Sex is tons of fun, but sometimes, things can go wrong. Yes, we’re talking about sex injuries — they can and unfortunately sometimes do happen, and they’re not just unenjoyable, they can hurt a lot too. Here are the most common sex injuries and how they can (hopefully!) be avoided.
But first things first: Sex involves your genitals of course, and no matter what type of genitals you have, if things aren’t aligned well, you’re not properly lubricated or you’re in a position that suddenly moves, then things can go bad in a hurry. While human genitals are made of pretty hardy tissue (after all, female genitalia and reproductive organs are designed to withstand the birth of a 7-plus-pound infant), it’s still a sensitive area and you can get hurt. Here are a few common injuries to keep in mind the next time you’re enjoying some intimate time with a partner (or yourself).
Rips or tears
Dr. Michael Ingber, who is board certified in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, notes that there is an area just “south” of the vaginal opening called the posterior fourchette that may be prone to rips or tears. Other tissue in the vagina area can also be torn, and it can all hurt and can bleed, and there is the potential for chronic issues as well. “The chronic ripping-tearing-healing cycle leads to vulvar granuloma fissuratum, which requires surgical therapy,” he explains. Ouch!
The solution: Lubrication can drastically reduce rips or tears in tender vaginal tissue. It will reduce friction and keep the good times rolling without tearing your flesh.
Pelvic floor strain
Your pelvic floor provides support for your pelvic organs, and repeated stress or straining during sex can affect not only your comfort level, but negatively impact how your innards are all held together, which can lead to health problems down the road (such as pelvic organ prolapse).
The solution: Proper amounts of lubrication can help prevent this problem, as it alleviates discomfort and involuntary pelvic floor muscle stress. Relaxation during sex is crucial as well, so call off your escapades if you’re experiencing anxiety.
This happens to you if you have a penis, of course, but it generally occurs during sex with a partner. It involves an erect penis forcefully banging into an immovable object, such as a woman’s pubic bone or her perineum.
“Typically, a pop is heard, and the penis can actually swell up and become bruised to the point where it looks like an eggplant,” Ingber says. This, of course, causes a great deal of pain to the owner of the penis, but it is also painful for their partner whose tender body part was impacted hard enough it caused a penis fracture.
The solution: This can happen during rough sex when the participants get carried away. Try to take it slow if possible, and if you feel the penis hitting a part of the body that it’s not supposed to, switch positions immediately. And if it does happen, seek medical help ASAP.
Pulling a muscle
Sex is a calorie-burning (and sometimes athletic) activity, and it’s totally possible you can pull a muscle while going at it — and we mean regular muscles like those found in your back, not necessarily those surrounding your sex organs.
The solution: Preventing muscle strains during sex can be as simple as doing a little pregame warm-up. “Before you start bending and contorting your body into different sexual poses, sometimes you need to stretch or start things a bit slower and warm up to more complex situations,” notes Caitlin Hoff, a health and safety investigator at ConsumerSafety.org.
Breaking a bone
Yes, you can even break a bone or sprain a joint by getting frisky. “These injuries might range in severity from bent fingers to cracked ribs depending on the situation, but most commonly these injuries come from falling off a bed, slipping in the shower or by dropping your partner,” says Hoff.
The solution: Be aware of your surroundings and don’t get so caught up in the moment that you don’t notice you’re about to fall off the bed or slip in the shower.
The verdict: Take it slow!
Basically, we’re telling you to take a moment to lube up, stretch out, make sure you’re not getting pounded in the pubic bone and have a solid surface beneath you before you get busy with your partner. If you experience serious injuries, of course, see a doctor as soon as possible, but a few pre-sex preparation tips may prevent them from happening in the first place.