When you flick on the lights after sex, chances are you do a quick scan of the damage you and your partner left behind. Some clothes, maybe a condom, a few toys, unidentifiable stains, and sometimes blood. "Bleeding after sex is actually not uncommon," says Constance Young, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Gynecologic Specialty Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center.
There's a whole bunch of reasons why you might have a little blood on the sheets, and it's usually not a huge deal unless it becomes a regular thing. "You should be concerned if you're bleeding after sex every time you have intercourse, and it seems like the bleeding is heavier over time," Dr. Young says. This could be a sign that you have a serious medical condition, including cervical cancer or an STI. "It is always wise to rule out a serious health condition before you assume it's something easy," she says. Make a mental note about how much you're bleeding, even if you just notice it once, so you can figure out if it's actually A Thing.
The only way to figure out why you're bleeding after sex (and eventually stop it) is to go to your gynecologist and get a pap smear, chat about your contraception, and possibly take some other tests, too. "You need to identify what is causing the bleeding before you can look at solutions," Dr. Young says. To give you an idea of the possibilities, here are some of the reasons why you might bleed after sex.