Your shopping bag is empty!
Endometriosis. It’s one of the most unpleasant and painful conditions a human can experience. It is where cells (similar to the ones found in the womb lining) are found elsewhere in the body. Generally speaking, they’re found mainly in the pelvic cavity. This leads to chronic pelvic pain, painful and heavy periods as well as gastrointestinal issues. Endometriosis can often make you feel and look bloated – obviously incredibly painful and makes you feel very un-sexy. As if this weren’t bad enough, sex can also be painful! What a nightmare, right? Already a stigmatised condition as it is hugely associated with menstruation, you can image how difficult it can be to talk about dyspareunia (the medical term for painful intercourse).
Growing up, I had very basic sex education at school. I wasn’t aware sex was pleasurable for women until I first watched porn when I was about 15 – even then I was massively confused. We never spoke about sex in my house and as a late bloomer, I first had sex at 18 and felt a little behind all my friends. That first time was painful. So was the next. As was every time after that. It was peculiar that penetration was so painful with a man, yet through my own exploration of my body, it hadn’t hurt. I began to avoid sex – having spent most of my adult life vaguely dating people and never being committed, sex wasn’t a huge part of my life. As things got more serious with people and I tried to have sex more regularly, A&E admissions increased for me due to heavy bleeding and excruciating pain after penetration. I avoided sex for 2 years, until I had my surgery to treat the endometriosis. I took a few weeks to recover and was involved with a guy at the time, so now was the time to see whether sex was still painful. It wasn’t. It was joyous, orgasmic and fun. I felt sexy for the first time in my life! As time went on though, the pain began to increase again as my endometriosis worsened - then the coronavirus pandemic hit the world. I couldn’t experiment with sex anymore as I was single. Time to take it in to my own hands…my own hands which now caused me pain. Sex toys, they too caused me pain.
Up until this point I still hadn’t got to know my body well enough. For some reason, perhaps because I had finally felt the pleasure of an orgasm for once without pain, I knew I was capable of making this happen for myself. I decided to invest and experiment with vibrators more than penetrative dildos and toys. This was new – this was great. I’ve learned to make myself as comfortable as possible when using them and they’re great for using on the clitoris – this on its own providing me with amazing pleasure. For me, I’ve found it very important to set a scene for myself. Candles and incense, a sexy playlist that makes me feel bad ass and beforehand getting dressed up in sexy lingerie – taking a few hot pictures too. These are all part of my self-pleasure experience. This sounds incredibly performative but for my own individual experience, it’s what I enjoy. You have some kind of story or scenario when you have sex with someone else, so why not with yourself? It is important to find what YOU enjoy though. Speak to close friends, or visit sex positive social media pages – your intrigue will soon start growing. Try things on your own, for your own company is absolutely the best friend/f-ck buddy/partnership you’ll ever have!
I’m going through pelvic physiotherapy now, where I’m learning how to relax my pelvic muscles to allow penetration; it’s amazing a service like this is offered for people like me. I’m slowly experimenting more with penetrative sex toys and a LOT of lube.
My tips for anyone suffering from endometriosis to enjoy sex? Get to know your body, invest in lots of lube, a good vibrator, and get referred to pelvic physiotherapy. Just because you’re sick, doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to feel sexy and have ceiling-banging orgasms!