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Post-sex vaginal sensations and what they might mean

Post-sex vaginal sensations and what they might mean

Let’s talk about feelings after sex. And no, not emotions — I’m talking about how your vagina feels. In college, I experienced pain and bleeding nearly every time I had sex. It wasn’t until months later, when I mentioned it to my physician in passing, that I learned this wasn’t normal. Sex is supposed to be fun and awesome and mind-blowing, not a painful exchange of bodily fluids.

So: what’s normal, and what isn’t? Here’s what medical experts had to say about what could be causing any uncomfortable feelings — and what you should do about them.

Burning

A burning sensation after sex is common, and there’s a wide range of things that could be causing it, from a lack of lubrication or a vaginal infection to a hormonal imbalance or pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, says Dr. Rachel Gelman, the branch director of Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center.

You could also be having a reaction to the lubricant you’re using. Common ingredients in lube that can be irritating are chemicals like chlorhexidine gluconate (which is used as an antibacterial), propylene glycol (a humectant/preservative), and glycerin (used as a humectant, but can contribute to yeast overgrowth because it’s a byproduct of sugar).

“Burning associated with discharge after sex may be a sign of infection, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible,” adds Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, an OBGYN in Greenville, Mississippi. “Untreated pelvic infections can cause long term damage to internal female organs.”

Bleeding

Around 9 percent of women will experience bleeding after sex, and it can occur for a variety of reasons. Certain STIs, like HPV and chlamydia, can cause post-sex bleeding, as can conditions like endometriosis. One of the most concerning causes of post-sex bleeding, however, is cervical cancer, but this is rarer than the other causes. (If you have concerns about your health, it’s important to see your doctor.)

Another cause of postcoital bleeding could be vaginal dryness. “When dry skin rubs against dry skin it can cause abrasions or lacerations in the vaginal mucosa,” says Richardson. If you’re experiencing any dryness, try incorporating a lubricant.

Mild bleeding can be monitored, but severe bleeding requires medical attention as soon as possible, Richardson says. If you experience bleeding after sex frequently, you should make an appointment with your OBGYN.

Pain

Like postcoital bleeding, post-sex pain can be caused by a variety of things. Some soreness after sex can be normal, especially if the sex was rough. And although pain is subjective, if you’re experiencing extreme discomfort you should see your doctor.

Women have a muscle group called the pelvic floor that surrounds the vagina. And just like any other muscle, they can spasm and cause pain, explains Michael Ingber, MD, a board-certified doctor in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. “During rough sexual relations, these pelvic muscles can become painful, just like after a workout with other muscle groups,” he says.

If you have persistent pain post-sex, talk to your healthcare provider. Ingber says this is a problem that can be treated. “I recommend anyone experiencing pain after intercourse see a medical provider to determine what can be causing the symptoms,” says Gelman. “Adding in a good water-based lubricant may help.” If it doesn’t, there are other options, like medication and pelvic floor physical therapy.

Extra moisture

Extra moisture after sex is normal, because of the secretions your vagina releases when you’re aroused, says Richardson. If you’re using lube, this also will create extra moisture. Also, if you have sex without a condom and your male partner ejaculates inside you, you’re going to feel a little more “drippy” after sex, because the semen leaks out of your vagina. Vaginal discharge is also normal, and is part of your vagina’s self-cleaning process.

That said, while extra moisture is normal, severe discharge is not. “Every woman has a different amount of normal discharge,” says Ingber. And typically, healthy, normal discharge is clear to white. “When this becomes foul-smelling, yellow, green, or chunky white, it’s abnormal and you should see your healthcare provider,” he says.

Changes in odor

A change in your vaginal smell after sex can be chalked up to a variety of things — like sweat and whether or not you’re ovulating. Also, fun fact: the pH of semen can actually throw off the pH of your vagina temporarily, causing the smell to change, says Richardson. If you’re concerned about the smell — or just aren’t feeling super fresh — try using cleansing wipes.

But if the change in smell is also accompanied by severe discharge or any burning, itching, or irritation, you should get checked out by a doctor.

Swelling

When you’re turned on, blood rushes to the vaginal area, so it’s completely normal that you would have some vulvar swelling after intercourse, says Richardson. Clitoral swelling is also common and totally normal. However, if the swelling is super painful or lasts for a long time, you should check in with your healthcare provider.

Spasms

Another common feeling after sex: vaginal spasms. “Vaginal spasms after sex are normal and are a result of an intense orgasm,” Richardson says. (Related: can I get a “hell yeah!”?) During sex, your nerves and muscles tense up — and when you orgasm, your body releases that tension in the form of involuntary contractions. Most women typically experience anywhere between 3 and 15 contractions.

  • Dont know how to explain it. The tissue on the inside of my vagina should be plump if not tight. But today the wall of my g spot feels like it is sunken in? Almost as if my vagina is hollow.

  • My GF’s inner lips get sore after long periods of intercourse
    On the edges of the inner lips.
    Where she isn’t able to make love again for a few days. Swelling goes down by the next day. I am above average in size 9.25” long and 4.75” in girth. I’ve never experienced this with any partners ever, sure they’d be sore, but would want to keep
    Going again and again. We’ve been together for abt 4 months. CAn anyone spread some light on these issues, or if they’ve ever experienced it happening to them? Or do you think she’s not as attracted to me or kind of over the relationship. I don’t like to hurt her at all, I’m just very sexual in nature and she always has been The same way with others and was with us for a while! 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️😢
    So I ordered a different kind of aloe Vera based all natural lubes. Now I ordered Lola brand lubricant. So hopefully this will work and get us back to normAl. It’s taking a toll on our relationship, so any help would be greatly appreciated!!!🙌🙏😔
    Is it just her not wanting too does it sound like that could be the issue? or what? I just need to find out!!
    Thank you
    B.B

    • Orgasms (especially intense ones) can be a huge dopamine dump on your brain. This mild depression after having an orgasm is normal but you should always talk to your doctor about any concerns.

  • After my boyfriend and I had sex my vaginal area started tickling a bit and felt like it was swollen but it wasn’t swollen, could that be cause We were dry? Or cause he went really rough?

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