sex

“Why do I bleed during sex?”

It started off so well. My boyfriend and I were snuggled up in bed together, enjoying an intimate sexy-times moment.

We were mixing it up by trying a different position and were really enjoying it… until my boyfriend moved away from me and said, “uh, babe, is that you?”

“What a weird thing to say in bed,” I thought. And then I looked down.

There was blood everywhere. Bright red blood all over me. Bright red blood all over him. Bright red blood all over the crisp white sheets. I’m not exaggerating when I say it looked like a crime scene.

My first thought was that I’d somehow been stabbed. But then I realised that the flow was coming from my ladybits – and it wasn’t showing any signs of stopping.

Listen: A man has figured out a ‘solution’ to the issue of periods. The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio. 

So I did the only thing you can really do in that situation – I freaked out. I was shocked and embarrassed and every other negative emotion that you can possibly think of.

Also, my boyfriend was really nice about it, which possibly made it even worse. There’s nothing like someone saying, “it’s okay, it’s all good, you’re not going to die,” in a super-soothing voice while they’re lying on a bed, covered in your vagina blood.

I just didn’t understand why I was bleeding so much. And why it had happened so quickly. And why didn’t it hurt?? My insides appeared to be rupturing and yet I didn’t feel even a speck of pain.

I knew that it wasn’t just my period. My periods have always been ridiculously light – light enough to get away with just a liner most of the time. And I knew that I was unlikely to have any other issues – I get yearly pap smears which are always accompanied by STD blood tests because my doctor is needle-happy and over-cautious.

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“So I ran to the bathroom to clean myself up, half-laughing and half-crying at the ridiculousness of the situation.”
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So I ran to the bathroom to clean myself up, half-laughing and half-crying at the ridiculousness of the situation. Luckily, the bleeding stopped quite quickly after that and my boyfriend and I both took showers, after which I told him that the va-jay-jay was closed for business for awhile. At least until I saw a doctor.

My doctor, to her credit, wasn’t even slightly surprised. She reminded me that I’ve been on the pill for six years now. Oral contraceptives can affect the lining of the cervix and make it extra-sensitive. I’ve always bled during pap smears – so it’s unsurprising that I started bleeding during sex too.

Some tests confirmed that it was nothing to worry about. And after consulting a few friends, I found out that many of them have experienced the exact same situation – and not all of them even bothered to go and see a doctor about it. They just accepted that female reproductive organs are a mysterious place and sometimes they do random shit like gushing out blood.

A closed sign hanging in a shop window
…closed for business for awhile. (Image via iStock.)
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BUT. And this is a big BUT.

Not every blood-sex situation is harmless – sometimes it can actually be a sign that something has gone very, very wrong down there.

I asked Dr Steve Robson, a specialist obstetrician from Canberra, about exactly what causes these kinds of situations – and why you should most definitely see a doctor after it happens. Here’s what he had to say…

What causes bleeding from the vagina during sex?

Sometimes, the hormonal effect of oral contraceptives can stimulate the delicate lining of the cervical canal to grow out onto the surface of the cervix. This is a condition called ‘ectropion’. Although it is benign, it can look alarming. The tissue can be fragile and bleed easily with contact.

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“Not every blood-sex situation is harmless.”

Other potential causes include infections of the cervix, the most notorious being chlamydia (which is VERY common in young people, but can also affect more mature women). Also, odd things like benign polyps growing from the surface of the cervix can occur.

Rarely, vigorous intercourse can traumatise the skin of the vagina and provoke bleeding – I have seen this happen to the point women need blood transfusions!

Occasionally, a thorough search does not turn up any obvious cause.

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Is this bleeding a cause for concern?

ANY BLEEDING AFTER INTERCOURSE IS OF CONCERN and must be assessed by a competent doctor, because we don’t want to miss cancer of the cervix which is also common in young women.

Casuel Sex Feature
“If it is plain, uncomplicated ectropion then it can be treated relatively simply.” Image via iStock.

The major thing we never want to miss is cancer of the cervix, and this can still occur in women who have had previously normal Pap smears.

If women experience bleeding after intercourse, it is important to have this symptom properly assessed by their doctor, for all the reasons above.

If it is plain, uncomplicated ectropion then it can be treated relatively simply.

So if a similar situation happens to you, and you’re embarrassed about it, don’t be. Just get it checked out, and rest assured that it’s happened to a whole lot of women before… particularly if they are on birth control pills.

The other thing? Pay attention to your sexual partner’s reaction. If they’re nice and understanding and doing that “I’m-a-little-bit-disgusted-but-going-to-hide-it-because-I-was-inside-you-a-few-moments-ago” thing, they’re a keeper.

If they’re awful about it, get rid of them. If they’re not supportive during random vagina-bleed times, they’re not going to be supportive in any other time of need, either.

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