Aunt Vadge: I spot for a few days after sex with my boyfriend – why?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

After I have sex with my boyfriend, I will start to see spotting for a couple days and then it’ll go away… (I have sex almost once a week).

What does this mean?

Best,
Spotty

Dear Spotty,

There is a lot of unknowns here, that make a real difference. The questions I’d be asking you are:

  1. Are you very turned on and wet before you allow your boyfriend to penetrate your vagina? Your boyfriend’s penis may be causing small tears if you are not properly turned on and wet.
  2. Is there ever any pain during sex or foreplay?
  3. Are you using condoms and/or lube? Condoms can dry out really fast, causing microtears and damage to delicate vaginal tissue, and faster than you might think. Always use lube with condoms to avoid pain and breakages.
  4. There are a few medical reasons why you may have spotting after sex, but you’re young and there may be a simpler explanation that should be eliminated first.

You may be exerting physical pressure in an incorrect way that is causing damage to your cells. If you are not properly turned on, the damage can be quick and nasty, but because your vaginal canal doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings in it, you may not really feel it. The important thing here is to see if you can find a wound of any kind. This can be a difficult process, as it’s hard to see and feel, but get some lube, have a feel around with your hands, and see what you can feel.

Reasons for spotting after sex could include having very delicate cervical cells that burst open easily (there is a condition called cervical ectropion). The cells that line the inside of the neck of your cervix are very delicate, and if your boyfriend’s penis hits on these cells, they can bleed a little bit. If you had cervical ectropion, you’d likely have excess vaginal discharge too, since these cells produce fluids. The more cells, the more fluid.

It might also matter at what point in your cycle that you are having sex. You mention once a week, and that you spot every time, but it can be good to remember that your cervix is hard and low at and just after your period, while during ovulation it is high and soft. This can make sex much more comfortable during ovulation, particularly if your partner has a larger size penis, and/or your vagina is on the smaller/shorter side. If you are on birth control, these hormone-driven physical changes are not as pronounced.

If you are feeling pain during sex at all, even a little bit, you may need to either adjust your sexual practices, or be examined to make sure you don’t have any anatomical abnormal structures inside your vagina that are being damaged. These structures can include vaginal septa (a septum, like the one between your nostrils). These may or may not cause weird pains/bleeding/discomfort during sex. You’re 16, so probably pretty new to sex, in which case it can be hard to know what’s normal and what’s not in terms of sensations.

There are a few avenues to investigate and a few questions to answer. Certainly there is no need to panic.

It’s advisable if you try a few different avenues of adjusting your sexual practices for starters, or think something may be amiss (if you can feel something with your fingers, for example), you should go and be examined at your local sexual health clinic. It’ll be clear if there is something obvious wrong, and you can ask them any questions you like.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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