My Sex Diary: Part 1
I couldn’t physically have sex until after my first laparoscopic surgery in my mid-20s. My initial attempts weren’t simply uncomfortable, they were excruciating. I told my doctor there was a stabbing and burning sensation along with the feeling that something was in the way. A surgeon later removed a lump of scar tissue so large it obscured my appendix.
The surgery made sex possible, but my current-day endometriosis pain still waxes and wanes with my menstrual cycle. That includes my discomfort level during sex. I’ve kept track of my symptoms with a period app so I can strategically plan sex during my good weeks — a few days after my period starts until shortly after I ovulate. But I like having regular orgasms just as much as the next gal, so I take some additional measures so I can have more pleasurable sex all month.
Luckily, after almost 15 years of experimenting with the same loving partner, I’ve figured out a few things that actually help make sex not just uncomfortable, but fun. This is the first in a three part series where I share what I do to have an enjoyable sex life, something that doesn't come easy to those with endometriosis.1
Here is one, simple thing that helps.
You might not think adding a lubricant could make that much of a difference. But in my experience, it’s one of the best and easiest ways to make sex more comfortable. The body produces more lubrication and cervical mucus around ovulation, when estrogen is high.2 I usually don’t need any help around this time. Unfortunately, the time of the month when I’m in the most pain — the week prior to my period — is also when I produce less of my own moisture. That’s a double whammy for displeasure.
At first, I was bummed to bring lube into the mix. I took it as a personal failure that I needed something extra. I also wondered if my husband would take it as a sign I wasn’t stoked on sex. But I decided I’d rather be comfortable than embarrassed, so we talked about it and added a bottle to the nightstand.
The great thing about lube is that it makes the whole process more comfortable from the start. It helps me relax because I don’t have to worry if dryness will cause friction and irritation. Having less anxiety around sex increases my arousal and helps get my blood where it needs to go — my sexy bits — which increases my own lubrication. As my arousal increases, my sensitivity to pain decreases. Or at least I'm more tuned into the good feelings than the bad.
There's a lot of lube on the market, so experiment with with works for you. Popular options include water or silicone-based. I’ve tried both. The silicone kind is less runny and lasts longer, but it stained my sheets so I had to toss it. I’ve stuck with Astroglide for years because my doctor recommended it and it never caused any vaginal problems. I’ve also had a good experience with coconut-oil based lube that has CBD in it. (But you can’t use anything oil-based with a condom.)
But sometimes sex is still a no-go
While I don’t want to make a habit of avoiding sex, I do take it off the table when I’m experiencing too much pain. My husband listens when I say no, even if that’s in the middle of a lovemaking sesh. I suggest trying new things by yourself or with your partner to learn what increases your pleasure. But don't hesitate to say no if you’re not feeling up to it.
Up next: How adding a clitoral vibrator helps
Where has endo been found in your body?
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