Is it normal to bleed after sex?

TLDR: No. Please don’t ignore or tolerate this. It is not normal. 



A female sex hormone, which is an important part of female wellbeing. Almost every tissue in the body has oestrogen receptors.


In this article, centred around vaginal bleeding after sex, we are going to cover the following:

  • Why bleeding after sex is not normal

  • Possible Causes

  • What to do if this is happening to you

It is worth noting, that this is not always something to worry about, but it should not be happening to your or your partner(s) regularly. This article focuses on bleeding after sex for those with vaginas: if you are bleeding after sex from other genitalia, this is also not normal, and we recommend you consult a GP.

What is bleeding after sex for people with a vagina?

Any blood, or bloody vaginal discharge after sexual intercourse or sexual activities could be described as bleeding after sex. The medical term is ‘postcoital bleeding’. 

Why would bleeding after sex happen?

There are many reasons why bleeding after sex can happen. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Damage to the vagina, by dryness or friction during sex. (this can be avoided by using lube) Another type/example of damage are tears during childbirth.

  • Vaginal dryness, where vaginal moisture is reduced due to lower oestrogen levels in the body. This can happen at any age but is more common in women approaching menopause (age 40 onwards). (This can be eased with lube)

  • Infections, including pelvic inflammatory disease or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • Having a cervical ectropion, which is just an inflamed areas on the cervix. 

  • Having a cervical or endometrial polyps, which are non-harmful growths. 

Source, NHS

What to do about bleeding after sex?

The best thing to do is to consult a GP, or visit a sexual health clinic. They will most likely suggest a full STI screening test, which usually involved a blood test and/or a swab sample. This is to check for infections, or diseases. This may also include a physical exam. This is worthwhile getting done, whether you think you may have an STI/STD or not, as it gives you information to make the most informed choice about your health.

If the results of any tests are abnormal, or come back positive, then the doctor will help you with onwards care and treatment. Don’t worry - they’ve got you covered on this.

If your test results are all normal, the most likely thing is that the bleeding is a result of dryness or friction. The doctor may recommend using a lubricant to help reduce the friction, and make sex more comfortable for you. Though not everyone ‘needs’ lube for sex, we recommend always using it for penetrative sex for extra comfort and cushioning.

If you’ve had normal tests, but the bleeding or irritation continues when you add lube into the mix, don’t be afraid to consult a healthcare professional again. Bleeding after sex is not something you have to live with for the long term, and we ask that you don’t put up with it. If ever in doubt, it is always worth consulting a healthcare professional. 

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