Sexual Dysfunction

Painful Sex in Men

Painful sex can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. Although many people may not realize that men can experience painful sex, it is a condition to take seriously. If you are having pain during intercourse, it's essential to talk about it and learn ways to relieve your symptoms. Also known as dyspareunia, pain during sex in men happens in 3% to 5% of sexually active men in Western countries such as the United States, and it’s usually caused by a medical condition. Some men may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or discouraged if they suffer from this issue, because it can be uncomfortable to discuss male sexual dysfunction. However, seeking help from a certified sex therapist can help you understand the underlying causes of your pain and learn how you can recover and enjoy a satisfying sex life once again. 
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What Is Painful Sex in Men?

Men who suffer from dyspareunia often deal with mental and physical health concerns, as they struggle to understand why they are experiencing pain during an activity that is supposed to be pleasurable. While some people may think only women suffer from painful intercourse, that is not the case. Men can experience pelvic, genital, or psychological pain that affects their sex life and their partner's enjoyment. Sexually transmitted diseases, physiological deformities, infections, or emotional trauma can trigger discomfort and prevent men from experiencing enjoyable sex. If left untreated, pain during sex in men can hinder relationships and contribute to other chronic health concerns. 

Struggling with pain during or after intercourse can trigger anxiety, depression, or isolation for many men. If this issue continues for several months, a healthcare professional can diagnose the source of the problem by conducting an examination and laboratory testing. While this issue is often related to a physiological issue, a man’s sexual partner may not understand why their partner is avoiding sexual intercourse, which can lead to difficulties in  relationships for many men. The symptoms, causes, and recovery from pain during sex can all be uncovered by seeking treatment and working with a certified sex therapist who can provide a solution for lasting recovery.

Symptoms of Pain During Sex

Sexual pain in men is a discouraging and stressful issue that can manifest in various symptoms:
  • Burning during or after sex
  • Trouble reaching orgasm
  • Pain upon penetration
  • Throbbing pain during or after intercourse
  • Pain that occurs during manual stimulation 

Causes of Pain During Sex

When men suffer from painful sex, several factors can contribute to this issue. Emotional stressors like anxiety, depression, or trauma histories can contribute to painful sex. Understanding the causes of discomfort during sex can help prevent further problems from interfering with a fulfilling sex life. 

Physical Deformities 

Whether men are born with penial deformities or they've suffered an injury that alters appearance, it can cause pain and limit sexual satisfaction. A curved penis, or Peyronie's disease, is a common cause of painful male sex. This is a disorder in which plaque or scar tissue forms beneath the skin of the penis. It can be caused by repeat injury, and creates a bend in the penis during an erection, which often causes pain. Tight foreskin, growths, or lesions may also make sex painful. 

Delayed Ejaculation

Men need nerves, brain function, and hormones to achieve ejaculation. Delayed ejaculation can limit sexual function, contributing to painful sex. Men who struggle with mental disorders or chronic health concerns may experience delayed ejaculation, causing pain during and after sex.


When men experience arousal, they often get an erection, which dissipates after ejaculation. However, some men can experience prolonged erections that may last for several hours without sexual arousal. Priapism causes a prolonged erection, which can be painful and limit a man's ability to ejaculate or enjoy a sexual experience.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to vaginal fluids or birth control methods can also cause painful sex in men. Some men can develop allergic reactions to latex condoms, diaphragms, or other lubricants. A healthcare professional can help determine if this is the cause of your pain during sex. 

Skin Conditions

If men or their partners have a skin condition on the testicles, penis, anus, or buttocks, it can make sex uncomfortable. Foreskin inflammation, penile cancer, or genital psoriasis can cause sex pain. Engaging in sexual intercourse with a skin condition can increase the problem.

Emotional or Mental Concerns

Emotional stressors like anxiety or depression can contribute to painful sex. Men who have chronic pelvic pain can also experience anxiety or depression, leading to relationship strain and low sex drive. Some medications used to treat mental health issues can alter a man's sex drive or interfere with natural erections, causing painful sex.


Men who engage in frequent exercise or sports may encounter genital injuries at some point. Any penile, testicular, or scrotal injury can cause pudendal nerve damage, preventing sexual enjoyment. It's essential to seek immediate treatment if you've suffered from a genital injury to ensure optimal recovery. 
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Sex Positions

Many sex positions make intercourse enjoyable and satisfying for men and women. However, certain positions can trigger painful sex, especially if one partner has an injury or health condition. It’s important to find a position that is comfortable and satisfying for both partners.

How Can Men Recover From Painful Sex?

Men who suffer from painful sex may seek various medications, remedies, and treatments to help them recover and enjoy sex again. However, some of these remedies or treatments only provide a temporary solution because they don't always address the underlying cause of the pain. Whether men experience painful sex because of an emotional or physical issue, sex therapy can help them recover. Working with a certified sex therapist can help men understand their pain during, alleviate their pain, and better connect with their partner. 
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Online Sex Education Can Help

Painful sex can occur in men because of stress, underlying health conditions, or relational issues. Nerve issues, genital injury, or infections can also cause pain and prevent men from enjoying sex. These issues can prevent men from initiating sex, affecting their intimate relationships and sexual health. Any man experiencing pain during sex should consult a medical provider. MendEd offers online sexual education courses, including From Sexual Distress to Sexual Satisfaction, to help men learn about the psychological, emotional, and relational dynamics involved in painful sex and understand their needs. This holistic approach will provide the most comprehensive relief.

Restore Your Confidence and Experience Better Sex

At MendEd, we offer science-based sexual education courses that help educate sex therapists and clients on restoring sexual intimacy. This course can help women address their sexual health concerns and receive treatment to pursue a fulfilling sex life, and can be a much-needed addition to working with a physician or general mental health practitioner such as a counselor or psychologist who doesn't specialize in sex therapy. Once women understand the source of their pain, they can begin their healing journey and cultivate a deeper relationship with their partner.
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Discovering the Source of Painful Sex: Getting Started with MendEd

Men who suffer from painful sex may also experience a lack of passion, low self-confidence, or performance difficulties that affect their relationships. Our resources can help men explore the many  symptoms of pain during sex and understand the source of sexual dysfunction so they can achieve a better sex life. In our course, From Sexual Distress to Sexual Satisfaction, men can work through several modules with their partner and learn about:

  • Sexual health foundations
  • Body positivity and mindfulness
  • Areas of sexual health
  • Effects of childhood maltreatment on your sex life
  • Psychoeducation 

You do not have to continue to suffer from painful sex. Our team has experience helping men with pain during sex, and we can help you work through this, providing you with the resources you need to enjoy sex without pain.
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About Kimberly Keiser

Kimberly Keiser is licensed professional counselor, AASECT certified sex therapist, AASECT certified sex therapist supervisor, EMDRIA certified EMDR therapist and trauma expert providing client care, clinical supervision, and clinical consultation. Kimberly is a researcher in Dr. Kristine Jacquin's clinical forensic neuropsychology lab at Fielding Graduate University. Kimberly develops educational training, presentations, CEUs, and webinars for professional and lay audiences in the fields of sex therapy and trauma therapy. 
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Enjoy a Better Sex Life

MendEd offers several affordable and practical online sexual education courses to help people understand the importance of sexual health and work toward a more fulfilling sexual experience and better quality of life. Reach out today to learn more about our courses.

Ask Me Anything

If you aren’t sure whether this course is right for you, submit an anonymous question that Kimberly will respond to through our Ask Me Anything inquiry. 
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Schedule a Call

If you would like a complimentary 15-minute consultation with Kimberly to ask any questions related to your specific experience, feel free to reach out to Kimberly directly at or schedule your 15-minute consultation online.