Personal Health

9 Common Sex Injuries—And How to Deal

Female hands gripping man's back, close up

Sex is usually a pretty wonderful thing…until, that is, issues arise. There are those annoying situations, like being left sans orgasm (ugh). And then there are other times when sex can be downright hazardous.

Sex injuries happen more often than you might think—so you should be aware of the most common ones (mostly so you can figure out what to do if they happen to you…).

1. Vaginal tears

You know it’s happened when you’re bleeding down there after the deed, or it simply really, really hurts.

The fix: The reason tearing happens is that you’re too dry down there, meaning the fix is pretty simple: Be sure you’re lubricated enough before he enters you. “This can mean going slower during sex, or simply using lubricant,” says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., research scientist at Indiana University and author of Sex Made Easy.

If you do all of this and you still experience tearing on the regular, see your gyno, who can prescribe certain antibiotics. If it’s just a one-time thing, wait it out. “Most vaginal tears are small and heal on their own,” says Herbenick. “But if a cut is bigger or keeps bleeding, call a healthcare provider.”

2. Carpet burn

Go you for being adventurous and not just sticking to the mattress! Seriously, round of applause. However, switching up where you have sex can cause painful carpet burns due to friction (#BedroomBattleWounds).

The fix: Wash the infected area with cool water and antibacterial soap, advises Jennifer Wider, M.D., a women’s health specialist. If the skin is actually broken—as in, there is a physical cut as opposed to just irritated redness—then clean it with antiseptic and apply antibacterial cream before putting a bandage on top.

Of course, the best advice is to go on pre-emptive strike and put a soft throw down if you’re having sex on a rough surface. Just be sure it’s one of your backup blankets, as things could get a little, well, you know.

3. ‘Foreign objects’ in the vagina

I’m about to get graphic here, but the two most common “foreign objects” gynos encounter are forgotten tampons (hey, it happens) and lost condoms. And yes, gynos actually refer to them as “foreign objects.” Now you know.

The fix: Start by taking a deep breath and not freaking out; it happens and you can totally get that thing out. “The best course of action is to wait 10 or 15 minutes after you’ve had sex,” says Herbenick.

That’s the time it takes for your vagina to get back to its normal, unaroused size—and it’s a lot easier to reach up there in its normal state than when it’s all engorged from sex.

Just relax, and insert two fingers to try to get it out. If you can’t, call your doctor ASAP and they can fish it out for you.

4. …or anus

While it’s pretty common for things to get lodged up in your vagina, it’s also possible for anal play to go south (er, north?). “While I was a general surgery resident, I encountered some ‘unique’ objects lodged in the rectum,” Joshua D. Zuckerman, M.D., a plastic surgeon in New York told in a previous interview. “In one case, we had to surgically remove a pink softball from someone’s rectum, and in another case, a significantly-sized potato,”

The fix: While there’s no shame in sticking things up your butt during sex, it’s probably best to steer clear of things like softballs and food, which can easily get lost up there or cause infection.

Instead, opt for toys that are totally anus-friendly, like butt plugs or anal beads. If you need some inspiration, here are some of the best butt plugs to choose from:

But if you do find yourself with something stuck far beyond reach, go to the ER to get it removed, stat.

5. Back injury

Not to knock a good sex move, like reverse cowgirl or the butter churner, but sadly those “she did what?!” skills can also wreak havoc on your back.

The fix: Applaud yourself for being such a bedroom baller. Done? Okay, now time for damage control. “Put an ice pack on your lower back to relieve inflammation,”Wider advises. “Then, once the inflammation subsides, use a heating pad to soothe your muscles.” Finally, pop an ibuprofen and rest for a couple hours.

6. Food irritation

Sure, it’s totally sexy to bring strawberries and whipped cream into the bedroom. And, in a pinch, foods like coconut oil even make for decent lube. But in most cases, food is not a sexy friend.

Gabe Wilson, M.D., an emergency physician in Southeast Texas told one such horror story: “One time, I treated a woman whose partner had performed cunnilingus on her immediately after eating some spicy food. The hot sauce her partner consumed prior to the sex act left mild burns on her genital region.” OMG.

The fix: If you find yourself in this unpleasant situation, try neutralizing the burn (generally caused by a spice called capsaicin) with soap and water or fatty dairy products such as whole milk or yogurt (as weird as that may sound).

Otherwise, when in doubt, keep food far away from your vagina. And if either you or your partner have eaten, or cooked with spicy foods (like hot sauce or peppers), you should probably avoid orally or manually stimulating each other right away.

7. Urinary tract infection

Anyone who’s ever gotten one of these knows they’re a real pain. And sadly, you can get them from having lots of sex.

The fix: The best thing to do is to make sure you’re lubricated enough at all times, whether that’s by actually using lube, or just being sure that your partner doesn’t enter you too early or go too rough. That helps prevent tears or irritation, which make UTIs more likely.

And if you notice a burning sensation when you pee or have to go constantly (signs of a UTI), go see your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. They’ll get a prescription for antibiotics to beat the infection, ASAP.

8. Yeast infection

While sex does not cause yeast infections, they more commonly occur in women who are sexually active. Most women who get yeast infections from sex get them either from receiving oral sex or from having sex with a guy who has some saliva on his penis (i.e., after you’ve gone down on him), says Herbenick.

The fix: “Start by making sure that his penis is clean when he enters you,” says Herbenick. If this means having him go to the bathroom after foreplay, then so be it.

And if you do suspect you have a yeast infection, make an appointment with your doctor (it’s never a good idea to self-diagnose). They’ll likely give you a prescription for an anti-fungal medication to be taken intra-vaginally or orally.

If you get yeast infections more than four times a year, you may simply be more prone to getting them in general—so talk to your gyno about that, and she can decide the best course of action.

9. Broken penis

Okay, this doesn’t happen THAT often, but it’s worth noting—because, admit it, it’s the first thing that came to mind when you clicked on this article.

To set the record straight, you can’t literally break a penis, since it doesn’t contain bones. But you can severely bend a penis, to the point that the two tubes of blood that fill it during an erection actually rupture, urologist David Kaufman, M.D., of New York’s Central Park Urology told in a previous interview. There’s usually a snapping sound when this happens, followed by severe pain, a bruised penis, and swelling.

The fix: These injuries almost exclusively occur during super-rough sex, says Kaufman. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should resort to vanilla sex the rest of your life. Instead, just be mindful—and, if this does occur, go to the emergency room ASAP.

“The best treatment is surgery to evacuate the blood clot and repair the ruptured corporal body,” says Kaufman. And, whatever you do, do not put ice on it. Kaufman says: “Treatment involving icing, compression, etc., runs a high risk of penile scaring and impotence.” Yeah, no thank you.

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