Is it okay...

to feel pain after having sex?

Is it ok to feel sore after sex?

• It was your first time

• The sex itself was rough

• Not enough lube

There are a few reasons you may
feel sore after sex:

• Not enough foreplay

Diving right into sexual activity without foreplay is a recipe for discomfort. Spending time slowly exploring each other's bodies with your hands and mouths can help ensure you and your partner are fully aroused, and can help you each learn what feels good.

Even with foreplay,
lube is a must during sex
(especially anal sex!).
Extra lubrication can prevent friction that could lead to pain later on.

Lube is
a must.

Easy to wash off
and safe to use with condoms and sex toys.

A Beginner’s Guide To Lube


A Beginner’s Guide To Lube


Ultra-slippery and safe to use with condoms but not some sex toys.

Long-lasting, but not safe to use with condoms or dental dams.


A Beginner’s Guide To Lube

If you and your partner fully consent, rough sex can be enjoyable. But it can also leave you a little sore.

There’s a misconception that the first time having penetrative sex has to be painful.

That’s not true:

Foreplay, lube, gentleness, and plenty of communication can minimize discomfort.

The hymen is a tissue near the vaginal entrance. Many people were taught that it tears the first time you have sex, leading to bleeding. Now we know that riding bikes, using tampons, and being active can tear it years before someone has sex. So people may bleed after the first time having sex; or they may not.

The Hymen Myth

Light spotting can also be caused by having sex near the start of your period, or shortly after it ends.

OB/GYN with Kaiser Permanente

— Mary Jane Minkin, MD

For some people, their first time having sex is uncomfortable, because their hymen was intact, they were nervous, or for another reason. Pain or soreness should last for only an hour or so after sex.

If you've been feeling pain or bleeding that seems extreme, lasts longer than an hour after your sexual encounter, keeps you from being able to do normal activities, or crops up every time you have sex, reach out to your doctor or OB/GYN for a check up.

Sexual contact can scrape the vagina, penis, or anal canal, which can lead to pain or bleeding. So can an infection, uterine fibroids, vaginismus, or other health conditions.

A doctor can help diagnose and treat these issues.

So, is it okay...

to feel pain after having sex?

But sex should be pleasurable and fun, and in many cases, a few simple steps can minimize discomfort. You might even be ready for another round sooner than you think.

The answer is:

It can be.

Photographed by Savanna Ruedy
Prop Styled by Anna Lemi
Models: Mai Anh Srisuk; Ashley Marsh; Oskar Gantuah
Photographed by Karen Sofia Colon (couple in bed)
Photographed by Megan Madden (lube)
Photographed by Sophie Hur (woman on a bike)

Directed by Stephanie Gonot
Shot by Hanna Radjawane
Set Design by Samantha Margherita

Elizabeth Gulino & Mirel Zaman

Michelle Cope & Idil Gozde

Jackie Baskin

Advocates for Youth