Have you got endometriosis and it’s hindering your sex life? Recently I spoke on Triple J’s ‘The Hook Up’ about sex with endometriosis. I have stage four endometriosis (the most severe kind) and I know firsthand how agonising it can be. One brave woman called up and shared how sex was so painful with her boyfriend but she just put up with the pain to make him happy.
Endometriosis is the silent epidemic that one in ten women suffer. It has no cure. There are confusing treatments with awful side effects. Sex can hurt for minutes, hours or days afterwards for endometriosis sufferers. Many women suffer in silence or end up avoiding sex altogether because they find that easier than asking for what they want and negotiating.
The endometrium grows and bleeds on the outside of the internal organs, just like inside the uterus every month. This causes scarring, adhesions and can twist all the organs as they all fuse painfully together. Menstrual issues are a taboo topic, and women are told just to put up with the pain. A diagnosis takes ten years on average. Endometriosis causes fertility risks, multiple surgeries, and a list of painful symptoms including chronic fatigue.
- Put the focus on pleasure and sensation rather than “penetration” and orgasm. It’s contrary to everything our society teaches us about sex but can be life changing for endometriosis sufferers.
- Experiment with different positions at different times in your cycle. If you’ve had a laparoscopy you’ll know where the endometriosis is growing. Try avoiding deep penetration. Let your partner sit back as you sit on top and take control, or try positions where thrusts can only be shallow.
- Get rid of the idea of “in and out” and embrace different movements. Think how bellydancers rotate their hips. Get your partner to lie still and squirm around them or just flex your muscles around them. Go gently!
- Go slow and never rush. The more turned on your body is, the more your vagina lengthens. You might have to forget about quickies, especially if your partner is especially large.
- Lots of lube. Never, ever, use condoms without lube. Experiment with different brands until you find one you love.
- Throw out everything you learnt about sex from school and pornographic films. It doesn’t have to end with penis in vagina and the male orgasm.
- Don’t see foreplay as the “warm up” to “real” sex (i.e. “penetration”). See every intimate act as “sex.”
- Try more: long passionate kisses, sensual massages, stroking, nibbling, exploring each other’s erogenous zones outside of the genitals, touching, fingering, mutual masturbation, oral sex, have a warm bath together.
- Worship the clitoris! With 8,000 nerve endings you can have many orgasms with nothing even entering your body. Show your partner what you like.
- Stop using the word penetration or other violent words like jab, nail or ram. Try using words like “I’m going to envelope you, grip and milk you”. Turn the idea of sex as passive for women on its head.
- Stop using the word “performance” when talking about sex. Sex isn’t an olympic sport.
Please get in touch with me if you have endometriosis and you want passionate sex with your partner.
Cat O Dowd
Sex Therapist – Relationship Psychotherapist – Art Therapist