Q&A: After Sex, I Feel Very Sore. Why is this? Can I Avoid This?

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QUESTION: Sometimes after sex I feel very sore, and I feel pain. During intercourse, I did not feel pain. It was only after I noticed the soreness. Sometimes I also have cramps the next day. Why is this and can I do something to avoid this? Is it possible his penis is too big for me?

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Holding Stomach

Before And After

When women become very sexually excited, and when they orgasm, the pain threshold can change. What that means is that some things may not feel painful during sex until a woman’s arousal decreases, and then the pain may be noticeable. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to hear from women who hurt themselves in some way during sex – even sometimes tearing their genitals to the point of bleeding considerably – but not noticing until sex is over.

Because this happens to you from time to time, it’s wise to think about how you might prevent it in the future. Even if your partner has a bigger than average penis, you should still be able to have comfortable sex.

Preventive Techniques

You may want to use a lubricant during sex to help reduce the friction and reduce the risk of vaginal soreness or tearing. If sex lasts for quite some time, a silicone based lubricant may be a better choice for you as silicone based lubricants last longer than water based lubricants.

You might also try sex positions that give you more control, such as woman on top. Or you might have more gentle sex if sex sometimes gets particularly rough or vigorous. Any of these can be helpful and with practice you should find the right combination that works for you and your partner.

Learn More

You can learn more about lubricant, vaginal pain, and how to protect your vulva and vagina during sex in my book Sex Made Easy.

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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