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Home / Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) / 7 reasons you feel a burning sensation after sex

7 reasons you feel a burning sensation after sex

Ways to prevent pain after sex and knowing how to spot an infection

A burning sensation straight after sex is common in both men and women, and there is often a quick and simple fix. However, a burning feeling can also signal that something is wrong, and could be a sign of infection.

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Read on to find out 9 possible causes of post-sex discomfort, as well as methods of prevention and knowing when to seek medical advice.

If you feel burning immediately after sex, it might be down to one of the following causes.

1. Lack of lubrication

A burning sensation after sex can be caused by not enough lubrication. This can create friction, making sex more painful instead of enjoyable.

Friction can cause a burning feeling during and after sex, especially if you have intercourse for a prolonged amount of time. It can affect both partners but is more commonly a cause of pain in women.

To avoid one of the most common reasons for painful sex, engage in foreplay to allow more time for the vagina to produce more lubricant.

Is it normal to bleed after sex?

Bleeding after sex isn’t necessarily something to worry about, but it can be a symptom of a health condition.

However, friction during sex is a fairly common cause of bleeding. This is because it can create small tears in the walls of the vagina, which may result in small amounts of bleeding after intercourse.

If you have any concerns about bleeding after sex, speak to your doctor.

2. Lack of arousal or vaginal dryness

When a woman becomes aroused, her body naturally produces lubricant. So, if you’re not in the mood but decide to have sex anyway, this could be the reason for your discomfort.

A purple bottle of lube on a purple background, with rose petals, condoms, and a lacy bralette

Why is my vagina burning?

Vaginal dryness is a common problem for postmenopausal women. This means that the vagina does not produce enough lubricant, even when the woman is aroused. This can cause burning after sex.

If you find that you or your partner are feeling soreness due to friction after sex, you can buy lubricant from your local pharmacy to help out in the bedroom.

3. Allergies

An allergic reaction could also cause a burning feeling after sex.

If you think that you might be allergic to something that is being used during sex, try using a different type of condom. Instead of using latex, try plastic.

You should also use different brands of lubricant. Be sure to check the ingredients in the lubricant before using it.

Alternatively, you could have a sperm allergy. This happens when your body cannot tolerate certain proteins found in semen.

This allergy does not affect fertility, but it can make you feel pain after sex by causing burning, soreness, and itching. Ask your partner to wear a condom to avoid contact with sperm.

4. Mental state

Your mental state can have a large impact on your sex life.

For men, stress and anxiety are closely linked with impotence (erectile dysfunction).

For women, a difficult mental state might not prevent you from having sex, but it can cause you to tense up.

A young woman looking stressed with a plain blue background

Being tense will create more friction, which can cause a burning feeling afterwards, even if you had enough lubrication.

Be open with your partner if you are feeling anxious during intimate times. You can also seek professional help by trying counselling.

5. Rough or prolonged sex

It’s understandable to get carried away in the heat of the moment. But sometimes, a more passionate encounter can leave you feeling a burning sensation.

Rough sex can lead to more friction between you and your partner. Your pleasure might override the pain during sex, but once the moment is over you may feel the after effects.

Prolonged sex is also more likely to cause a burning feeling as you or your partner might not stay fully lubricated for the entire time. A lack of lube will lead to friction, which can lead to discomfort.

If you feel burning a few days after sex, it might be because of an infection or an STI.

6. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

If you start to feel a burning sensation in your genitals a few days after having sex, especially when urinating, you may have caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Spotting the symptoms of an STI is important, and you should get checked regularly if you have casual sex because many STIs are symptomless.

A doctor taking a sample from a patient at a clinic

The following STIs are known to cause pain or burning sensations:

  1. Chlamydia - can cause a painful, itching, or burning feeling during sex or when urinating
  2. Gonorrhoea - can cause pain when urinating for both sexes, and pain during intercourse for women
  3. Trichomoniasis - can cause pain when urinating
  4. Genital herpes - sores and blisters caused by herpes can cause pain during and after sex
  5. Ureaplasma urealyticum - can cause a burning sensation when urinating

A doctor can then prescribe you the right treatment, which you can purchase at a pharmacy or with an online health provider.

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7. Other infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Infections can happen when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract.

A UTI causes the bladder and urethra to become inflamed, making it sting or burn when urinating. For women, it is common to get urinary tract infections after sex.

A woman experiencing bladder pain due to a UTI

It can also make the areas around your bladder and urethra painful during sex.

If you suspect you have a UTI, such as cystitis, make sure to rest and drink lots of fluids. If the infection doesn’t resolve itself, you might need to ask your doctor for antibiotics.

Penile infections

Prostatitis is an infection that happens when bacteria from the urinary tract reach the prostate, making it inflamed.

This can lead to a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating.

You will need antibiotics to treat prostatitis. They come in tablet form and should treat the infection quite quickly.

Yeast infections

Thrush is a common yeast infection that can appear after sex. Whilst the vast majority of people who get thrush are women, it can also affect men.

Thrush can irritate the genitals of both men and women, as well as itching, redness, and an unpleasant burning sensation.

If you suspect you may have a yeast infection, it’s best to avoid sex until the infection has cleared.

To treat the infection, you can try over-the-counter medication from your local pharmacy, or consult your doctor about stronger prescription medication.

Ways of preventing burning after sex

Here are some ways that might help reduce your chances of feeling pain during or after sex.

  1. Use lubricant - keep a bottle of lube handy when in the bedroom to quickly limit any friction that might cause pain or injury
  2. Take antihistamines - to reduce allergic reactions to possible lubricants or latex condoms
  3. Meditate or relax - taking a few moments to unwind after a stressful day can help eliminate any tenseness in your body before sex
  4. Try different positions - if certain positions cause discomfort or friction you can try out some new positions
  5. Urinate after sex - if you are a woman, make sure to urinate as soon as possible after sex to reduce your chances of getting a UTI
  6. Stick to oral - if penetrative sex causes you pain, you can leave it to one side and focus on other forms of pleasure
  7. Use condoms - by wearing a condom you protect yourself against the spread of STIs

When should you see a doctor?

Generally, feeling mild pain during and after sex on occasion is nothing to be concerned about.

However, you should talk to your doctor if you suspect that you have an infection, or if you have pain that isn’t going away.

In summary

It is common to experience a burning feeling after sex, and it can be caused by many different factors.

Friction is often the cause and can be easily prevented by using extra lubrication with your partner.

However, in some cases, a burning sensation can be a sign of a UTI or STI.

Speak to a healthcare professional if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have persisting pain.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 04-01-2024
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

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