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.


I wet but I do fear when my guy whats it to get inside its painful and I am always sturbon to him because I really fear when it gets inside my vagina what may be the problem
Hello Vinah, the first thing you need to do is to identify the cause of fear. Is fear as a result of a past experience, is it the size of your man's organ, is it fear of pregnancy or other sexually transmitted infection including HIV? Could it that you fear whether your partner will enjoy the experience. Once you identify the cause address it together with your partner. Remember sex should be fun and enjoyable.

Hey Zippy, do you mean pain during sex? This can be a caused by a number of reasons including dry sex where penetration happens before the vagina is sufficiently lubricated. This maybe caused by a lack of or insufficient foreplay. The sex position can also lead to pain, a lack of psychological preparation and also stress. It is necessary to spend sufficient time in foreplay and also consider using artificial lubricants to address the dryness. Talking about sex before, during and even after will go along way in helping to address some of the causes of pain. Check out this article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/painful-sex-time-to-listen-up

Hi Kisha, while the vagina is elastic a huge penis can cause pain. It is important to try and be as relaxed as possible during intercourse or penetration as well as ensuring one is aroused which causes the vagina to be moist making penetration easier and enjoyable for both partners. Partners may also consider positions that give the girl more control over the depth of the penetration. Have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/huge-penis-painful-sex-whats-the-way-out

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