Do you have endometriosis? This chronic condition can really mess up your day-to-day existence, including your sex life.
Endometriosis happens when uterine tissue forms outside of the uterus. “Endometrial implants,” as this tissue is referred to, can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, bladder and anywhere else in the pelvis,” Dr. Sherry A. Ross, a women’s health expert and author of she-ology, tells Brides. This condition can be extremely painful for many women, especially in the days surrounding your menstrual cycle.
While some women with endometriosis don’t experience symptoms, most do. “Pain is more commonly seen before and during the period and includes painful periods, painful sex, lower back pain and pelvic pain,” says Dr. Ross. What’s worse, 40 percent of those afflicted with endometriosis experience infertility. It’s a pretty nasty thing to have to deal with.
If you are suffering from chronic endometriosis pain, but want to have a hot sex life too, here are some things you can do to make sex better with endometriosis.
Pain during sex
How endometriosis affects your sex life depends on where the uterine tissue develops in your body, and symptoms will vary from woman to woman. Pain during sex can happen when the uterine tissue is located in the pelvic region. For some women, pain can be so intense that penetration is nearly impossible, and sometimes totally impossible.
“If the implants are on nerves, ligaments and tissue stretched during sex, pain can be significant and, often, unbearable lasting hours and days afterwards,” says Dr. Ross.
An inability to have penetrative sex can cause serious psychological strain on someone. You can feel like your body is betraying you, taking away your comfort, but also your ability to enjoy sexual pleasure. We see you, girl.
Communicate with your partner
Communication is a huge thing in any healthy relationship, but when you’re dealing with chronic pain it becomes especially important. Now is not the time to bottle up your feelings.
Open up and let your partner know what you’re feeling. You have a right to have comfortable sex. If you don’t talk to your partner, there is no way to get around the pain in order to have better sex.
“It can be difficult and challenging to talk about sensitive sexual issues but it's key in dealing with how endometriosis can interfere with normal intimacy,” Dr. Ross says. You don’t want this already difficult condition to mess your life up. Perhaps you let your partner know that during your period, when the pain is especially bad, you don’t want to have sexual contact. It’s up to you.
If you’re fighting through pain to have penetration, that is no way to live. You’ll wind up turning down sex altogether. No one will be happy in that situation. Be flexible and vulnerable with your partner. Let them know what feels good and what doesn’t. Talk to each other!
Explore your body
Be explorative and adventurous. You can look at endometriosis as a hardship you can’t deal with, or you can choose to use it as an opportunity to change how you experience pleasure.
Try new positions. You may find one that feels more comfortable (and good!) than others. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
If penetration is too painful, find other areas of the body that bring you pleasure. Do you enjoy nipple stimulation? External clitoral touching? Perhaps your anus is unchartered territory in which you might want to venture. Maybe not. It’s about what feels good for you.
We put a ton of pressure on penetrative sex as the only “real” sex. This simply isn’t true. Oral sex, hand jobs, and all other sexual play are just as valid as penetration. You are not broken, you’re just different.
Never ever skip out on lube. No one ever should, but this is especially critical for those dealing with endometriosis. “Since vaginal dryness is a common cause of painful sex it’s always best to make sure you have a ‘go to’ vaginal lubrication during sexual intercourse,” Dr. Ross says.
We love Sustain Natural, Unbound Jelly, and Good Clean Love. When in doubt, choose a water-based lubricant. It will really change the sex game. Sex should not be painful. Do what your body needs to make it so.