Q&A: Vaginal Tearing and Healing Time

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QUESTION: How long does it take for the vagina to heal from tears (tears from sex)? If one had consensual sexual intercourse 2 weeks ago and had some vaginal tearing, could it be re-irritated by sex, fingering, other foreplay? Is it possible to obtain tears in the vagina if the male only penetrated once and then withdrew?

Small vaginal tears typically heal in about 2-3 days but healing time may take longer if a woman is further irritated, as you said, by sex, fingering, foreplay or masturbation (thus, not giving her body sufficient time to heal).

More Time in Foreplay

It is possible to obtain tears even from a single¬†act of penetration, particularly if a woman is not well lubricated at the time of penetration. Spending more time in foreplay doing things that she finds arousing can help to encourage her body’s own natural lubrication, thus reducing friction and the risk of tearing.

Also, a woman may find that using a store-bought lubricant can have a similar protective effect. If you find that you are prone to tearing, you might check in with your healthcare provider to see if all is okay, or whether you may have any skin or hormonal conditions that may make your skin more fragile, and thus more prone to tearing.

Further Reading

You can learn more about vaginal health by reading 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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