Sex and Endometriosis
Last updated: October 2022
Sex can be a minefield in the best of circumstances, but when you have endometriosis, it almost seems impossible to be able to derive any pleasure from it. So, what is the best way to ensure that sex will leave you satisfied, instead of in pain?
A little planning will go a long way. While endometriosis is a chronic illness, we typically don’t experience the same level of pain all the time. Because endometriosis is influenced by hormones, you will have periods in the month that are better than others. Use this to your advantage and plan your sexual activities around it. It’s not very sexy to plan sex, but if you and your partner are going to enjoy yourselves better, then it’s worth it.
Foreplay is an important part of any sexual encounter, but even more so when you are suffering from endometriosis. Start out slow, maybe with a massage and some gentle touching. Avoid areas that are typically painful and concentrate on what feels good for you. Fingering as part of foreplay is probably not a good idea, but have your partner concentrate on your clitoris. Don’t rush anything, and don’t feel pressured to continue if things still feel painful.
Sex is more than penis-in-vagina. Penetration can be very painful when you have endometriosis, but there is a lot more you can do to satisfy your partner than offering him your vagina. If penetration is too painful, switch to oral sex. Your partner could even use toys to get you off, for extra stimulation. Likewise, there are lots of toys on the market for male stimulation if you and your partner feel like being a bit more adventurous. But don’t underestimate what you can do with your hands and mouth. Sex is more than bringing someone to a climax, so concentrate instead on being in the moment, connecting with your partner on an intimate level. If you see an orgasm as the only goal of sex, you will put too much pressure on yourself and set yourself up to fail.
Sometimes sex can be stressful, particularly when you anticipate it being painful. This could result in you not really getting wet, even with a lot of foreplay. Hormonal birth control pills can also contribute to dryness, which isn’t ideal when you are trying to have sex. Luckily, there are lots of lubricants on the market and there is no shame in using them. Talk to your partner about what you need and make sure you choose a lube that is as natural as possible, as you don’t want to end up with a yeast infection (which can happen from lubes that contain glycerine).
Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. We are conditioned to think that sex means a man’s penis inside a woman’s vagina and a lot of men, especially, don’t think sex has happened until he has orgasmed inside a woman’s vagina. Experiment together to find a way in which you both get the most satisfaction without causing you any pain. Every woman is unique, and every endometriosis sufferer is unique, so only you and your partner can find out what the perfect way of having sex is for you. In the end, it’s about what works for you and your partner and you need to figure that out together.
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