Q&A: I Found Blood After Using a Sex Toy. What Should I Do?

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QUESTION: I have already had some sexual experience with partners. And recently I inserted a sex toy into my vagina and although there was no pain there was a little blood afterwards. Is this harmful? What should I do?

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Photo: Brad Perkins (blperk)

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You Are Not Alone

More than half of women and nearly half of men in the U.S. have used vibrators, and many women and men have used other sex toys too such as dildos, butt plugs, anal beads, and other sexual enhancement products.

It is not uncommon for women to notice small amounts of blood after vaginal penetration, especially if they were not well lubricated during penetration or if they accepted something into the vagina that was fairly large for the vagina. There is nothing necessarily harmful about using sex toys, or about other types of vaginal penetration.

Lubricant Helps

There are several steps you can take to make vaginal penetration safer and more pleasurable in the future. These steps can also reduce friction, which can reduce the chances of creating small vaginal tears that can cause vaginal bleeding.

In the future, when you try vaginal penetration with a sex toy or perhaps a male partner, you may find it helpful to use water-based lubricant. This can help to decrease friction. My research team has also found lubricant use to be associated with more pleasurable vaginal sex, anal sex, and masturbation – including masturbation with a sex toy.

Timing

You might also try waiting to use the sex toy until you are feeling aroused. When a woman is feeling aroused, her vagina may expand in size through a process called vaginal tenting. You can learn more about this natural process in my book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Arousal can also enhance a woman’s natural vaginal lubrication which, again, can help make penetration more comfortable and pleasurable.

Learn More

If you have any questions about your vaginal health, or if the bleeding continues or is ever heavy or consistently occurs after penetration, I would encourage you to check in with a healthcare provider. You can learn more about vaginal health in Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva and in The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health.

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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