Common Sex Injuries

How to Handle Them

Sex is usually a pretty wonderful thing…until unexpected issues arise. 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…).

Muscle Cramps

Sex is a physical activity, so getting a charley horse or other muscle injury during the deed is a definite possibility. The thighs and calves tend to be body parts that cramp up during intercourse, but any muscle in your anatomy can cramp up and cause serious pain.


You can usually treat muscle cramps with self-care measures. Your doctor can show you stretching exercises that can help you reduce your chances of getting muscle cramps. Making sure you stay well-hydrated also can help. For recurrent cramps that disturb your sleep, your doctor might prescribe a medication to relax your muscles.

If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:

  • Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you’re unable to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with your affected leg extended.

    Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg remains in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp. For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock.

  • Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help. Alternatively, massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.

Rug Burns

Having sex somewhere other than the bed can be fun and spontaneous. But if you do it on the floor, you might end up with rug burns. Although not serious, rug burns can sting like mad and leave you skin looking red and scratched up.

A rug burn is a form of first degree burn caused by friction. With a rug burn, the friction that is generated from the contact between the skin and the rug generates a mild amount of heat. This heat causes damage to the tissue in the top layer of skin. Rug burns and other types of first degree burns rarely cause any serious medical problems, but they can be quite painful. There are a variety of ways to treat a rug burn.


 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.

When To See A Doctor

Although you’re able to treat rug burn at home, monitor the wound for signs of an infection. You may develop an infection if you have a health condition or take a medication that weakens your immune system. Signs of infection include:

worsening of pain


pus or drainage from the wound


Foreign Objects In the Vagina

The two most common “foreign objects” encountered are forgotten tampons and lost condoms. Doctors refer to objects found in the vagina as “foreign bodies.” These foreign bodies may produce symptoms or be asymptomatic for long periods of time.

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While a variety of symptoms may result from a foreign body in the vagina, the most common symptoms are bleeding or foul-smelling vaginal discharge. Less common symptoms may include pain or urinary discomfort.

Your partner rolled on a condom before you two got into the swing of things and after everyone has reached their peak, he realized the condom isn’t where it should be.


Don’t panic; use a finger or two (or have your guy use his) to try to fish it out. Can’t get hold of it? Keep calm; anxiety will make your vaginal muscles tighten up, potentially pushing it out of reach. (But not out of your vagina, as it’s impossible for the condom to go past your cervix.)

If it’s still MIA, take a break. “If you can’t remove an item right after sex, wait an hour, when the vagina will contract and make it easier to locate,” says Dr. Moore. Should a day go by and it’s hopelessly lost, make an appointment with your ob-gyn, who can easily grab it for you. Trust me, she’s done it before.

Vaginal Tears

Vagina tears can be as painful as they sound. “Tears can cause pain, bleeding, and even infection down the line,” says Dr. Moore. These surface cuts in sensitive vaginal skin often occur when a women engages in intercourse but isn’t lubricated enough. The vagina isn’t as elastic as it should be, and tears and abrasions result.


Here are five strategies that help lessen the likelihood of a tear during sexual penetration.

Be in the mood. Arousal creates the engorgement and lubrication you need to make penetration both more pleasurable and more comfortable, says Shope. So be sure you’re turned on before sexual penetration.

Engage in plenty of foreplay. Women should not be shy about needing a lot of foreplay. Give your body time to prepare by letting anticipation build.

Use lots of lube. Start using lube during foreplay, and be liberal about it. It’s always better to err on the side of too much lube, says Shope. And if you need to reapply lube while having sex it doesn’t mean you’re queen of the desert. It’s perfectly normal.

Go slow and keep it wet. If you go slowly and use plenty of lube, your tunnel of pleasure should be perfectly passable, even with a toy or partner on the larger side.

Control the degree and pace. When you’re ready for penetration, start with positions where you can control the degree and pacing. Use the same game plan when playing with sex toys.

“Remember that sex should never hurt,” says Shope.


When accompanied by pain and bleeding, a tear merits a visit to your OB-GYN or primary care doctor, or the emergency room if it’s severe.

Sometimes you may not recognize a tear until you feel a burning or stinging sensation when you pee. If you’re unsure of the cause of a vaginal tear or irritation, you should get it checked out by your doctor just in case it’s a sexually transmitted infection, or something else.

But if you know the cause of the tear, and believe it to be superficial, then a trip to your doctor is not necessary unless the wound begins to show signs of infection.

Penile Fracture

You’ve heard rumors about this one, so here are the facts. A penis can’t be fractured since it contains no bones—but the injury occurs when an erect penis is forcefully bent, which breaks the blood-filled chambers inside.

If you hear a popping and/or cracking noise during intercourse and all of a sudden your partner is wailing in pain, you could have a penile fracture on your hands.

A penile fracture is not the same as a break in a bone. Instead, it is a rupture in the two areas of the penis responsible for erections: the corpora cavernosa and the penile sheath.

Because the injury can cause long-lasting damage to a man’s sexual and urinary function, it is important to seek emergency medical attention.


Penile fracture can include at-home care and surgical repair.

At-home treatments include:

  • Applying cloth-covered ice packs for 10 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
  • Using a Foley catheter to empty the bladder and reduce trauma to the penis.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling.

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