The following situations and conditions can contribute to or cause pain during intercourse or other forms of penetration. The first few times you have intercourse or experience vaginal penetration, you may feel a small to moderate amount of pain at the entrance to the vagina. There can be some bleeding or no bleeding at all—both are normal. The reasons for the pain are not always clear, but it is typically temporary. An unstretched hymen vaginal corona has typically been blamed for this pain at first penetration, but new understandings of the hymen suggest otherwise. But not all hymens meet these criteria, and women without substantial hymens can also experience painful penetration.
Sexual intimacy is meant to be an enjoyable experience that draws you and your partner closer together. But when sex becomes painful, you may find yourself doing anything and everything just to avoid it. This fairly common problem — three in four women experience pain during sex at some point in their lives — can usually be resolved with the right approach. Dyspareunia, or frequent pain during intercourse, involves feeling pain at any point just before, during, or following sex. This pain may affect part of your vagina, or you may feel it in your pelvic region, lower back, uterus, or bladder. Some women feel pain only during sexual penetration, while others feel discomfort even when using tampons. You may experience deep pain with each thrust, or your pain may slowly emerge following normal sex.
Pain during or after sexual intercourse is known as dyspareunia. Although this problem can affect men, it is more common in women. Women with dyspareunia may have pain in the vagina, clitoris or labia.