Reasons Men Have Pain During Sexual Intercourse

Pain during sexual intercourse isn't a problem limited to women, as many men have pain during sex as well. Experiencing this problem may not only affect sexual performance but sexual pleasure also.

It can even have lasting psychological effects, such as fear of penetration, leading to impotence. Not surprisingly, equating pain with intercourse can put a strain on relationships.

But men don't have to suffer in silence if they have pain during sex. There are several possible causes of pain during intercourse. Review the reasons below to see if they describe your medical condition or discuss these potential causes with your healthcare provider if you're not sure what the source of your pain is.

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Sexually Transmitted Infections

Pain can arise because of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes or untreated gonorrhea, which can cause burning and itching, as well as sores, bumps, or blisters on the penis or anus.

If you have reason to believe that you've been exposed to an STI, visit your healthcare provider or a clinic to get tested. While these infections carry a stigma, it is vital for your health and wellbeing that you get tested.

The sooner you know if you're infected, the sooner you can get treatment and potentially counteract the effects of these infections.

Foreskin Problems

Uncircumcised men can develop tight foreskin, or phimosis. When the tight foreskin is pulled back intentionally or when erect it can tear, bleed, get inflamed, and be painful. This problem can be resolved with penile ointments or adult circumcision. Talk to your health care provider about your options..

Abnormal Curvature of the Penis

Abnormal curvature of the penis can cause painful erections or difficulty with sexual activity. Curvature can be associated with conditions like hypospadias where the urethra opens away from the tip of the penis. Abnormal curvature can develop over time if scar develops on the penis in a condition called Peyronie's disease, or scar tissue from previous traumas or infections can be a cause of painful intercourse.

Lesions on the Penis

Growths on the penis, other than those associated with sexually transmitted infections, can include cancers of the penis. There could also be abscess pockets on the penis. Benign cysts like sebaceous cysts can also form own the penile skin. All of these lesions can cause pain with intercourse.


This is a condition where a non-sexual and often painful and sustained erection occurs.


Some men may experience an allergic reaction to vaginal fluids or the chemicals found in various forms of contraception. A medical professional can help determine if you're allergic to latex or other forms of contraception.


The penis can become very sensitive after orgasm and ejaculation, which can make continued intercourse painful. This may mean you need to limit how many times you have intercourse with your partner on a given day. Even without intercourse, you can explore other ways to pleasure your partner or be intimate with your mate.

Skin Disorders

Non-allergic skin disorders such as Zoon's balanitis, erosive lichen planus, lichen sclerosis, and penile cancer may cause pain with intercourse.

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

If you're experiencing pain during intercourse, you should be checked out by a healthcare provider. Do not continue attempting intercourse until you have received treatment. This is especially important if the cause of pain is due to infection, which you can inadvertently spread to your mate.

A Word From Verywell

While it may be embarrassing to bring this issue up with your healthcare provider, rest assured that your healthcare provider is a professional and has heard about all sorts of intimate problems patients have. If you don't feel comfortable with a particular practitioner, try to find a practitioner with whom you'll feel more comfortable discussing this sensitive information.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Urology Care Foundation. What are Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or Diseases (STDs)?

  2. International Society for Sexual Medicine. What is phimosis?

  3. Harvard Medical School. Priapism

  4. Marfatia YS, Patel D, Menon DS, Naswa S. Genital contact allergy: A diagnosis missed. Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2016;37(1):1-6.

  5. Turley KR, Rowland DL. Evolving ideas about the male refractory period. BJU Int. 2013;112(4):442-52. doi:10.1111/bju.12011