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In a split second, your body might go from “oooh” to “ow!” Sex shouldn’t be painful. So what gives? Why is your penis sore afterward?

First things first: If you have a sore penis after sex, you’re not alone. This malady can be traced to anything from friction (ooh, sound familiar?) to an STI.

So, put on your cotton boxers, take a seat, and scroll down to figure out what’s going on with your nether regions — and how to fix it.

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Fernando Trabanco Fotografía/Getty Images

If your junk’s a little tender, don’t sweat it. Here’s a list of possible culprits — and what to do about them.

1. Rough riding

Your penis is a pretty sensitive organ. That’s a *good* thing. But it also means you can injure it by going too hard or for too long.

Specifically:

  • If you’re erect and active for too long, you might’ve strained your penile tissue or muscles.
  • Rapid, aggressive thrusting could well have caused injury your penile tissue.
  • Think of strained penile tissue like a bruise. You might feel sore for a few days or even a week depending on how intense things got. Generally, the rawness or tenderness should get a little better each day.

Solution: Give it time.

2. Lack of lube

🎼Hello, friction, my old friend… 🎤

Chafing happens. On your thighs, glutes, armpits, and — yep — your peen.

Lack of lubrication during sex can rub or wear away at the top layer of skin. That leads to sensitivity and soreness.

If lack of lube is your issue, you might also notice:

  • flaky or peeling skin
  • redness
  • itchiness
  • rash
  • cracks or bleeding skin on your penis

Solution: Time. Avoid sex or masturbation until your penis is back to normal. (Also, use lube, condoms with lube, or even coconut oil next time.)

A range of lubes is available for purchase online.

3. Delayed ejaculation

In general, taking longer than 30 minutes to ejaculate is considered delayed ejaculation (DE).

DE is one of several types of ejaculatory dysfunctionerectile dysfunction being the most common.

DE can make your penis feel swollen (and not in a good way), but the tenderness should go away within a few hours of ejaculation.

Solution: Wait it out. But also, if this was your first time experiencing DE, call your doctor. DE can be a sign of other health problems.

4. Allergic reaction

Are you allergic to latex? The chemicals in certain lubes? Or the material of your newest sex toy?

If you have sensitive skin, an allergic reaction might’ve happened, aka contact dermatitis. Allergic reactions usually cause some of these other symptoms too:

  • blisters
  • itchiness
  • redness
  • dry or cracked skin
  • scaly or rough, thickened skin

Contact dermatitis can last a few days to a few weeks. Avoid sex (and irritating products) until your skin has cleared up.

Solution: Your course of action will depend on the severity of your allergy. If it’s extreme, call a doc. Otherwise, try an over-the-counter (OTC) allergy med or topical treatment.

Allergic medications and OTC topical creams are available to buy online.

5. An STI

Yep, sometimes a sore penis is a sign of an STI. And if you think you have an STI, you’re not in uncharted waters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people reported a record-breaking 2,457,118 STI cases in the U.S. during 2018.

TBH, some folks with STIs never experience symptoms. But if an STI is causing pain, it’s probably one of these:

Other signs of an STI include:

  • It hurts to get a boner.
  • You’ve got pain in your balls and lower belly.
  • It hurts to pee.
  • Your junk is itchy.
  • Your penis has blisters.
  • You have unusual discharge.
  • You’re feeling sick, and have a fever or vomiting.

Solution: Visit a healthcare clinic or call your doctor. Your sore penis requires medical treatment. It’s always best to be open with sexual partners about current STIs — and you should expect the same in return.

6. Prostatitis

Whether you have acute or chronic prostatitis, the swelling can cause pain and soreness in your junk. That includes your penis.

Prostatitis can occur due to an underlying infection, so sit up and listen if you notice these other symptoms:

  • lower back pain
  • stomach pain
  • trouble peeing
  • burning feeling while peeing
  • particularly putrid urine
  • fever
  • chills

Solution: If you feel fever, chills, and UTI symptoms alongside a painful peen, seek medical treatment immediately.

7. Phimosis

Phimosis = when you can’t pull your foreskin back from around the tip of your penis. (It’s like that time you found it really hard to get your swimming hat on, but for your wang.)

An infection or skin condition causes the head of your penis to swell, restricting blood flow and mobility.

If you have phimosis, you’ll notice soreness when you pee, get a boner, and have sex. Other signs include:

  • rash
  • itchiness
  • pale, two-toned, or grayish tip

Solution: Talk to your doctor. This requires medical treatment and analysis of the underlying cause.

8. Yeast infection

Yep, folks with penises get yeast infections too.

A yeast infection is an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans (wow, catchy).

You’re more likely to experience a yeast infection if you have a weak immune system, don’t wash your junk often enough, or your partner has a yeast infection. Certain meds can also make you more prone to yeast infections.

Other signs of a penile yeasty:

  • white, shiny patches on your penis
  • itching
  • burning
  • irritation and rash
  • thick, white discharge

The good news? Yeast infections are totally treatable. You’ll want to start an antifungal cream or ointment pronto to get it under control.

Solution: Treat your yeast infection to soothe your sore penis. If you’ve never had a yeast infection, it’s best to confirm your diagnosis and any recommended treatments with a doctor.

Topical antifungal creams are available for purchase online.

9. UTI

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are no joke. You’ll probably have a painful, burning sensation when you pee — and you might even feel the sting in your anus or rectum.

Other symptoms of UTIs include:

  • feeling like you need to pee (but not being able to)
  • cloudy or dark urine
  • blood in your pee
  • urine that stinks like ammonia

If your sore penis is the first sign of a UTI, you’re in luck! You can nip that infection in the bud. As a UTI progresses, it can cause kidney, bladder, and urethra problems.

Solution: Call your doctor. UTIs don’t always go away and might even cause complications without treatment.

10. Peyronie’s disease, aka a curved penis

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, up to 10 percent of folks with penises could have Peyronie’s disease — a buildup of scar tissue that causes your penis to curve.

For obvious reasons, Peyronie’s disease can lead to a sore penis. Depending on the severity of the curve, penetrative sex might be painful. Or you might just feel tender and sore after the act.

Folks with autoimmune disorders seem more likely to develop Peyronie’s. Diabetes, prostate cancer, and age might also raise your risk.

Peyronie’s takes time to develop. You might notice these other symptoms first:

  • trouble getting an erection
  • a hard lump along the top, side, or bottom of your penis (even when flaccid)
  • a ring of scar tissue around your shaft
  • penis narrowing or shortening
  • an indent that gives your penis an hourglass-like shape when erect

Solution: Talk to your doctor if you think you might have Peyronie’s disease. If they agree, they’ll refer you to a urologist. Peyronie’s is treatable, but the type of treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms.

11. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS)

First things first: POIS is a *rare* and serious cause of penis soreness.

Researchers are still trying to figure out what causes POIS. Most agree that it has something to with an allergic reaction to your own semen or hormones.

If you have POIS, you’re likely to feel pain and fatigue almost immediately after ejaculating. The reaction can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

Other signs of POIS:

  • fever
  • chills
  • sudden irritability or anxiety
  • aching bones, muscles, or joints
  • trouble speaking or focusing
  • temporary memory loss

Solution: If you notice any of the above symptoms right after sex, make an appointment with your doctor. Tell them you’re concerned about POIS.

12. Penile fracture

If you winced reading that, you’re absolutely correct (our eyes are also watering a little). No, your boner doesn’t actually contain bones. But a penile fracture can occur all the same.

An erection involves the penis engorging with blood. This blood rushes into a body called the tunica albuginea. Penile trauma (yikes) or a sudden bending of the penis can tear this lining. This is absolutely a medical emergency.

Symptoms include:

  • a sudden, painful loss of erection
  • significant bruising
  • swelling

A severe penile fracture might also cause a tear in your urethra (aka your pee-hole).

Most home remedies focus on general pain relief and giving yourself a break. If DIY solutions aren’t enough, it’s time to call the doc.

4 home remedies to try

  • OTC painkillers. Take OTC pain relief to blunt the edge of the pain. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory med (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen is best. (This is available for purchase online.)
  • Cold compress. Wrap an ice pack or bag of ice in a clean towel to provide a buffer between the cold and your skin. Hold it against your penis to soothe swelling and pain.
  • Topical treatment. After gently washing and drying your penis, apply a corticosteroid cream or ointment to the sore area. If your skin is cracked or dry, shea butter or vitamin E oil can help too.
  • Keep it clean. Until your symptoms subside, use warm water (no soap!) to gently wash yourself every few days. Also, pat the tip dry after you pee. Keep things as clean and dry as possible.

Regardless of what you use for pain relief, avoid sex and strenuous exercise until your nether regions are back to normal. Switching to loose cotton boxers or briefs can also help prevent chafing.

What about medical treatments?

Again, your treatment will depend on what’s causing the pain and irritation.

Common courses of action include:

  • antiviral meds (for herpes)
  • antibiotics (for infections with bacteria)
  • antifungal or steroids
  • prescription creams or ointments

And we’ll say it louder (again) for the peeps in the back: Avoid 👏 sex 👏 until 👏 you 👏 know 👏 what’s 👏 wrong! 👏 (Especially *you* two, we know what’s cooking.)

…is worth a pound of cure.

So, what can you do to keep your shaft and tip in tip-top condition?

  • Avoid rough sex.
  • Choose safer sex positions — when your partner is on top, for example, the extra body weight increases the risk of injury.
  • Steer away from sex in tight spaces, like the car. Maximum maneuverability can help you get comfortable during potentially painful sex. In tight spaces, a stray elbow or knee can put you in a world of hurt.
  • Wash your hands before and after peeing.
  • Clean your penis daily (and get under that foreskin if yours is still attached) with plain soap and warm water.
  • Buy hypoallergenic condoms (they’re available for purchase online).
  • Use lube (non-oil-based is best for preventing friction).

There are *many* reasons your penis could be aching and irritated after sex. Maybe you’re chafing from a lack of lube. Maybe you have an infection. Maybe it’s something else.

You can soothe surface problems like friction and contact dermatitis with pain relievers and topical creams.

If other symptoms accompany a sore penis, call your doctor. Same thing if the pain lasts more than a week.

Regardless of why your penis hurts, avoid sex until you treat the problem.