Q&A: Why Do I Bleed After Sex?

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QUESTION: I'm 28 years old and I have one sexual partner. Recently, I realized there are traces of blood when I clean myself after sex. I've seen a gynecologist and all of my tests for STDs, infections and even my pap smear came back normal. Is there something wrong with me? This is affecting my sexual relationship with my boyfriend. Is it common to have traces of blood after sex? Will this condition go away?

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blood on white sheet

Photo: jasonEscapist (Flickr)

Our research shows that lubricant use is very common among women and men, with most women and men having used lubricant at some point and their lives, and around 25 percent having done so in the past month alone.

It’s somewhat common for women to occasionally notice traces of blood after they have sex, such as when they wipe after going to the bathroom or perhaps later on the might notice slight traces of blood on their underwear.

It’s less common for this to happen regularly or all of the time.

Consider Other Causes

If this happens frequently, you might consider how you are having sex.

Is the sex that you’re having fairly rough? You could try to be more gentle together. It may also be that you fit relatively tight together. Perhaps your boyfriend’s penis is on the large side.

You might also try using a water-based lubricant during sex. After all, sex is full of friction. This friction can help sex to feel good but it can also mean that, during intercourse, the penis and vagina rub up against each other in ways that can cause slight vaginal tears.

The tears can be very small—so small that one wouldn’t even see them with the naked eye. Using lubricant can help to reduce this friction and thus reduce the risk of tearing.

Our research shows that lubricant use is very common among women and men, with most women and men having used lubricant at some point and their lives, and around 25 percent having done so in the past month alone.

If the bleeding continues even after you trying using lubricant, you might check back in with your healthcare provider.

Some women have a sensitive cervix that is prone to bleeding. If this is the case with you, your healthcare provider may be able to perform an in-office procedure to help reduce bleeding going forward.

You can learn more about lubricant use and sex in Because It Feels Good: A Woman’ s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

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Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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