Why does sex hurt sometimes? I'm a girl and I have vaginal sex mostly.

There are a variety of reasons sex might hurt, but it's important to know that you should always communicate with your partner when it hurts and stop having sex if you're ever uncomfortable. 

One reason sex can hurt relates to lubrication. During sexual arousal, both females and males secrete fluids; in the female body, these fluids moisten the vulva/vagina and reduce friction when the penis is inserted (secretions in the male body include ejaculate and pre-ejaculate). Sometimes, the vagina doesn't produce enough lubrication for sex to be comfortable. This could be because the person feels uncomfortable or is not fully or aroused, but it could also relate to hormone changes, stress, having sex frequently, and other factors. In any case, there are products called lubricant (often called lube) that can be found where condoms are found in pharmacies and grocery stores. Lubricant can be applied to either the penis or the vagina, and it can really help make sex more comfortable/less painful. 

One important thing to remember about lubricant is if you're using condoms, you should only ever use water or silicone-based lubricant. Oil-based products, including things like lotion and vaseline, can degrade the material of the condom and make it more likely to break.

Sex can also hurt due to certain infections. These could be sexually transmitted or not; sometimes yeast infections and bacterial infections can cause sex to hurt too. If you've tried lubricant and you/your partner have experimented with ways to fee more aroused (if necessary) but neither of those are helping, we encourage you to make an appointment to make sure you don't have any infections that might be causing the pain.

What things should I know before I have anal sex?

First of all, condoms should be used during anal sex to help reduce the risk of STIs. The anus does not self-lubricate, so micro tears can occur easily in the anus. This can lead to a higher risk of STI transmission.

It is important to use lubrication when having anal sex. Lubrication will help reduce the risk of the condom breaking as well as the occurrence of micro tears. It may also simply make things more comfortable. It is important to use water-based lubrication when using condoms. Any lubrication with oil (lotion, Vaseline, etc) can break down the material of the condom and make it ineffective.

You could also start slow by using fingers or toys first before engaging in anal sex to see what each person is comfortable with. Communicate with partner(s) if anything doesn’t feel good or is uncomfortable.

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