Can Ejaculate Inside Your Vagina Cause Cramps?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

What’s the short answer?

Yep, it could be a result of ejaculate, but there are also a few other reasons.

What’s the connection?

The connection is semen’s unique properties and a partner’s sensitivity to them.

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Let us explain…

Most commonly, it’s a reaction to the hormone prostaglandin in sperm

Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances in sperm that some people with vaginas are sensitive to. Their release into your vagina could cause cramps.

Prostaglandins are also produced in the lining of your uterus and are often behind period cramps and other unpleasant period symptoms, like headaches and the oh-so-charming period poops and farts.

Prostaglandin stimulates your uterus and causes it to contract, which can cause cramps.

In rare cases, it could be the result of a semen allergy

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Yep, you can be allergic to your sexual partner’s semen. This is called seminal plasma hypersensitivity. It happens when a person is allergic to certain proteins in semen.

Semen allergies are rare, but they happen. The numbers are a bit sketchy, but a 2011 research review estimated that it affects around 40,000 Americans who were assigned female at birth.

Localized symptoms are the most common reaction to a semen allergy. This includes:

  • redness or discoloration
  • rash
  • burning in your vagina or vulva

Though not as common, some people experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, like:

  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Are cramps ever a symptom of pregnancy?

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They can be.

Cramping after penetrative sex is common during pregnancy, especially after orgasm, which can cause your uterus to contract.

But cramping isn’t a pregnancy symptom exactly. First, there are common symptoms of pregnancy to look for, like:

  • a missed period
  • tender breasts
  • morning sickness

Cramps are also more likely to happen further along in a pregnancy, usually in the third trimester.

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If you think you may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test to know for sure.

What else can cause cramps?

Ejaculate inside your vagina can cause cramps, but there are other reasons you might have cramps during or after penis-in-vagina sex.

How deep or rough penetration is

Deep or rough penetration can cause cramping and irritation if a partner’s penis (or fist or a sex toy) hits your cervix.

Cramps or a dull discomfort in your pelvis after a particularly enthusiastic romp aren’t unusual and shouldn’t last long. You might also notice a tiny amount of blood after a rough sesh.

How tight your pelvic floor is

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Tight pelvic floor muscles, medically referred to as hypertonic pelvic floor, can make penetrative sex painful. You might also notice deep aching in your pelvis that radiates to your lower back and thighs.

Your muscles can tense up if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Certain medical conditions that affect your bladder and bowels, and injury after surgery or trauma can also cause it.

The position of your uterus

If your uterus leans back instead of forward (medically referred to a retroverted or tilted uterus), you might feel pressure on your uterus during penetrative sex.

This could trigger cramps, along with pain in your vagina and lower back. You might also experience:

  • painful periods
  • trouble inserting tampons
  • frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Where you are in your menstrual cycle

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Oh, periods. The gift that just keeps on giving, amiright?

Cramps during your period are pretty much a given. You might also experience other symptoms, like:

  • lower abdominal pain
  • low back pain
  • headaches

Cramps, which could potentially worsen after sex, are more likely during certain stages of your cycle:

Ovulation

This happens around 2 weeks before you get your period when your body preps for potential pregnancy by releasing an egg for fertilization.

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During ovulation, you might notice other symptoms, like an increase or change in the consistency of your vaginal discharge.

Approaching or during menstruation

Cramps in the days before you get your period (oh hey there, PMS) and the first few days after starting are pretty common. You might also feel bloated and irritable, and your breasts might feel heavy and painful. Ugh.

The type of birth control you take

Your birth control could be to blame for your cramps.

An intrauterine device (IUD), for example, can cause cramping for several weeks after it’s inserted regardless of whether you’re engaging in sexual activity.

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When you do have penetrative sex, the cramps may get more severe.

One 2013 study linked low-dose birth control pills to chronic pelvic pain and pain during orgasm in some people, but more research is needed on the topic.

Underlying stress, anxiety, or other mental health concern

Your mental health can absolutely impact how you feel physically. The following experiences can dampen your libido and cause your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles to tense up:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • other mental health concerns

The tension in your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles can make your stomach hurt after sex and cause cramping.

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Along with cramps, you might also find penetration painful and experience GI symptoms, like upset stomach and diarrhea.

An underlying infection

Certain infections can cause cramping and other discomfort during and after sexual activity.

Yeast infection

A yeast infection is more likely to cause intense itching in your vagina and a thick, white discharge that smells like, well, yeast.

That said, some people do experience abdominal cramping and pain during sex.

Urinary infection

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Penetrative sex while you have a UTI (not recommended, BTW) can cause cramping and other pain in your pelvis and lower abdomen and back.

It can also make a UTI worse because penetration can force bacteria into your urinary tract through your urethra, which sits just above your vaginal opening.

If you have a UTI, cramping might also be accompanied by:

  • cloudy urine
  • burning when you pee
  • feeling like you need to pee more often, even after you pee

Sexually transmitted infection or PID

STIs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can cause cramps during and after penetrative sex.

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STIs can also cause PID — short for pelvic inflammatory disease — which also makes penetrative sex painful.

Getting tested for STIs is a good idea if you have sex without a barrier method or have sex with a partner who is unsure of their STI status.

Along with pain or cramping during or after sex, other symptoms to watch out for that could be caused by an STI or PID are:

  • bleeding after sexual activity or between periods
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • vaginal itching

An underlying condition

Cramps after sexual activity can sometimes be caused by an underlying medical condition, like:

Dysorgasmia

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O’s should be pleasurable, but they can be a source of pain for some people. When orgasms hurt, it’s called dysorgasmia.

The pain can range in intensity from mild to severe, happening during and after climax.

For some, the pain feels like period cramps or a pulling sensation. Some people get sharp or shooting pain when they climax, followed by dull aching or gnawing pain after.

Cysts or fibroids

Cysts and fibroids are common, noncancerous growths that can cause cramping after sex.

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Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that grow on your ovaries. Fibroids develop in or on your uterus.

Cysts and fibroids don’t always cause symptoms, but this depends on:

    size
  • location
  • how many there are

Both cysts and fibroids can cause:

  • pain and cramping after penetrative sex
  • back and leg pain
  • heavy and painful periods
  • pelvic pressure or fullness

Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue similar to that found in your uterus grows outside your uterus. By outside we mean anywhere within your pelvis and even sometimes outside your pelvis.

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Severe cramping after penetrative sex is a common occurrence with endometriosis. It’s also associated with severe menstrual cramps and heavy periods, and can cause trouble with bowel movements and infertility.

At what point should you call a healthcare professional?

Cramping after sexual activity should go away on its own if it’s caused by deep or rough penetration or related to your period. Call a healthcare professional if your pain is:

  • not easing up
  • getting worse
  • feeling severe
  • combining with other symptoms, like bleeding, unusual discharge, fever, or other symptoms of an infection

Is there anything you can do to find relief?

For sure!

Try these tips to help ease sex-related cramps:

  • Switch positions. Some positions make for deeper penetration than others, increasing the chances of poking your cervix. Experiment with angles and positions to find what’s comfortable — and pleasurable — for all involved.
  • Use heat. When getting hot and heavy causes cramping, try a different kind of heat, like a hot bath or a heating pad, to relax your muscles and soothe pain.
  • Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. If your cramps are causing discomfort, an OTC pain reliever should help.

What can you do to minimize future discomfort after sex?

There are a few things you can do that might help to prevent or at least minimize discomfort during future romps.

Here are some tips:

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