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Couple cuddling in bedroom

Ways to ease endometriosis pain during sex

29 Feb 2024 • 3 min read

Studies have suggested that around two thirds of women with endometriosis have some form of sexual discomfort, not limited to difficult or painful sex.1

Though difficult to navigate and live with, there’s ways you could ease endometriosis pain during sex. Like changing your position, using lubes, timing intercourse around your menstrual cycle or exploring other ways to be intimate. But remember, above all is communication; being honest and open with your sexual partner about your discomforts.

Why can endometriosis cause painful sex?

During sex, endometriotic lesions and nodules can be stretched and pulled, which can cause pain, also sometimes causing inflammation and scarring. Lesions happen when tissue resembling the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus instead.2,3

Another cause of pain during sex could be vaginal dryness. One study showed significant differences in the quality of sexual life between women with endometriosis and women without it. Women with endometriosis had difficulty with4:
  • Enjoyment during sex 
  • Lack of vaginal lubrication during sexual activity 
  • Decreased satisfaction with sexual life

What to look out for

Endometriosis can cause pain whether it be penetrative sex or without penetration. The pain caused by endometriosis during sex is deep, and it can be more intense in certain sexual positions than in others.5

You may also experience feelings like: 
  • Aching 
  • Burning
  • Throbbing 
  • A ripping sensation
Additionally, many women report pain in the perineum, a small stretch of skin in between your vagina and anus. As well as pain in the pelvis, lower back, bladder, and/or uterus. Pain levels can intensify around your menstrual period.6

What can help to ease the pain?

Some experts recommend that people with endometriosis get to know themselves on an intimate level first. Exploring what feels good and becoming an expert in your own pleasure will allow you to have the ability to make sex exactly what you want it to be.7

Allowing your body the time to prepare is key; everyone needs a chance to warm up, regardless of whether they're dealing with endometriosis or not. You’re not obligated to make your partner happy at your own expense, but rather to approach sex with healthy curiosity, honouring how your body feels in that moment. 8

Using water-based lubricants or vaginal moisturisers could also help to ease some uncomfortableness you may be experiencing. 9

Communication is key

Communication is key in a relationship. And that includes speaking to your partner about any pain you experience during sex. Sex is meant to be a pleasant experience between two people who care for one another, so it’s important to be vocal about your symptoms and not feel embarrassed or insecure.

Keep in mind: 
  • Communication 
  • The timing of sex 
  • Other forms of intimacy10
Many individuals who experience pain due to endometriosis find that it varies depending on the timing of their menstrual cycle.

Couples have found relief from these symptoms by engaging in other forms of intimacy; sex isn’t the only way to find or enjoy pleasure! 11

The final say

We hope this article has shone some light on the different ways you could help to ease endometriosis pain during sex.

It’s important to trust your partner and to build a safe space in the bedroom, communicate about any pain you experience and talk through it.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional if you think you might have endometriosis.
heeral-patel-bio

Heeral Patel

Reviewer

Health & Science Editor

Biomedical Sciences

Graduating from Cardiff University in Biomedical Sciences, I pursued a career related to health and medicine. Landing me my first job in pharmaceutical market research, from listening to patient stories my interest in health and wellbeing grew, leading me to work in publishing and editing content for medical education and women’s health journals. Now I am here as part of the Science team to create science and health editorial guidelines and content reviews so we can help the business with their mission of being science-led!

Something I am passionate about:
Exercise! I’m not a regular gym go-er, but I am an advocate for moving your body in some form or another, whether that’s a long walk or dancing! It’s really helped with my mental well-being, and I love getting 10,000 steps in!
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