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 Caro, As mentioned above Vaginal pain could be due to dryness. The first thing to do is to spend a little more time in foreplay to ensure you are aroused and the vagina self lubricates before he puts his penis in. Check out this article for additional information;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/painful-sex-time-to-listen-up
Hey Karo, Emergency pills should not be used as a regular birth control methods, should only be used for emergencies cases like rape or if a condom bursts. Some of the common effects of emergency pills include breast tenderness, fatigue, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Check out this article:- https://lovematters.co.ke/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception
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