You don't need to be experimenting with "red room"-style moves to get hurt in the bedroom.
Pain Over Pleasure?
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Sex-related injuries happen way more often than you think, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn based in New York City and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. And they can be sharp, sudden, and in some rare cases, so serious that they require surgery or stitches. (It's important to point out that these kind of injuries are different from a medical issue that makes sex painful for some people.)
While there's no formal stat on the frequency of sex-related injuries, whatever number you might assume is likely underestimated, since many people aren't too eager to report their bedroom mishaps, says Dr. Dweck.
Now, we aren't trying to make sex scary. But you should learn more about some of the most common sex-related injuries, including why they happen and how you can prevent these sex pains so you can get on with the pleasure.
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Just the sound of it—vaginal laceration (yep, a cut)—sounds painful. But how? It's not like you're putting something sharp up there. Turns out, lots of things increase the chance of getting a tiny laceration during sex, says Nita Landry, M.D., an ob-gyn in Los Angeles who's known as "Dr. Nita" as a cohost on The Doctors. Rough sexual intercourse, for example, where you're inserting too quickly, or in an uncomfortable position where there's more friction, can easily cause a tear if the vagina gets too irritated, says Dr. Landry. What's more, some hormonal birth control can make you drier, which can increase the odds of irritation and cuts.
These can be mild or more serious, depending on the depth and location of the cut and the amount of blood loss, if any. Minor lacerations will heal without any intervention, but deeper or larger lacerations that cause significant bleeding may require stitches. So, if you notice spotting, you should be fine (but monitor the situation). If you're bleeding through a pad, you'll need to see your doctor ASAP, says Dr. Dweck.
One easy way to prevent not just a cut, but irritation or discomfort in general, is lube. Even if you think you don't need it, it can help make sex more enjoyable. (Here, we picked the best lube for any sex scenario.)
BTW, if it's not already obvious, don't stick foreign objects—especially something with a rough edge—in your vagina, says Dr. Landry. Sex toys and vibrators are designed with safety and pleasure in mind, so reach for them instead.
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Getting Something Stuck Down There
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We know we told you that you can play with sex toys—and you still should—but even perfectly safe toys can get stuck in your vagina or rectum. (Now is the time to read up on everything you need to know about anal sex.)
Getting something lodged in the rectum or vagina—a condom, vibrator, or Kegel balls—can not only be super uncomfortable but might even require a trip to the ER, says Dr. Dweck. Yeah, not fun.
Some good news: Toys are usually easier to get out of the vagina than the rectum, says Dr. Dweck. And if you're using "a butt plug, you should make sure there is a retrieval mechanism, like a string or something to get it out of the rectum," she says, because if it does get stuck, you'll need medical assistance.
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Falling In the Shower
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Taking sex outside the bedroom can be fun, and shower sex is a great way to get dirty and clean at the same time (not to mention a useful way to have sex on your period).
But the slippery surroundings make falling a real concern, says Dr. Dweck. It's pretty common to hit your head, which can lead to head trauma or a concussion in serious cases, she says.
A tip? You've already taken the step to have sex in the shower, so keep the positions simple. Oh, and forgo the lube; it'll just make the shower or tub floor more slippery.
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Did you wake up with what feels like a pulled muscle, but you haven't gone running for longer than you care to admit? It could've been from those mind-blowing orgasms the night before.
Muscle strains and spasms during sex are a normal occurrence—you're going through different positions and body contortions that can cause an imbalance or trigger muscle damage, says Dr. Dweck. "The back, neck, hamstrings, and groin are common locations for pulled muscles," she says.
Of course, elevation, over-the-counter pain relievers, and ice can help ease soreness, but if the pain is severe or you think you might have really torn something or sprained a ligament, you might want to visit your doctor for an evaluation.
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Sometimes you simply can't make it to the bed (or even bedroom) in time, so you wind up on the floor. While that spontaneity can be a turn-on, the rug burn surely isn't. Even so, Dr. Dweck says she sees rug burn injuries all the time in her practice.
This inflamed skin caused by friction might not feel great, but it's not usually a serious injury. Bust out the first-aid kit with a little ointment and a Band-Aid or gauze, if necessary, and you'll prevent an infection and heal up in no time. And for future reference, throw a blanket down for a little extra cushion before you get busy.
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