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A woman embraces her partner

Endometriosis and Intimacy

It almost feels like the title of this post should be “endometriosis versus intimacy” – not and. Let’s call it what it is, endometriosis can have you feeling anything but interested in being intimate with your partner.

Maybe today was a day of intense cramps or fatigue or bleeding – none of which have you in the “let’s get it on” mindset.

Dealing with the unpredictability of endo

Yet, when dealing with a chronic illness like endometriosis, waiting for it to pass or not talking about it just isn’t an option. You may get relief from it tomorrow, but you could experience a flare-up next month or next year. Endo can be unpredictable like that.

Being open with your partner about how you’re feeling physically can help them understand why you’re not interested in being intimate. Our tendency in life can be to internalize our external experiences and make them about us. Help your partner know that it does not have to do with them.

Options for intimacy

And let me pause for a second here, because perhaps we need to redefine intimacy. Perhaps we need to broaden our perspective to see that there is definitely the sexual aspect of it, but there’s also a level of intimacy that endometriosis has zero impact on. Spending intentional time together (phone-free!), having a quiet dinner together, opening up to a heartfelt conversation, leaving your partner a handwritten note in their work bag or on their pillow, or cuddling on the couch or in bed are all great ways to develop intimacy.

In fact, these options can help you reach a new level of depth in your relationship. It can also help to cut an unnecessary tension from unspoken or communicated words.

Reducing pain during sex

Then, for the sexual aspect of intimacy, there are certainly steps you can take to make it a bit easier and more comfortable.

Timing can be one of the most important aspect. Determine when you’re likely to experience the least amount of pain or discomfort. And be open to alternatives to feel better. Acupuncture is a treatment that many in the endometriosis community have gotten relief from, but there are countless alternatives that you can explore.

I guess the most important aspect of this is open communications with your partner, the willingness to expand your definition of intimacy, and the courage to try new steps that may ease the process.

Everyone is different

This path will look different for each person – and likely look different for one person across the span of their relationship and diagnosis of endometriosis. Be patient and have compassion with yourself.

What tips or strategies have you found helpful in finding pain-free freedom in and out of the bedroom in developing intimacy with your partner?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.