Painful sex treatment available online

In order to treat your painful intercourse (dyspareunia) symptoms, consult with one of our board-certified primary care doctors online today to find out what might be causing you to have painful symptoms during sex. Get a new prescription or refill to treat painful sex and find relief.*

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*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of painful sex. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about painful sex

Pain during sex, or dyspareunia, is persistent or recurring pain just before, during, or after sex. The pain is felt in the genital region. Women can have pain externally in the vulvar region to the labia (lips of the vagina) or at the opening to the vagina. Some feel the pain internally in the cervix, uterus, or lower abdomen.

It's a common condition that can have negative emotional and psychological effects. In addition to the physical pain, couples may suffer from loss of intimacy or experience strain in their relationship.

Painful sex causes

The following conditions may contribute to painful intercourse:

    • Vaginal atrophy: The vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and thickness and become dry, thin, and inflamed. This can be caused by medication, menopause, or other hormonal changes.

    • Vaginismus: The fear of being hurt or prior trauma can cause a spasm of the vaginal muscles.

    • Vaginal infections: These conditions are common and include yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.

    • Problems with the cervix (opening to the uterus): The penis can reach the cervix at maximum penetration. Therefore, problems with the cervix (such as infections) can cause pain during deep penetration.

    • Problems with the uterus: These may include fibroids, which can cause deep intercourse pain.

    • Endometriosis: This refers to a condition in which the endometrium (tissue lining the uterus) grows outside the uterus.

    • Problems with the ovaries: Such conditions may include ovarian cysts.

    • Pelvic inflammatory disease: This refers to a condition where the tissues deep inside the pelvic region become severely inflamed, and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain.

    • Ectopic pregnancy: This refers to a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg develops outside of the uterus.

    • Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth

    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): These may include genital warts, herpes, or other STIs.

    • Vulvodynia: This condition causes chronic pain in the vulvar area.

    • Injury to the vulva or vagina: These injuries may include a tear from childbirth or from a cut (episiotomy) in the perineum (area of skin between the vagina and the anus) that is made during labor.

    • Skin disorders affecting the genitalia

    • Psychological issues: Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can prevent sexual arousal. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, it can also contribute to your pain during sex.

    In some cases, women can experience pain during sex if there is not sufficient vaginal lubrication. In these cases, the pain may be resolved by using a sexual lubricant.

    Like women, men can also feel pain if there is not enough vaginal lubrication during sex. In other instances, painful sex in men can be caused by certain penile disorders:

    • Foreskin damage: Damage to the foreskin (skin that covers the head of the penis) caused by rubbing or tearing can lead to pain.

    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Yeast infections or infections under the foreskin, as well as common STIs like genital herpes or gonorrhea, can make sex painful.

    • Penis deformities: Peyronie’s disease or other deformities of the penis can cause painful intercourse.

Painful sex symptoms

The most common symptom is pain with intercourse that occurs at the vaginal opening or deep in the pelvis. It can be a distinct pain in one area, or it may affect the entire genital region. There can be feelings of discomfort, burning, or throbbing. If you have pain during sex, you may feel:

    • Sharp pain during penetration or at entry

    • Deep pain during thrusting

    • Throbbing or aching after intercourse

    • Burning pains

    • Pelvic cramping

    • Muscle tightness or spasms

How to treat painful sex

Some treatments for sexual pain do not require medical intervention. For example, in the case of painful intercourse after pregnancy, waiting at least six weeks after childbirth before attempting intercourse can help prevent painful intercourse. In cases in which there is vaginal dryness or a lack of lubrication, water-based lubricants can help.

Some treatments for sexual pain do require prescription medication and other therapies. If vaginal dryness is due to menopause, ask our board-certified doctors about estrogen creams, tablets, rings, or other medications. Other underlying conditions that cause painful sex may be resolved with prescription medications as well. Our doctors can help determine the cause of your painful intercourse through an online evaluation and order further testing to your nearest lab, if necessary.

For cases of sexual pain in which there is no underlying medical cause, sexual therapy might be helpful. Some individuals may need to resolve guilt, inner conflicts regarding sex or feelings regarding past abuse. Book an online therapy appointment with one of our licensed therapists to discuss options for sexual therapy.

Medications for painful sex

There are medications available to treat pain during sex. If vaginal dryness due to low estrogen is the cause of your painful sex, topical estrogens can be applied to the vagina. Medication can also be prescribed to treat pain due to infection or underlying medical conditions.

How to prevent painful sex

Painful sex may sometimes be due to underlying causes out of your control. However, some of the factors within your control include having safe and protected sex and maintaining good hygiene.

When to see a doctor for painful sex

Book an appointment with one of our trusted doctors online if there are symptoms such as new or worsening pain during sex, bleeding, genital lesions, irregular periods, vaginal discharge, or involuntary vaginal muscle contractions. For pain with no underlying medical cause, our doctors can refer you to one of our licensed therapists for counseling.

Talk openly with our clinical team about any pain during sexual intercourse. Some questions you may want to discuss include:

  • Where is the pain occurring?

  • How often does the pain occur?

  • How long have you been having painful intercourse?

  • What does the pain feel like?

  • What medications are you taking?

  • Have you had any prior surgeries in the area?

  • Have you been treated for any conditions of the vagina?

Painful sex treatment FAQs

  • What does it mean if intercourse is painful?

    Painful intercourse can be caused by various factors, such as infections in the genital area or urinary tract, skin problems in the genital area, involuntary spasms of the vaginal wall muscles (vaginismus), vaginal atrophy, sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, and genital herpes. If you are experiencing painful intercourse, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. Our board-certified doctors can evaluate your symptoms online and help determine an appropriate treatment plan, depending on the cause of your painful intercourse.

  • What is the most common cause of pain during intercourse?

    There is no one most common cause of pain during intercourse, as it can have a variety of causes. Some reasons for painful intercourse include vaginal dryness, extreme fatigue, problems within an intimate relationship, and uncertain feelings toward sex that might stem from psychological factors. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the reproductive organs, can also cause pain during intercourse, as can sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can cause vaginal irritation. Additionally, low estrogen levels resulting from menopause, childbirth, or breastfeeding may lead to less lubrication and painful intercourse.

  • Can hormone imbalance cause painful intercourse?

    Yes, a hormone imbalance can cause painful intercourse. Hormonal changes can lead to a decrease in estrogen levels, which can result in vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. This can make sexual activity uncomfortable or painful. In addition, vaginal atrophy, which is the deterioration of vaginal tissue caused by estrogen loss, is a major source of painful intercourse for women around menopausal age.

  • What causes painful intercourse after menopause?

    Vaginal dryness and painful sex are common for postmenopausal women. They can occur in conjunction with vaginal itching related to the dryness caused by the changing hormones in your body.

  • Is it normal for sex to be very painful?

    Pain during sex can be a common issue and can have several different causes, however, severe pain is not normal. It is important to speak with a doctor to determine the cause of the pain and to discuss possible treatments. This can be a sensitive topic, but it is important to seek medical advice to address any underlying issues or concerns.

  • Does painful sex during menopause go away?

    Painful sex during menopause may not go away on its own, but there are treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms. One of the main reasons for painful sex during menopause is a decrease in estrogen levels, which can cause vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. Treatment options may include hormone replacement therapy, vaginal moisturizers or lubricants, and medication to increase blood flow to the pelvic area. It is important to consult with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment for each case.

  • Does dyspareunia cause bleeding?

    Dyspareunia does not necessarily cause bleeding. Any bleeding that occurs during sexual intercourse is likely caused by the underlying medical issue. The bleeding could be caused by the same issue that is causing the painful sex.

    Therefore, dyspareunia does not directly cause bleeding during sexual intercourse, but underlying medical issues that cause dyspareunia may lead to bleeding.

  • What tests are done to diagnose dyspareunia?

    To diagnose dyspareunia, healthcare providers may perform a physical exam, which could include a pelvic exam, rectal exam, and Pap test. In addition to a physical exam, doctors may also take a complete medical and sexual history to help identify potential causes of the pain. A single-digit vaginal examination may identify tender pelvic floor muscles, and a bimanual examination can assess for uterine issues and pelvic masses.

3 simple steps to treat painful sex symptoms today

Step 1

Book a painful sex treatment appointment.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your clinician about your painful sex symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

Pick up your prescription to treat painful sex.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Painful sex treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request painful sex treatment and get a new prescription or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

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Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
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Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

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If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.

Related conditions to painful sex

The following conditions may contribute to painful sex symptoms:


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