So, you’ve just ended a passionate sex session with your partner and after that euphoric high starts to settle down, you feel this sudden but dull pain or ache just below your stomach. If you’re not having your period or if you’re not the sort to experience cramps as a premenstrual syndrome, getting cramps right after sex could feel potentially worrying.
But it could be more common than you think. One study found that 1 in 10 women in Britain experienced cramps after sex. Not sure what could be causing your pain? Here are a few potential causes.
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1. A Temporary Muscle Strain
If your partner and you were trying out a new position or if you were stuck in one position for an extended period of time—particularly during a position like missionary with your legs up against your partner’s shoulders—chances are, you could be experiencing a temporary muscle strain. During sex, certain parts of your body could also tense up, causing strains to occur more easily. These strains can occur in your pelvis and pelvic floor muscles and feel like regular period cramps. Ideally, these cramps should fade away after a few minutes.
2. You Had An Orgasm
If you’ve had an orgasm during sex (Yay for you!), this could lead to some cramping in your abdominals afterwards. During an orgasm, the walls of your pelvis and pelvic floor contract and expand. Sometimes, these reactions could be more intense than others, leading to cramps. Such cramps usually last for a few seconds.
3. It’s The Sex
Janelle Luk, reproductive endocrinologist and co-founder of Generation Next Fertility clinic in the United States, told Huffington Post that the physical movements during sex could add more pressure on parts of your body like your bladder, uterus and cervix. Sex can be physically taxing on the body due to various factors, from the different positions to the angle of penetration, and all these could lead to cramping.
4. Your Partner’s Semen
If your partner has the tendency to finish while inside you, there is a possibility that the cramps you’re experiencing could be due to the chemical makeup of his semen. Semen can contain a hormone-like substance known as prostaglandins that can trigger uterine muscle contractions. Prostaglandins is the same substance that causes you to have cramps during your period. Dr. Michelle Chia, resident doctor at DTAP Clinic Bencoolen who has an extensive experience managing a variety of women’s health, general gynaecology issues and antenatal care for pregnancy, says, “Women who are more sensitive may react to the release of prostaglandins intravaginally, which may possibly lead to them experiencing some cramp-like sensations.”
5. The Position Of Your Uterus
“A woman’s uterus may be tilted forwards or backwards, which we refer to as anteverted or retroverted (respectively) in medical terms. A backward-tilted uterus may sometimes lead to a woman experiencing some discomfort or cramps during intercourse due to the angle of the cervix during contact and also muscle contractions,” shares Dr Chia.
If you continue to feel pain or aches during certain positions, inform your partner and make adjustments during intercourse.
6. Deep Penetration
As mentioned earlier, sex is a physically taxing activity. Depending on the size and length of your partner’s penis, there could be a possibility that during deep penetration, your partner’s penis could be rubbing against your cervix, causing some sort of reaction. Plus, considering how during sex, your mind is usually so focused on the act itself, you might not notice any sort of cramp while in the heat of the moment.
To help this, try starting out slow during sex and slowly build your way up towards deeper penetration. Shallow penetration positions could also help him last longer in bed as well.
7. Bowel Issues
If the pain feels like it could be coming from your stomach, there is a possibility you’re experiencing some sort of gas or bowel issue. During sex, your muscles can go from very tensed to very relaxed in a short span of time, which could trigger some sort of sensation in your tummy, especially when you haven’t moved your bowels or if you’ve just had a big meal.
It might sound silly but, stress could actually be a factor that leads to aches or cramps during sex. “Psychological factors can actually be a significant contributing factor to the pain or cramps that a woman experiences during or after intercourse. Stress or fear in a woman can lead to more tense muscles which can cause pain or abdominal cramps during intercourse,” explains Dr Chia.
To help counter this, try scheduling some foreplay with your partner ahead of the main event. Not only does it relax you and put you in a sensual mood to engage with your lover, the anticipation of what’s to come after could be really exciting. Foreplay could also help you bond with your partner on an emotional level too!
Text: Atika Lim