What I’m Doing To Heal Painful Sex
Recently, I’ve opened up about my experience with painful sex over the past couple of years, and how it’s changed as I’ve grown into a woman and have become more confident in my sexuality and with my partners.
In this piece, I want to share the main tools I have been using to help me heal my sexuality and painful sex. There are so many wonderful resources out there, and just Googling "endometriosis and painful sex" will bring up some great reads, but below you can find my own personal go-tos that I’ve been using on my journey...
Working with my hormones
In a previous article, I discussed why I’m eating for my hormones, but to give a very brief recap, endometriosis is a disease that thrives off and creates its own estrogen. It seems like a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but many with endometriosis also have estrogen dominance. Not only does this cause lots of unwanted symptoms and health issues that can make day-to-day living a struggle, but it can also reduce our sex drive. Couple that with its other symptoms of chronic fatigue and bloating (to name a few) and then throw in painful sex thanks to endometriosis, you haven’t exactly got a recipe for a happy sex life.
Working with your hormones and body by understanding when you’re more likely to feel aroused and when your cervix is in a more comfortable position, means you can feel more empowered and in control of your sex life. Equally, eating for your hormones will in theory, and hopefully, balance your hormones, reducing estrogen dominance and ideally, reigniting or at least improving, your libido.
Without a shadow of a doubt, my body responds to inflammatory foods like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and dairy, to name a few. Usually, I follow an anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet that’s focused around supporting my hormones. When I eat like this, my pain during sex is much, much lower, and sometimes, non-existent. If however, I’ve had an indulgent weekend, I really feel the difference. The whole area feels tender during sex, the pain is more prominent and certain positions are just out. I know that for sex to feel good, my body needs to feel good too.
Using yoni mapping and yoni massage
I’ve heard wonders about pelvic floor therapy, and whilst that is on my list of healing therapies to try (yes, there are many) for now, I’ve been using a yoni massage tool. This tool actually doubles up as a gemstone dildo, but was originally designed by the founder as a result of her own struggle with vaginismis, and how ‘yoni massage’ and "yoni mapping" helped relieve her pain. Yoni mapping is where, using your fingers, or a tool, you map out the areas inside (and perhaps outside) the vagina that hurt and/or feel good. From there, you’re able to focus on internal massage to help release pressure and tension in the painful points, and also during sex, can let your partner know more clearly what places are more uncomfortable than others, so you can avoid those and focus on what feels good.
Podcasts and books
My perspective and appreciation for sex really began changing when I read Vagina, by Naomi Wolfe. At first, I was pretty agitated that she went on about the glories of orgasms, given that most of my sexual gasps are brought on by pain, rather than pleasure. But as I got into it, I began to have enormous respect for the female body, and could fully appreciate why I had such a broken relationship with my sexuality in our current society.
Enlightened and awakened, I’ve moved on to podcasts exploring sexuality and empowering us to embrace this side of our nature. The Authentic Sex Podcast with Juliet Allen is a great one for feeling empowered and open, however it’s pretty explicit which can be challenging when you feel like your relationship with sex is so broken and you’re not feeling confident (which was me when I started listening to it!). Project Pleasure is another show that explores all sides of sex, from painful sex, to sex positions – it’s all there. I really like this one because it brings together real stories and experiences, from all different perspectives, so there’s something for everyone.
What about you? What have you tried that helps make sex more enjoyable?
Have you ever experienced a "weird" symptom and wondered if it was endo related?