Reasons Men Have Pain During Sexual Intercourse

Pain during sex happens to people of all genders. It can affect sexual pleasure and have lasting psychological effects. When sex is painful, it can cause a fear of penetration, impotence, and relationship strain.

This article explores some common reasons for penis pain during sex. It also offers some guidance about when to seek medical care.

Tense couple in a bedroom
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Sexually Transmitted Infections

Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause pain during sex. Infections such as herpes and gonorrhea can cause burning and itching if left untreated. They can also cause sores, bumps, or blisters on the penis or anus.

If you think you may have been exposed to an STI, visit your healthcare provider or a clinic to get tested. You may not want to seek medical care because the symptoms seem too personal, but it is vital for your health that you get tested.

The sooner you know if you're infected, the sooner you can get treatment. Early treatment can limit or prevent some effects of these infections.

Foreskin Problems

Uncircumcised men can develop tight foreskin, or phimosis. When you pull back the foreskin, or when your penis is erect, it can tear, bleed, get inflamed, or be painful.

This problem can be treated with an ointment. In some cases, adult circumcision can resolve the problem. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

Curved Penis

Normal penises vary in length, girth, and shape from one person to the next. Sometimes, a curved penis can cause painful erections or make sex difficult.

Some penises curve because of conditions like hypospadias. That's where the urethra opens away from the tip of the penis.

In some cases, a curve can develop over time. One example is Peyronie's disease, which causes a scar to form on the penis. Scars from previous traumas or infections can make sex painful, too.

Lesions and growths

Sometimes a growth on the penis is what's causing the pain. Some cancers cause growths. Stones, cysts, and lesions can also form on the penis or in the ducts and tubes that carry sperm.

If your prostate is enlarged, you may have pain when you ejaculate. It's also possible that an infected pocket called an abscess can form on the penis.

Any of these growths can cause pain when you're having sex or ejaculating.


Most of the time, erections go away after sex. Sometimes a non-sexual erection lasts much longer than it normally would. This condition is called priapism, and it is often painful.


Some men have an allergic reaction to vaginal fluids or the chemicals in birth control methods. A medical professional can help you find out if you're allergic to latex or another substance.


The penis can become very sensitive after and orgasm and ejaculation. If you keep having sex after that point, it may be painful. This may mean you need to limit how many times you have sex with your partner on a given day or find other ways to experience pleasure together. A rare condition called pudendal neuralgia affects a nerve in the pelvic region and may cause pain during sex as well.


Some antidepressants and muscle relaxers can cause pain when you ejaculate. It's important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think a medication may be causing this kind of pain. You should not stop taking your medication without discussing it with your healthcare provider first, because serious health problems can arise if you do.

Skin Disorders

Some skin conditions can lead to painful sex. These include:

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

You should be checked out by a healthcare provider any time sex is painful. In fact, it's a good idea to skip sex until you have been treated. If an infection is causing the pain, you could be passing it to your partner.

It may feel embarrassing to bring up this issue with your healthcare provider. But most healthcare providers have discussed painful sex and other personal issues with their patients.

If you don't feel comfortable with your current provider, try to find a healthcare professional you can talk to because the right diagnosis and treatment can improve your health and your sex life.


Pain during sex can be a sign that you have an STI, a skin disorder, an allergy, or another health condition. It could also be that the shape of your penis, a medication, a long-lasting erection, or post-orgasm sensitivity could be the reason.

Some conditions that cause this kind of pain can be serious. It's vital that you seek medical care when sex hurts so that you can protect your own health and your partner's.

7 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. National Health Service. Tight foreskin (phimosis and paraphimosis). Updated July 26, 2018.

  3. Waqar M, Omar K, Moubasher A, Brunckhorst O, Ahmed K. Painful ejaculation: An ignored symptomCureus. 2020;12(10):e11253. Published 2020 Oct 30. doi:10.7759/cureus.11253

  4. Muneer A, Alnajjar HM, Ralph D. Recent advances in the management of priapism. F1000Res. 2018;7:37. doi:10.12688/f1000research.12828.1

  5. 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.

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

  7. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Pudendal Neuralgia.

By Jerry Kennard
 Jerry Kennard, PhD, is a psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.