Sex-related injuries happen way more often than you think, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn based in New York City and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V.
And they can be sharp, sudden, and in some rare cases, so serious that they require surgery or stitches. (It’s important to point out that these kind of injuries are different from a medical issue that makes sex painful for some people.)
While there’s no formal stat on the frequency of sex-related injuries, whatever number you might assume is likely underestimated, since many people aren’t too eager to report their bedroom mishaps, says Dr. Dweck.
Now, we aren’t trying to make sex scary. But you should learn more about some of the most common sex-related injuries, including why they happen and how you can prevent these sex pains so you can get on with the pleasure.
Just the sound of it—vaginal laceration (yep, a cut)—sounds painful. But how? It’s not like you’re putting something sharp up there. Turns out, lots of things increase the chance of getting a tiny laceration during sex, says Nita Landry, M.D., an ob-gyn in Los Angeles who’s known as “Dr. Nita” as a co-host on The Doctors. Rough sexual intercourse, for example, where you’re inserting too quickly, or in an uncomfortable position where there’s more friction, can easily cause a tear if the vagina gets too irritated, says Dr. Landry. What’s more, some hormonal birth control can make you drier, which can increase the odds of irritation and cuts.
These can be mild or more serious, depending on the depth and location of the cut and the amount of blood loss, if any. Minor lacerations will heal without any intervention, but deeper or larger lacerations that cause significant bleeding may require stitches. So, if you notice spotting, you should be fine (but monitor the situation). If you’re bleeding through a pad, you’ll need to see your doctor ASAP, says Dr. Dweck.
One easy way to prevent not just a cut, but irritation or discomfort in general, is lube. Even if you think you don’t need it, it can help make sex more enjoyable.
BTW, if it’s not already obvious, don’t stick foreign objects—especially something with a rough edge—in your vagina, says Dr. Landry.