Woman on a sofa, holding her abdomen in pain

Painful sex and periods

My girlfriend always feels pain when we have sex, unless she is on her period. What might be the cause, and is it wrong to have sex while she bleeds?

Sex and pain should never be in the same sentence.

However, it’s estimated that 60 per cent of all women experience pain during sex every now and then.

As a matter of fact, pain during sex has been documented as far back as ancient Egypt. In some cultures, it’s even grounds for divorce.

Not that I am advocating for you to dump your girlfriend! I think you should be commended for trying to help her.

Causes of pain during sex

There are many causes for pain during sex. They can be both physical or emotional. The pain can come from the outside (vulva), inside (vagina) and other regions (lower back, pelvis, uterus, or bladder).

Pain on the vulva can be a result of sensitivity caused by overuse of hygiene products or infections.

Vaginal pain could be due to dryness, infections, and vaginismus (a condition that involuntarily tenses vaginal muscles). Vaginismus can be emotional, due to fear of being hurt, contracting an STD, getting pregnant, or even the guilt associated with sex. It could also be as a result of previous trauma.

Deep pain could be the result of other medical conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.

Painful sex could also be the result of external stress. After long days at the office or managing a household, a woman might be too stressed, which could lead to tension and pain. Especially when there is not enough foreplay, arousal, and lubrication.


In your girlfriend’s case, it seems like she is not adequately lubricated. That’s why there is no pain during her period; the menstrual blood acts as lubrication. Therefore, my advice would be to spend more time on foreplay. The average woman needs about 20 minutes of foreplay.

I know most men are alarmed at the suggestion of this time frame; mostly because when most men get erect, they want to get in there asap. Adding games and play could make long foreplay seem like a few minutes. Massage can be a great turn-on for women.

Keep in mind that foreplay is for your own good, too. As you enjoy the scenery, it might last longer as the initial psych slows down.

You could also use a lubricant for the ‘quickie’ days or when she is extra dry. Finally, please consult a qualified gynaecologist just to make sure none of the other issues are at play.

Period sex

As far as sex during menstruation goes, there is nothing wrong with it from a medical or enjoyment point of view. As long as the two of you are okay with it. However, please note that your girlfriend can still get pregnant and if one of you has an STD/STI, it can get passed on. So please take precautions and protect each other.

Have you had problems with painful sex? Share your experience below or on Facebook. For questions, get in touch with our forum moderators.


Did you learn something new?

Hi Pauline, to address the issue of vaginal dryness you may want to spend more time on foreplay during sex. It may take upto to 20 minutes for the vagina to be well lubricated for easier penetration. Talk to you partner about this and let him know what will really turn you on. You can also consider using artificial lubrication like KY Jelly which you can buy at your local pharmacy. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/lubricant-top-five-facts
Wen I have sex with ma man I start bleeding which we both hate so much what's the problem I use norplan method the bleeding is just for sometime not throughout
Hi Dorisa, Try spending alittle more time in foreplay. Talk to your partner and let me know what will get you arouse. Arousal causes the vagina to self lubricate. You can also consider using Lubricants like KY Jelly which you can buy at your local Pharmacy. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/ways-to-make-love/foreplay-turning-up-the-heat
Hi Faiza, It is normal to have a wet vagina during sex since this is the result of arousal. Sex with a dry vaginal can be uncomfortable even painful. You can consider changing positions when this happens to try increase friction and pleasure. Keep trying until you find one that works.
Hi Jane, what he is experiencing is referred to as Premature Ejaculation. There are a few things he can do to overcome this. Share with him this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/how-to-overcome-premature-ejaculation
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