Why Does My Clit Hurt?

The clit is made to feel good. But what if it feels bad? Clitoris pain is common, but you don’t have to tolerate it. Explore causes of clit pain and their solutions.

Why Does My Clit Hurt?

Why Does My Clit Hurt?

Why Does My Clit Hurt?

4 minute read

The clitoris has just one purpose, and that is pleasure. So experiencing frequent clitoral pain (officially called clitorodynia) can be confusing and disheartening. As with other vulva pain (officially called vulvodynia), a sore clit is incredibly common. However, that doesn’t mean it’s normal and should just be ignored or suffered.

The Clitoris Is Bigger Than It Looks

To troubleshoot pain, it’s a good idea to know more about the part of the body that’s hurting. The clitoris is more than just a little bump a couple inches above the vagina — that part is just the head (glans). The rest of the clit is internal, and it wraps around the vagina. The penis and the clitoris are estimated to have the same number of nerve endings, but in the clit they’re condensed into a much smaller space, making it even more sensitive. Because of this very sensitive nature, the clit is prone to pain and itching. However, that doesn’t mean it’s normal and should just be ignored or endured.

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Clit Sensitivity

Because the nerves on the clit are bundled together, some people are hypersensitive to touch and stimulation. That sensitivity could be the culprit for the discomfort. For some, directly touching the clitoris can be painful just because this area is so sensitive. This sensitivity is different from clitorodynia - which is chronic pain. Luckily clitorodynia is a rare condition and regular clit sensitivity is easier to manage.

For some, directly touching the clitoris can be painful just because this area is so sensitive.

Treating clit sensitivity can be as simple as changing the way you touch your clit because when your body gets aroused, your pain threshold changes. Sometimes a clit may hurt when directly touched at the beginning of sexy time and before the person has become aroused. But as the person becomes more aroused, the clit touch can start to feel really good. One way to figure out what kind of pressure and rhythm work best for you is to experiment while masturbating.

Be Gentle With The Clitoris

Go easy, gradually circle around until it feels good to touch, and stroke over the clitoral hood, rather than on the head directly. Most clits don’t enjoy the DJ treatment right off the bat: rubbing hard and fast like you’re scratching a record. Go slow, go easy, and increase the pressure and tempo only if you feel like it.

Use Lube On The Clit

The clitoris doesn’t produce lubricant, like the vagina does, so you’ve got to bring your own! Dryness increases friction, which causes pain. Use your own natural wetness, or a store-bought variety of lubricant (our fave is Good Clean Love's Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant) to make fingers glide across the clit.

Most clits don’t enjoy the DJ treatment right off the bat: rubbing hard and fast like you’re scratching a record. Go slow, go easy, increase the pressure and tempo only if you feel like it.

If lube and gentle touch take care of the problem, then congratulations! If you’re still experiencing vaginal pain during sexy time or otherwise, you may want to consider other potential causes.

Itchy Clit?

Because clitoral tissue is sensitive, it can be easily irritated and feel itchy. There are a few reasons why your clit might feel itchy. Like with clit pain, some cases of itchiness are benign and relief can be found using home-remedies or simply changing a habit. Sometimes, all you need is a cold compress or ice pack to reduce pain and give you relief from irritation and itching. Other times, the reasons can be more serious and a visit to the doctor is a must.

Causes and treatments for an itchy clit:

  • Direct contact during sexual play. Touching the clit too hard, too fast, or before you are aroused can cause itchiness.

Treatment: Go easy on your clit during sexual play. Gradually circle around until it feels good to touch. Stroke over the clitoral hood, rather than on the head directly.

  • Tight clothing. Because clitoral tissue is sensitive, it can be easily irritated by tight clothing against it. 

Treatment: Wear looser clothing made of natural fabrics. Try looser pants and underwear for a while or more breathable fabrics like cotton.

  • Laundry detergents and scented products. Laundry detergents can be irritating, so check what you’re using to wash your underwear. Many of the products marketed as vulva cleaning products contain ingredients that can be irritating to the delicate skin. Such products can cause a red and itchy rash, known as contact dermatitis.

Treatment: Avoid scented products. You only need to use warm water and your hand to clean your clit and vulva.

Treatment: There are many latex-free alternatives available, such as polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms. (Be sure to note the effectiveness of these types of condoms, however.) You can also try a natural lubricant that doesn’t contain ingredients you may be having a reaction to.

  • Feminine hygiene products. Does your clit hurt during your period? It is possible that you are sensitive to the specific tampons, pads or menstrual cups you use during your period.

Treatment: Switch to pads. If you’re already using pads, try a different brand. If the symptoms don’t go away, see a healthcare provider.

Infections that can cause your clit to hurt or itch

Clit pain or itching becomes more serious when an infection is involved. The most common infections are a sexual transmitted infection (STI), a vaginal yeast Infection, or bacterial vaginosis (BV). In case of an STI, BV or a yeast infection, you’ll need to see a doctor who’ll prescribe you the necessary cream, ointment or medicine.

Other potentially serious causes of clitoral pain or itching

Besides the four infections -- STI, BV, UTI or a yeast infection -- there are some other serious reasons that might cause your clitoris to hurt or itch. Note that these are rare conditions, but it's good to know about them nonetheless.

Other serious conditions. In some very rare cases, clitoral pain could be a symptom of a life-threatening condition like cancers or a serious infection.

When to seek medical advice

When clit pain, itching or burning worsens, it is important to seek medical advice. Your healthcare provider will diagnose you and prescribe the necessary treatment. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or conditions, consider seeking professional help from a healthcare provider. 

  • When a minor irritations or itch worsens
  • When you are experiencing a fever higher than 101 degrees, chills, and/or rapid heart 
  • When a change in habit does not help the itch or pain go away
  • When you have unusual vaginal discharge
  • When you notice a foul odor coming from your vagina
  • When you also experience abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain
  • When your vulva or vagina causes severe pain or burning
  • When you detect sores, blisters or spots on your vulva or vagina
  • When you detect that your clitoris is swollen for more than one day
  • When you are pregnant and experiencing pain or itching

Left untreated, these causes can lead to serious complications but remember, that it’s quite uncommon for these things to happen.

There are so many reasons why your clit might hurt, itch, or burn. In most cases, the cause can be easily treated. That said, it’s important to educate yourself on symptoms to look out for so you know when to seek help from a healthcare provider. In the end, just know that clit pain and itching are the body’s way of saying that something is wrong. Listen to your body and stop when it hurts. You don’t have to suffer through the pain.

O.team

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

The O.school team is here to provide you with the most medically-accurate information around sex, sexual wellness, pleasure, relationships, and dating. Every article we publish is vetted by our medical review board, ensuring that readers are provided with answers you can trust.

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