January 28, 2010

Q&A: Do Condoms Cause My Girlfriend To Bleed During Sex?

Wearing a condom can add to the friction during sex. Sometimes this added friction is a welcome sensation; other times, it is not.

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Question: My girlfriend and I have had sex a couple times without a condom and everything was fine. When we tried with a condom, she bled. Could the condom be causing the bleeding?

Feeling the Friction

Sexual intercourse involves friction between two people’s bodies. Just the right amount of friction can contribute to men’s and women’s physical pleasure during sex. The friction of sexual stimulation on a man’s penis or against a woman’s vulva or vagina can even help men and women have orgasms.

Too much friction, though, and sex may feel uncomfortable or painful. Too little friction and it may not feel like much of anything is happening during intercourse.

Condoms’ Contributions

Wearing a condom can add to the friction during sex. Sometimes this added friction is a welcome sensation; other times, it is not. It may be that the condom adds a little too much friction for you and your girlfriend – but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up wearing condoms. After all, condoms are a highly effective means of reducing the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections, or STIs.

Sex Solutions

Perhaps you and your girlfriend already have a tight genital fit and the condom provides a bit too much friction.

Or maybe sexual intercourse starts out all right with the condom on but it lasts so long or is vigorous in a way that the lubricant on the condom eventually dries up, leaving you with a dry condom and more friction than feels pleasurable. If this is the case, then sex may feel dry and your girlfriend may be more prone to small vaginal tears, which can result in small amounts of bleeding during or after sex. Most women will experience small vaginal cuts or tears at some point in their lives; usually they are not painful and will heal within a few days.

To prevent vaginal cuts or bleeding, however, try adding extra water-based lubricant or silicone-based lubricant to the condom after it is already on your penis. You may find that by adding lubricant, sex feels more comfortable and pleasurable and your girlfriend may be less likely to bleed during or after sex. If sex goes on for a long time or is particularly rough or vigorous, make sure to add more lubricant as needed.

More Information

You can learn more about different types of lubricants, how to use them and how lubricants can contribute to more pleasurable sex in my book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

  • Isn't it also possible that the bleeding was actually spotting of menstrual blood? Perhaps there was more to the question that wasn't published, but this may be another contributing cause, depending on how prone to spotting the woman is.