIV. Take SelfCollect’s at home testing kit for trichomoniasis and speak with your doctor about treatments. 


While many people believe that their partner needs to be having an outbreak to contract the herpes virus, this is not true. Herpes Virus I and II can be contracted without any signs of a partner having the STD. Herpes Virus I (HSV-I) is oral; whereas, Herpes Virus II (HSV-II) is genital. However, the oral virus can be contracted in the genital region. Herpes can cause tremendous pain during sex due to ulcers inside of the vaginal canal. If you have cold sore outbreaks and show symptoms of HSV take a test from SelfCollect.

Tips to Stay Healthy

It is important to take care of your health physically, mentally, and sexually. It is recommended for men and women to be tested every 3-6 months. Be sure to use condoms and dental dams to help prevent the spread of any STDs and to keep yourself safe. SelfCollect offers testing kits for men and women to take in the comfort of your own home. If you experience severe pain during sex contact your doctor for an appointment. Always be honest when speaking with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing to ensure you receive the best care possible!