The short answer to, "Is it normal that I bleed after sex?" is: no. However, it is very common.
Bleeding during sex usually happens because we rush into intercourse. We’re socially conditioned to put our partner first, especially male partners. Women are taught to bow to the male orgasm and as a result, little attention is given to the clitoris. We’re supposed to enjoy being penetrated by a penis when, in reality, a penis inside of a vagina does not an orgasm make.
When you (and your partner) don’t look out for your vagina, you can wind up hurting it.
No matter who you are, if you’re experiencing abnormal bleeding, make an appointment with your gynecologist to rule out any medical concerns. There are many reasons you might be bleeding after sex, but for the most part, you can help prevent it.
Here is what you need to know.
Make sure you’re aroused enough for intercourse
Before engaging in sexual intercourse, listen to your body. Be aware of your arousal levels and how you’re feeling both in your head and in your body. When the body isn’t aroused, the vaginal walls lie flat against one another. The vaginal canal only extends about four inches in length.
When you get turned on, a few key things happen: The vaginal walls expand, the canal itself extends to accommodate a penis (or whatever object you’re putting up there), and the vagina lubricates itself. These are the natural ways Lady V prepares herself for penetration.
For women, it can take an average of 20 minutes to become fully aroused. It takes many women much longer and it varies from person to person. What’s important to note is that if you go sticking something up your cooter before it’s ready, it can be painful, cause minor vaginal tearing, irritation of the cervix, and subsequently, bleeding post-sex.
Don’t rush into sexual intercourse. Get into foreplay! The myth that this is the supreme form of sex needs to die and it needs to die now. Stimulate the external clitoral glans with either a mouth, fingers, or a toy. If possible, have an orgasm before you engage in penetration.
No matter how aroused you are, use lots and lots of lube! Vaginas lubricate, but they don’t lubricate enough to render personal lubricant obsolete. Use it. Love it.
If you engage in rough sex, that’s totally fine, normal, and healthy. If you like it a little kinky and hard, that’s your game. You do you. What’s critical is that you’re engaging in rough sex properly. Obviously we have a complete guide to having rough sex like a champion.
“Rough” does not equal “unaroused” or “no clitoral stimulation.” Just because you want it in doggy style like a porn movie or in missionary while you’re handcuffed to a bed does not mean your pleasure centers should be ignored. When you’re too rough with the vulva and vagina, without taking proper precautions, bleeding can most definitely occur.
For more on how to take care of your vagina after a rough sex session, read this.
Could you have an infection?
If you’ve noticed some bleeding after sex and aren’t sure what could be causing it, look out for other symptoms. Have you noticed any unusual, thick discharge? Burning when you pee or itching?
You might have a yeast infection or another bacterial infection such as BV. A variety of infections can cause post-coital bleeding. When you have one of these super common infections (nearly every woman will get a yeast infection at some point in her life), your vagina becomes irritated and inflamed.
This makes the mucus-rich, tender vaginal and vulvar skin very sensitive and prone to tearing. If you thrust a penis (or wand or dildo) up in there, you will anger the already stressed out V.
Again, listen to your body. Pay attention to what is happening to you. Don’t ignore your vagina when it’s trying to tell you something.
If you think you might have an infection, see your doctor ASAP. Yeast infections can usually be cleared up with an over-the-counter medication like Monistat, but a bacterial infections like BV or a UTI need a round of antibiotics.
Be sure to get tested regularly for STIs, as they too can cause post-coital bleeding. HPV (which can only be tested for by Pap Smear), for instance, affects the cervical cells. If a penis is poking an inflamed cervix, there can certainly be bleeding.
If you take precautions to ensure arousal and are being careful with you vulva and vagina and yet the bleeding continues, see your doctor. As we sex educators like to say: You don’t mess the vagina. You honor it and take care of it.