A couple is desperately trying to grasp hands, while a fault in the earth is forming between them, taking the outline of a uterus/fallopian tubes.

Intimacy Advice For Couples Living With Endometriosis

Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Today we've asked them, "What advice can you give to couples encountering problems with sex due to endometriosis?".

From Jessica

Talk! Talk, talk, and talk some more. Really, you’ve got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable stuff. We’re not there yet, but I feel like we’re making progress.

Be honestAnd to my fellow endo warriors – please, be honest if it hurts. You don’t have to suppress your pain or pretend you’re enjoying yourself when you’re not. Sex is a two-way thing, it’s not just about the pleasure of one partner and I guarantee you’ll both enjoy it more when you begin working towards pleasure for you both. You might have rocky roads in between, but it’ll be worth it if it means you get to enjoy deeper intimacy together.Do some researchAnother tip I would suggest is to do lots of research. Talking to Elena of Onna really opened my eyes to the work I still need to do in this area and the tools available to me. I’ve listened to lots of podcasts, Project Pleasure is great one. Book wise, I really found Vagina by Naomi Wolfe fascinating, and though I haven’t read them, Elena suggested to me Tantric Orgasm for Women by Diana Richardson, The Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent, and The Art of Sexual Ecstasy by Margo Anand.You could also go to classes and courses that teach you to get in touch with your sexual wellbeing; Onna have three courses depending on what you want to focus on – but Tantric Massage sounds like great place to start and relatively ‘safe’ topic to explore together. Sexologist Juliet Allen also leads a course called "The Mindful Sex Guide", which doesn’t even make sex a key focus of the course and so is perfecting for anyone looking to ease into this kind of work.Ask for helpI’d also suggest getting really honest with yourselves and asking whether couples counseling or a sexual therapist may help one or both of you. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a professional. We’re not taught how to have constructive and healthy relationships as children, and we offer mirror patterns we see in our society and family, so getting advice from a professional is in my opinion, one of the best things you can do to help a relationship.From ChrisYea, I agree with the above, and from a male perspective, I also suggest patience and mindfulness.Be understandingBe patient with your partner and respectful of their needs and desires. With a chronic condition that affects reproductive organs (as endo does), there will definitely be times when sex is inappropriate and undesirable to your partner (as there are when they don’t have endo also). Sex is a reciprocal activity and isn’t owed to you. Enjoy it to its fullest when your partner is in the mood, and be caring and understanding when they’re not.Likely, it's not about you!And in tandem with that, be mindful of the challenges they face with endometriosis. It's easy to forget that your partner is facing constant pain, fatigue, stress, and other symptoms, and instead interpret a lack of libido or interest as getting the cold-shoulder and an indicator of something more personal. There has been many times when I have had thoughts swirling in my head about why my partner doesn’t want to have sex - Is it something I’ve said? am I unattractive? am I doing it wrong? - when instead, I should remember that she has endo, is potentially in pain, probably exhausted, and not thinking about me at all. Don’t take it personally!

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