The clitoris is one of the most sensitive parts of the female genitalia. It has over 8,000 nerve endings, making it prone to pain and irritation after sex. Pain in the clit can be caused by several factors, including rough fingering and penetration before adequate lubrication.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent and treat clit pain after sex. Using lubrication, practicing good hygiene, and communicating with your partner are important steps to take.
The clitoral hood is intended to feel good during and after sex, so when it hurts it’s not normal. It’s also not something you should have to live with. SELF spoke to experts about some of the causes of this pain and what you can do to help ease it, both short-term and long-term.
One of the most common reasons for a sore clit after sex is insufficient lubrication. Everyone’s body produces different amounts of natural lubrication, and factors like age, birth control, and certain medications can decrease it. Lube helps prevent friction between the hymen and the clitus, so make sure you use enough, especially during foreplay.
Another cause of a sore clit is an infection, like thrush or bacterial vaginosis (BV). These infections are common and treatable with creams, ointments, and medicines. Some STIs, such as herpes, can also cause genital pain.
Other causes of a sore clit include sexual abuse, which can damage the hymen and clitus; skin disorders like lichen sclerosus or vulva warts; and underlying conditions such as diabetes. In rare cases, a sore clit can be a sign of more serious problems, such as cancers or a life-threatening infection like HIV. Symptoms of a sore clit can be difficult to pinpoint, but your doctor will be able to diagnose it by asking you about the quality, location, and duration of your pain.
The clitoris doesn’t produce its own natural lubricant like the vagina, so if there is no lube present, friction can cause pain. Using a natural or store-bought lubricant (especially a warming or flavored one) will make it easier for your fingers to glide on your clitoris during sex and avoid painful contact. You should also make sure that you are getting enough arousal, as being unenthusiastic about sex can lead to a lack of lubrication and a sore clit.
The other potential causes of clit pain could be that you are being too rough with your partner or that you have your vibrator on too high a setting. Your partner’s hands might be rubbing your clit too hard or putting too much pressure on it, which can also cause pain. Or the hymen might be broken, which can cause pain and lead to other issues like an UTI.
If you think that you might have a problem with your clits, it’s important to see a pelvic pain specialist right away. They will be able to figure out what’s causing the pain and help you find the best treatment options for you. If you have a clit sensitivity issue, your doctor might prescribe some antidepressants or antacids that will help ease the pain and keep it under control.
The skin around the genital area is extra sensitive, and it’s important to keep it clean and protected to prevent irritation. You can try using natural lubricants, such as sesame oil or coconut oil, and avoid scented or flavored products that may irritate the clit. Also, you can wear loose clothing to avoid rubbing or tightening the clitoral area.
If you’re experiencing pain, itching or burning after sex, it might be caused by an infection in the area. This could be a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis, or it could be a medical condition like psoriasis. Infections that cause pain in other areas of the vulva, such as the vaginal opening or when you pee, should also be checked by your healthcare provider.
Some people have a condition that causes their clitoral hood to get stuck to the glans, a condition called clitoral adhesion or clitoral phimosis. This can be caused by injury, certain skin conditions, abrasions, or menopause, and sometimes occurs for no reason at all. This can lead to a build-up of smegma, which forms irritating bumps called keratin pearls, and makes sex painful (5).
You can prevent this by rinsing with warm water after sex and before sleeping, wearing cotton underwear, not using douches or vaginal suppositories, and taking a hot bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts are known for their ability to soothe discomfort and reduce inflammation.
Having a sore clit after sex is not normal, and it should never be ignored. If it happens regularly, you should speak to your doctor as there could be underlying health issues that need to be addressed. However, in most cases a sore clit is a sign that you or your partner has been too rough during sex, not used enough lubricant or you’ve been masturbating for too long.
The clit has many nerve endings bundled together, making it sensitive to touch and stimulation. Some people also have a clitoral hood that covers the glans, which can protect them from friction. However, if the hood is small or nonexistent, more of the glans are exposed to friction and can cause discomfort.
If you don’t use lubricant, your clit and vaginal canal can become painful due to friction. You can add lube to help reduce this friction or try switching up the type of lubricant you use. Lubricants are available in many different forms, including natural, preservative-free and vegan options. They can be squirted into your vagina, wiped on the clit and on the glans to help reduce pain during sexual activity.
If you’re not getting orgasms during sex and masturbation, you can learn how to have multiple orgasms using the Easy Orgasm Solution. The program includes a video and e-book that will teach you how to stimulate the entire vulva for orgasms that feel like they’re coming from your clitoris.