Let’s talk orgasms: They’re supposed to feel good, right? (Or, you know, meh…but that’s another story altogether.) What I’m getting at: They’re most definitely not supposed to hurt. Like, at all.
And yet, because the human body is full of mysteries, sometimes orgasms actually do hurt-and that sucks. Yep, we’re talking about those annoying AF cramps that strike seemingly out of nowhere right after sex.
What causes painful orgasms, anyway?
Okay, so the official name for this pain is dysorgasmia, which again, means you’re having pain either during or after your orgasm, says Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
For women who experience pain after they orgasm, the cramping (which can feel like period cramps) usually happens right away and can cause pain for a few hours after sex, Greves says. You can feel the pain or the cramping anywhere in your vagina, and/or in your lower abdomen or back.
Here’s the thing: Your uterus is a muscle, and it contracts when you orgasm. “Just like any other muscle in your body, you may have some discomfort after it gets a workout,” Greves explains.
But in some cases, an underlying gynecological condition can also trigger that pain or cramping after sex, like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, an ovarian cyst, or uterine fibroids, says Greves.
To put it as delicately as possible, the pain here usually stems from the, uh, friction that happens during sex. In PID and endometriosis, the inflammation and pain already associated with those conditions can be worsened by, well, the penis; though this is less an issue directly related to orgasms, and more about pain during sex as a whole, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Pain during sex isn’t just something you should deal with.
For starters, this is a serious barrier to your pleasure (I’ll say it again for the people in the back: Sex isn’t supposed to hurt). And then there’s the fact that you could have an underlying condition that needs treatment.
“If this is new for you, see your ob/gyn for an evaluation,” Greves says.
If you don’t have any underlying conditions like PID or endometriosis, your doctor may recommend that you try using a hot pad on your pelvic region (to try to get your uterine muscles to chill out) and taking some OTC anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain.
But again, don’t sit on this and assume that you’re doomed to suffer through crampy orgasms for the rest of your life. “If you notice a change in your body, you should always get it checked out,” Greves says.
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