Why Does My Penis Hurt After Sex?

Intercourse sends potent signals to your brain and reduces your pain awareness. It provides temporary relief for certain musculoskeletal conditions, allowing you to enjoy the experience. However, sex is not the cure for painful conditions. 

Sometimes sex itself can be a source of pain. What can you do if, instead of enjoying your sexual experience, it usually ends up with a sore penis? Is it something you should worry about?

In this article, we review the most important causes of a sore penis after sex, and answer the question, “why does my penis hurt after sex”?. We also tell you when it can be a source of concern and what to do.

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Should you be concerned about a sore penis after sex?

You would initially say yes, absolutely. But the truth is that not all cases of soreness after sex are a cause of concern. In some cases, you could experience mild soreness that goes away by itself. You can treat these cases at home without an issue.

But other cases are not easily relieved and have an underlying cause we need to address. For example, an infection or a structural problem in your penis. Most of them are reversible and treatable but require medical assistance. Thus, it will be very useful to evaluate the source of pain and act according to every case.

10 causes of a sore penis after sex

We will list the top 10 causes of a sore penis after sex. As we describe each one, we will give you signs of what to look for. 

However, keep in mind that a doctor should make the final diagnosis. The most important causes of a sore penis include:

1) Insufficient lubrication

This is the most common and reversible cause of a sore penis after sex. The cause of soreness is related to continued friction and erosion of the skin. Remember that the foreskin and other parts are particularly sensitive. 

The skin layer is thin and can be affected by sex-related friction. If your sexual partner is insufficiently lubricated, you can both feel discomfort. 

It wears away the upper layer of the penis skin and hurts the mucosa layer of your partner. This happens in anal sex and vaginal sex, irritating the skin for a while.

This sensation usually includes soreness, peeling skin or flakes, cracks in your penis skin, and redness. It can be itchy and may sometimes bleed. This only lasts for a few hours, and you may take one day to recover fully.

2) Sexually transmitted infections

In sexually active males, we should always rule out a sexually transmitted infection. There are many of them, and some could increase penile sensitivity or cause soreness after sex. Genital herpes is one of the most common causes of soreness during and after sexual intercourse. 

We can also rule out gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. Various symptoms usually accompany these ailments. They include urethral discharge, blisters and other lesions in the penis, itchiness, painful erection, and a burning sensation when urinating (1).

3) Phimosis and paraphimosis

If you cannot pull back the foreskin and the tip of your penis rarely shows, this is probably a case of phimosis. It is usually related to redundant foreskin and happens in males who never had a circumcision. 

The skin is too tight and does not stretch, and it may lead to an infection of the glans. Sex may forcefully pull the foreskin, causing irritation and pain.

Moreover, people with phimosis could end up with paraphimosis. In paraphimosis, the foreskin is forcibly retracted during sexual intercourse. It is still very tight and gets stuck behind the tip of your penis. This causes swelling and may turn into an emergency. The penis blood flow becomes compromised, and severe cases may lead to tissue necrosis (2).

4) Vigorous or prolonged sex

As noted above, paraphimosis is caused by forceful retraction of the foreskin. This is more likely to happen when you have vigorous sex. But even in a circumcised male, vigorous strokes can be painful for both partners. 

During sex, you might not feel a sensation of discomfort. But then, after you’re done, and the body chemistry goes back to normal, you could start experiencing soreness.

Prolonged sex also leads to soreness in your penis. Remember that erections are caused by blood retention in your penis. It is stored in the corpus cavernosa, and a prolonged erection injures the tissue. 

Besides penis soreness, you could also experience blue balls or epididymal hypertension. In such cases, you could feel soreness and discomfort in your penis and testicles.

5) Allergy to the lubricant or condom

Take notice if you recently started using a new product to have sex with your partner. This includes a lubricant, latex condoms, or a sex toy. Keep in mind that you could be allergic to a constituent chemical or one released by this new product. 

If you have allergies, you will experience additional symptoms. They include rash and redness, itchy skin, and sometimes blisters filled with fluid or a thickened skin. This type of allergy is irritant contact dermatitis. It usually resolves by staying away from the trigger and using an over-the-counter antiallergic. It takes a few days to improve and is not usually an emergency (3).

6) Prostatitis

The prostate gland is below the urinary bladder and surrounding the urethra. It is connected to the urethra to release fluid that joins with the semen during ejaculation. Prostatitis is the inflammation of this gland, which is sometimes caused by infection. 

In other cases, the cause of inflammation is very difficult to trace, and patients endure chronic pelvic pain. One of the symptoms of prostatitis is medically known as dyspareunia. This is pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse (painful sex). Another symptom is painful ejaculation

Prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics, which should be prescribed by a doctor (4).

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7) Yeast infection

The candida fungus is prevalent in the skin of the glans. It can actually be normal flora of the glans because the body can handle the fungus, and it doesn’t grow. But yeast infection in the penis is usually due to an overgrowth of this fungus. 

It happens in patients with immune problems and those taking steroid drugs and other immunosuppressants. Poor hygiene is also a risk factor doctors should consider in some patients. In any case, a yeast infection is very similar to sexually transmitted infections in many ways. 

It causes penile soreness but also urethral discharge, itchiness, rash, and additional symptoms. The only way to solve the problem is using a type of treatment that your doctor will prescribe according to your symptoms and diagnostic tests (5).

8) Urinary infections

Next on the list is a urinary infection. Lower urinary tract infections usually cause a burning sensation when urinating. It also causes a burning sensation when ejaculating. 

In some cases, the condition can be very severe, causing balanitis and prostatitis. They include pain in the rectum and penile soreness. You will probably distinguish urinary infections because the symptoms are not limited to intercourse. You could still have symptoms without sex, and they include dark or cloudy urine with a foul smell.

9) Peyronie’s disease

There’s a natural curve in the penis, which is different in every case. But Peyronie’s disease is an abnormally pronounced curve caused by scar tissue forming in the penis. This curve alters the normal function of the penis during penetration and often causes a penile fracture. These patients may experience soreness after having sex, especially if they try to have vigorous sex (6).

10) Post-orgasmic illness syndrome

This is probably the least common condition. This syndrome is basically an allergic reaction to your own semen. Thus, every time you ejaculate, there’s allergy and inflammation going on in your penis. Penile soreness usually lasts a few minutes but it could extend for a few hours (7).

Natural remedies for relief

You can relieve most cases of penile soreness after sex at home with natural remedies and over-the-counter medications. However, as you have seen in the list above, others require medical assistance.

The most appropriate natural remedies include:

  • Using a cold compress: In other words, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the painful area. You shouldn’t use ice directly on your skin

  • Changing your underwear: Very tight pants or underwear can increase friction and worsen the problem. We also recommend cotton underwear because it is breathable and less likely to cause allergies.

  • Reduce sexual activity: We also recommend taking a short break from sex until you fully recover.

When to see a doctor

Go see your doctor immediately if you’re not circumcised and have your foreskin stuck behind your glans. If your penis is changing colors, it could be an emergency.

It is also essential to see your doctor if you experience continuous or severe pain. If you have tried to control the problem without success, a doctor may help you. Watch out for bleeding and a loss of sensation in your penis as an alarming symptom, too.

Conclusion

In most cases, penile pain after sex is caused by penis friction burns due to insufficient ejaculation. You could also have painful erections after a very long time or during vigorous sex. If this is happening after using a new product for sex, you should rule out an allergic reaction.

If you are not circumcised, it is appropriate to look for phimosis or paraphimosis. Infectious and inflammatory conditions such as yeast infections, urinary infections, prostatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases should be ruled out by your doctor. Thus, if you have continuous, severe, or recurrent pain after sex, it is a good idea to ask a healthcare professional about it.

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Sources

  1. McCormack, D., & Koons, K. (2019). Sexually transmitted infections. Emerg Med Clin N Am, 37, 725-38. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31563204/
  2. Fahmy, M. (2017). Phimosis and paraphimosis. In Congenital Anomalies of the Penis (pp. 245-250). Springer, Cham. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-43310-3
  3. Ljubojević Hadžavdić, S., Gojčeta Burnić, S., Hadžavdić, A., Marinović Kulišić, S., & Jurakić Tončić, R. (2018). Erythema of the penis after use of a latex condom-latex allergy or something else?. Contact Dermatitis, 78(2), 168-169. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29341187/
  4. Magri, V., Boltri, M., Cai, T., Colombo, R., Cuzzocrea, S., De Visschere, P., … & Wagenlehner, F. M. (2018). Multidisciplinary approach to prostatitis. Archivio Italiano di Urologia e Andrologia, 90(4), 227-248. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30655633/
  5. Morris, B. J., & Krieger, J. N. (2017). Penile inflammatory skin disorders and the preventive role of circumcision. International journal of preventive medicine, 8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28567234/
  6. Zargooshi, J. (2004). Trauma as the cause of Peyronie’s disease: penile fracture as a model of trauma. The Journal of urology, 172(1), 186-188. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15201768/
  7. Nguyen, H. M. T., Bala, A., Gabrielson, A. T., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2018). Post-orgasmic illness syndrome: a review. Sexual medicine reviews, 6(1), 11-15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29128269/

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