7 Ways To Fix Painful Sex
Last updated: September 2019
For many patients, endometriosis can create stress in a relationship, especially when it comes to sex and intimacy. One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is pain with sex, known as dyspareunia.
According to the results of our 2018 Endometriosis In America survey, over 80% of endo patients have experienced pain with sex, with many saying that this symptom significantly affects their quality of life. In fact, more than one-third of patients said that they are “not at all satisfied with their sex life”.
If pain with sex seems all too familiar, check out these 7 ways to fix painful sex:
1. Try some lubricant
Because endometriosis can cause vaginal dryness, many patients find that adding lube helps make sex more enjoyable. In addition to increased foreplay time, adding lube may make sex more comfortable, and reduce your chances of sex leading to an endo flare.
2. Track your cycle
While planning out your sex life may not sound sexy, many patients find that sex is more enjoyable at certain points in their menstrual cycle. If you notice that your endometriosis pain is better just after your period, for example, this may be a better time to be intimate. You can even talk to your partner about the best time of the month for sex, so that they know when you may or may not be so interested in sex. You may find that downloading an app for your smartphone or tablet can help you track your cycle and symptoms, but even an old-fashioned day planner will work!
3. Ask your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers
For many people with endometriosis, over-the-counter pain relievers can make sex more comfortable. If taken an hour before sex, you may find that these medications can help prevent or reduce your endometriosis-related pain. Consider asking your doctor if these medication are right for you.
4. Experiment with different positions
If you experience pain with sex, you may find that some positions are better with others. Talk to your partner about which positions are more comfortable, and which positions are completely off the table too. Different speeds and depth may also make sex more or less enjoyable, so consider experimenting to see what’s best for you!
5. Be prepared for potential bleeding
Some patients experience bleeding during or after sex, known as “postcoital bleeding”. If you and your partner are not prepared for bleeding, it can be frustrating, or even embarrassing. Placing a towel on the bed, and having wipes for clean-up nearby, may make the experience less difficult, and more enjoyable.
6. Ask for help
If you are experiencing pain during sex, a professional may be able to help. Consider talking to your OB/GYN or endometriosis-specialist, or finding out if pelvic floor physical therapy could help. If you’re feeling anxious about sex, a mental health professional, couples therapist, or sex therapist may also be able to help.
7. Know when to say "no"
Sometimes, your endo symptoms may mean that you’re completely disinterested in sex, and that’s okay! During these times, you may find that other forms of intimacy, such as foreplay, massage, kissing, or cuddling, can be just as enjoyable. Communication is key, so talk to your partner about what does and doesn’t work for you, and how you can be close and intimate, without necessarily having sex.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):