Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition that affects 10 percent of women around the world. It impacts the body by forming a tissue that is similar to the tissue that grows in the lining of the uterus (this is called the endometrium) outside of the uterine cavity. This tissue growth can occur on the ovaries, tissues lining the pelvis, and the bowel.
The inevitable hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle can affect this misplaced endometrial tissue and cause the area to become inflamed and painful. The tissue will grow, thicken, and eventually break down. Following this, the broken-down tissue will have nowhere to go and will be trapped in the pelvic area, causing the following:
- Severe pain (especially during periods)
- Fertility problems
As you can imagine, endometriosis can lead to a significant amount of pain when engaging in sexual activities. For many women suffering from endometriosis, sexual activities can lead to a sharp and shooting pain in the abdomen during and after penetration.
So how can you alleviate some of this pain and make sure that you and your partner both feel good? Let’s talk about POSITIONS.
There is a multitude of positions that put less pressure on areas of the pelvis that contain the aforementioned endometrial tissue. The partner with the endometriosis will often prefer to have control of the depth and penetration speed to moderate the pain levels.
Some of the preferred and comfortable positions include:
- A little face-to-face (Try raising the hips of the person with endometriosis - this is best when they are on top)
- Modified doggy-style
Note that the missionary position is often painful for women with endometriosis, but not always. As someone who battles endometriosis, I personally find it to be satisfying with the right partner.
If penetration is an issue, is unsatisfying or painful in any capacity there are always intimate alternatives such as:
- Oral stimulation
- Oral Stimulation
- Sex Toys
Additionally, some great ways to reduce pain and increase enjoyment during sex while battling endometriosis include:
- Using lubricant
- Practicing gentle and slow penetration
- Extended foreplay
- A warm bath or Advil before sex
- Engaging in intercourse the week after ovulation
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of endometriosis and are not yet diagnosed please speak with your doctor. It’s also integral that you speak with your partner to help them better understand your condition. It is incredibly important to share feelings in intimate situations as well as needs and fears regarding sex. Your partner may be experiencing similar feelings and worrying about being the cause of pain and discomfort. It may be easier to start this conversation in a neutral place outside of the bedroom. It is difficult dealing with painful sex and it can take an emotional toll, too…The goal is to encourage genuine and open communication. This helps to ensure that sex is pleasurable and free of pain for each partner involved.