Sex injuries are going to happen if you’re a sexually active person — and I’m not necessarily talking about a fractured penis or lost sex toy. Less extreme incidents can occur during intercourse, and it’s not all that surprising if you think about the precarious nature of sex: two different bodies performing two different actions while being two different sizes.
I’m not going to sugar coat sex injuries for you — they hurt.
While scrolling through Twitter, I stopped at a tweet where a user was bragging about bruising his girlfriend’s cervix, as if her pain was a compliment to his size. I soon realised that the science behind a bruised cervix is largely unknown and misunderstood.
For many years, I didn’t know what was causing my cervical cramping and pain after penis in vagina (PIV) intercourse. The pain became so damaging that it triggered vaginismus, an involuntary muscle spasm where the muscles contract to prevent penetration of any sort (fingers, tampons, penis, etc.). While cervical bruising does not contribute to long-term damage, it can influence other issues. Bruising a cervix is the furthest thing from a compliment — it’s synonymous with pain and equates sex with pain.
1. What Is A Cervix?
The cervix is a cylinder-shaped opening between the uterus and vaginal canal. It is made up of fibromuscular tissue and has two main parts: the part of the cervix that can be seen during an exam and the tunnel through the cervix into the uterus.
The cervix is also affected by birth control, ovulation, and menstruation. Hormonal birth control causes the cervix to move, ovulation makes the cervix higher and softer in the canal, and when you’re menstruating, the cervix is lower and harder.
Listen to: The connection between vaginismus and sexual assault we need to talk about. (Post continues after audio.)
Just like a penis, when someone is aroused, the cervix enlarges and becomes softer and higher (around two to three inches higher). When sexually stimulated, the overall vagina can expand 200%. When someone with a cervix is not aroused, it is lower and harder. So when an individual isn’t as turned on, a penis can bruise the cervix more easily while in the vagina because of the hardness and lower position. This can be why certain positions cause discomfort one day but vary the next day. The cervix moves around a lot. It even changes throughout the cycle of one day.
Penis size can contribute to the bruising. Dr. Catherine Hansen, an OBGYN, wellness leader, speaker, and educator explains that “most physicians don’t necessarily call it ‘bruising,’ but it can create a sense of deep pressure.” If someone isn’t turned on enough and their partner is well-endowed, the thrusting motion can bump the cervix and cause cramping and pain during or after intercourse.