10 Signs Something’s Wrong with Sex–and You Should Seek Help

by | Jul 2, 2019 | Sex, Uncategorized | 7 comments

10 Things that Can Go Wrong During Sex that Mean You Need to See a Doctor!
Merchandise is Here!

Sometimes sex goes wrong–and you really need to seek some professional help!

There are times in every married couple’s life where the sexual part of their relationship is a little rockier than usual. Often it’s circumstantial–maybe you just moved, or you’re dealing with a health crisis, or maybe life has just plain-old thrown you yet another curve ball.

While it’s important in those seasons to work hard to reconnect and grow together, that’s not a cause for medical concern.

Unfortunately, though, sometimes sex isn’t just hard to find time for, it’s actually not working the way it should and it’s time to call in the medical professionals. For some people, this can be really embarrassing, but doctors and nurses are trained to help people with very sensitive topics and they really are used to it!

One of my assistants, Joanna, sought care from a pelvic floor physiotherapist after she had her first child and had a lot of tearing that led to pain during sex, and she describes the experience this way,

Having a baby is absolutely amazing, but it’s also a really traumatic experience for your body, especially the pelvic floor, which is the muscles that control urination and which surround the vagina. My pelvic floor physiotherapist was a huge help to me – she was extremely professional and I always felt really comfortable talking with her, even about really sensitive topics. I also found that she was really good at chatting with me as we worked on relieving pelvic floor tension. And the exercises were great and they made a HUGE difference. Genuinely, it was incredibly helpful and I’d recommend seeking care to anyone who has pelvic floor pain, incontinence, or pain during sex.

Seeking help can save you so much pain, so much emotional turmoil, and so many marriage problems!

When is it time to go and get help for sexual problems? Here are my top 10 reasons:

1. If sex is painful

Painful sex due to vaginismus is a big part of my story. Many women experience a bit of discomfort during sex, but it’s relieved by switching to a different position or adjusting the depth of penetration. If, however, sex is painful consistently, or if you feel pain like  a burning sensation in the vulva, you may be experiencing vaginismus (pain during sex caused by involuntary tightening of the muscles in the vagina), vulvodynia (a pain disorder which causes a burning sensation in the vulva), or dyspareunia (pain during sex, broadly).

There are a variety of treatments available, depending upon the cause of the pain you’re experiencing. If your pain is keeping you from enjoying sex, don’t settle for that! You and your marriage are worth doing the hard thing of getting help from your doctor.

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2. If you’ve just given birth

Childbirth causes a lot of stress on your pelvic floor! Lots of women will also experience tearing, which causes scar tissue that needs to be relaxed and stretched. Pelvic floor physiotherapists recommend getting checked out early in the third trimester and after you’ve given birth to help prevent problems and also treat any that come up.

3. If you can’t orgasm

I’ve written lots about how to achieve orgasm on the blog and for many couples, sustained work and attention is enough to manage it. However, for some people, this doesn’t work. It can be caused by psychological factors, by medications, or by physiological changes, especially  in menopause. If you have worked through the exercises in 31 Days to Great Sex, and you still have never been able to have an orgasm, it may be worth seeing a doctor (or, if you think the problem is due to trauma or same, a counselor). 

4. If he orgasms too quickly

Most men can orgasm in 3-4 minutes if they try, but most men can also draw this out much longer with some effort. If your husband ejaculates in just a few minutes, and with minimal stimulation, he could be suffering from premature ejaculation. If you have talked to him about your need for more foreplay or your need to receive pleasure, too, and he’s trying but is unable, then talk to a doctor. There are some treatments, and you can also learn the start-and-stop technique which can be beneficial for helping him last longer, too. 

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5. If you never want sex

Many people wish their libido could be higher–especially women! That’s why I made my Boost Your Libido course for women! In the vast majority of cases, libido is something which you can boost through having a better mindset, better understanding your body, and eating better, all of which are covered in the course.

However, some people have libido issues that go beyond this. If you never have sexual dreams; if you have a difficult time getting aroused; and if you never spontaneously think about sex, you may be experiencing hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Your doctor can help you figure out the cause of your lack of desire and figure out what treatment will work best. A good friend of mine discovered that her lack of libido was caused by low progesterone and found that her doctor’s suggestion that she take medication to correct her hormonal imbalance made a world of difference. Many men on the blog have reported that taking testosterone shots changed their marriages! 

Are you TIRED of always being too tired?

Do you yearn to actually WANT to make love–and figure out what all the fuss is about?

There is a way! And in this 10-module course I take you through what libido is (it may surprise you!), what affects libido, and how we can reclaim the excitement that God made us for.

6. If he can’t start or sustain an erection

Erectile dysfunction is a common part of the aging process in men. However, increasingly younger men are also suffering from erectile dysfunction caused by porn use. On top of all of this, erectile dysfunction is often a sign of heart issues (which is why it’s common as men begin to age and hearts become weaker). If you are consistently having difficulty maintaining or getting an erection, and it isn’t linked to porn use, please see your doctor! This may be a symptom of something much more severe, and it never hurts to get it checked out. If it could be caused by porn use, then quit porn, get some counseling, and put it behind you once and for all.

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7. If having sex makes you feel sick or very sad

For some people, orgasm causes a variety of symptoms, ranging from headaches to muscle pain to anxiety attacks to depression. There are a number of conditions that can make people feel ill after they’ve experienced orgasm, and if this is something you’re experiencing, it’s important that you speak to your doctor about it. I’ve also written before about the “post-sex blues“, especially among women, which can be caused by the same hormonal imbalance that often causes postpartum depression. Please see your physician about it. In some cases there are things they can do to help you.

God made sex to be AWESOME!

I struggled a LOT with that concept early in my marriage. 

But you know what? You don’t need to settle for less-than-great sex! 

8. If you are leaking urine or have the urge to “go” frequently but don’t have much urine to pass

Urinary incontinence is an extremely common problem, especially for women. It’s especially common in pregnancy and as a part of the aging process. If you’re leaking urine throughout the day, find that you have little “accidents” when you sneeze or jump, or have the urge to pee but don’t have anything to pass, ask your doctor about seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist. It’s actually a very treatable condition and with modern treatment methods, you don’t need to keep dealing with the stress and worry that come with incontinence. If you’re a guy, it could also be related to prostate issues, and needs to be seen.

9. If you experience discomfort, itchiness, or blisters “down there”

For women, itchiness could indicate vaginal bacterial infections such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. These are unpleasant and really uncomfortable but are easily treated if you deal with them quickly! As well, this may indicate a urinary tract infection if you’re experiencing burning sensations when you pee (men can get these, too, by the way!).

If you ever notice any sort of blisters, warts, or just general abnormalities in the genital region it is always wise to have a medical professional look at it. If your partner or you has had past partners and never got tested for STDs before you got married, this is especially urgent as it may be a symptom of an STD. Many sexually transmitted infections and diseases can remain in the system without showing symptoms for long periods of time, so it’s always a good idea to see a doctor just to rule it out and figure out what the cause of the discomfort is.

10. If you ever hear a “crack” during sex

I cannot emphasize this enough: if you hear a crack, call an ambulance as quickly as you can. Very rarely, if something goes wrong during sex with the angle a couple is using or if her weight is suddenly being supported by his penis, it can get really badly sprained and it may need surgery.

To prevent this, as a general rule, any sort of position where her weight is at all being held up by his penis is an absolute no-go. Just don’t do it. If he wants to be standing during sex, have her weight rest on a surface like a bed and he can enter her from there. But it’s just not worth the risk to do the positions where he’s holding her up–it can go bad real quick.

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10 things that can go wrong with sex--when to see a doctor, when to get help for sexual dysfunction in your marriage

So there you have it! Those are 10 times you may need to see a medical professional about sexual issues. Do you have any more that you would add to the list? Do you have any experience with treatments that have worked for your marriage? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Jane Eyre

    You can get post-coital blues without orgasm. (Ask me how I know… or don’t, absent tissues.)

  2. Andrea

    Not many comments here, but a few on Facebook have commented on doctors not taking them seriously. A lot has been written lately aboit how doctors don’t take women’s pain seriously, frequently telling us it’s just in our heads, how longer women in pain have to wait to see a doctor compared to men in pain, how under-researched women’s diseases are, etc. etc. So I just wanted to say that it’s a common problem, but one that is finally being addressed in the mainstream media.

    Like most pastors, most doctors are also men, and just like those pastors preach about women depriving their men when, as Sheila had pointed out, it is women who are most frequently deprived of pleasure, so the male doctors dismiss women’s concerns. As I said above, though, the hopeful aspect is that it is finally getting addressed, and by the mainstream media (as opposed to alternative feminist sources). I am personally a big fan of the British paper of record, The Guardian, and as concerns women, their “Vagina Dispatches.”

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Interesting, Andrea! I’d say that here in Canada most doctors are women. I think about 67% of medical students are currently women, and OB-GYNs and family doctors are overwhelmingly female. I remember the female physicians in Belleville talking about a report that said the opposite–that high achieving women are actually less likely to take women’s pain seriously because women should just “suck it up”, because they did. I also remember talking to some male OB-GYNs about this, and they said that because they had no idea what period pain felt like, they tended to take women seriously. So I wonder if it’s necessarily always true that male doctors take it less seriously? I wonder if that’s for male doctors who are older? I don’t know.

  3. Ina

    I honestly burst out laughing this morning when I saw today’s post. “At what point should I take something as a sign?” I asked my husband. After three years of just hoping it’d work itself out after the next baby was born, we really started praying this past week for healing and answers. Wouldn’t you know this is like the fourth time since that prayer that pelvic floor therapy has come up! Just need to confirm with my midwife that it’s worth investing in before the upcoming birth and then I’m going to start acting on all this info God has dumped on my head!

    • Natalie

      Assuming your current pregnancy is normal and healthy and you haven’t been put on pelvic rest or bed rest or anything, it’s strongly advised to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises (like kegels) during pregnancy so that those muscles are as strong as possible in preparation for the marathon of labor. Squats are also recommended (both the exercise & just sitting in a deep squat position for minutes at a time, particularly in the third trimester as that can encourage baby to descend into the birth canal and also open up the hips and whole pelvic region more). Both of these were recommended to me by both my OBGYN and chiropractor when I was pregnant.

  4. Anon

    Also talk to your doctor if sex is super painful after having a baby. Soreness is normal, but I had horrible burning pain that made sex impossible after I had my first baby – this was 6 weeks after the birth. So I asked my dr. at my 6 week checkup and he prescribed a hormone cream, and within a week I was back to normal. Turned out it was due to vaginal dryness & atrophy from the extreme hormone drop after pregnancy. I’m so glad I got help instead of suffering through it!

  5. CS from NY

    Another tip: Anti depressants had the helpful side effect for me of lowering my libido to be more in line with my wife’s which has kind of been a bit of a blessing.


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