Yep, it could be a result of ejaculate, but there are also a few other reasons.
The connection is semen’s unique properties and a partner’s sensitivity to them.
Let us explain…
Most commonly, it’s a reaction to the hormone prostaglandin in sperm
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
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.
Localized symptoms are the most common reaction to a semen allergy. This includes:
- redness or discoloration
- burning in your vagina or vulva
Though not as common, some people experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, like:
- abdominal pain and cramping
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.
If you think you may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test to know for sure.
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
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
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
Cramps during your period are pretty much a given. You might also experience other symptoms, like:
- lower abdominal pain
- low back pain
Cramps, which could potentially worsen after sex, are more likely during certain stages of your cycle:
This happens around 2 weeks before you get your period when your body preps for potential pregnancy by releasing an egg for fertilization.
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.
When you do have penetrative sex, the cramps may get more severe.
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:
- other mental health concerns
The tension in your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles can make your stomach hurt after sex and cause cramping.
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.
That said, some people do experience abdominal cramping and pain during sex.
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 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:
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 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:
- 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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:
- Take the time to get in the mood. Insufficient arousal can make sexual activity uncomfortable and cause your pelvic floor to tense up. Before penetration, try oral sex or erogenous play to help ensure arousal. A solo sesh can also do the trick.
- Stick with shallow penetration positions. Any position that limits the depth and too much pressure on your cervix is the way to go. Spooning or standing sex positions are great because they make deep penetration harder than positions that have you flat on your back.
- Take an OTC pain reliever before sexual activity. If sex is on the menu, an OTC pain reliever as an appetizer can help prevent cramping during or after penetrative sex. Bon appétit!
- Consider therapy. If you suspect that a mental health concern or previous trauma is causing your symptoms, talking with a licensed therapist might help.
Ejaculate in your vagina, along with a few other things, could trigger cramps in some people. As long as the cramps aren’t severe and don’t linger too long, it’s probably NBD.
Anything more than that warrants a talk with a healthcare professional. They can get to the bottom of your symptoms and advise you on the next steps.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.