Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Let's talk about sex, baby.

Image courtesy of http://thecollegianur.com/2009/09/03/lets-talk-about-sex-baby/8789/

Today I want to talk about sex.

I definitely don't find it difficult to talk about sex but writing about it is another thing. I've been wondering from what angle to approach the subject for days!

Now, to some, sex isn't a taboo subject but when it comes to linking something to this disease I can't think of anything else more taboo. I mean, I don't really leave much else to the imagination on this blog! But I've only briefly spoken about sex before and it's something that isn't really spoken about too often when it comes to endometriosis. I've seen it dicussed in terms of it being painful but I want to try and get down to the nitty gritty a little more.

Painful sex is just another thing us ladies with endometriosis have to deal with - unfortunately. But, sometimes, it can be one of the first indicators that something is wrong with your body. It was for me anyway.

I lost my virginity when I was 17 and so I knew what felt 'right'. I didn't have any problems for a good few years. On the odd occasion I would bleed during sex but I never thought this was anything to be worried about. The only real problems I had were thrush and cystitis which I would get repeatedly but I always put this down to the fact that I was out on the town, clubbing and drinking, like a normal teenage girl, every weekend - and weekday night if I could! I put it all down to an unhealthy lifestyle. I always used a condom and I was on the pill on and off from when I was 15 and then full time from when I was 17.

The first time sex became painful was when I was 21. I first thought it was the position we were in but changing position didn't take the pain away so I thought I must just be a bit sensitive inside - sometimes, at different times of the month, I find I am more sensitive than at other times of the month. But things didn't change and that's what eventually led me to the doctors and, later on, to discovering that I had this wretched disease.

So, is this the same for everyone? Will every woman feel pain during sex? Well, no, is the simple answer. Endometriosis occurs differently in every woman and can be discovered under a whole range of circumstances. Not every woman will feel pain during sex (the lucky few!) - you can see here on the 'back to basics' series that not all women suffer the same symptoms.

But, for us unlucky souls that have to bear the brunt of painful sex, what can we do about it? I think in one way I'm extremely lucky because I'm in a loving relationship and the boy understands exactly what I go through. But I've been single too since I've been diagnosed and it is hard. Sometimes you want to enjoy yourself and have some fun, but then there is the pain. And the fear of the pain too. I've been having sex before when it's suddenly become painful and when you're in that situation with someone new that you haven't told about your condition, what do you do? I always gritted my teeth and got on with it or changed position quickly, but, I have to admit, being single with this disease is hard work and sometimes a real embarrassment. The only piece of advice I can give to you single ladies is to do what feels right for you and the situation. If the person you are with cares about you then they should try and make you comfortable anyway and if it's not that type of sex, then just try and work with what you've got.

There are ways around painful sex. The key to a successful sexual relationship (no matter the sex of your partner) first of all is communication. You have to be able to talk to your partner. Tell them when it hurts, what feels good, what doesn't feel so good. Guide your partner around your body. You'll discover what works well for you both position wise but I find the positions where I am in control are the ones which hurt less. Anything where you're on all fours or on your back is usually a bad idea when you're already in pain because it means your partner can penetrate you deeper (which sometimes is a bad thing!). If you are still in too much pain but in the mood, then try experimenting with non-penetrative methods. Oral sex can be just as good as penetrative sex, if not better.

Very often, amongst the haze of hot flushes and emotional breakdowns, we may not feel like being close to our partners. But don't push them away without explaining. The boy is always hugely understanding when I actually talk to him but it's when I don't that things can becomes a little stifled. But it is normal to not feel in the mood. Don't think there is something wrong with you if you just don't feel like it. It's surprising just how much those tiny little hormones control us.

I guess I have to wrap up some where... The most important point to come out of this post is that painful sex isn't normal, so please, if you experience any pain, see your doctor and push for a reason behind it. It may not be endometriosis but wouldn't you rather have enjoyable painfree sex again rather than suffering in silence?

And for those of you who haven't had sex yet, please, don't be scared by this post. Sex can be scary enough without thinking about the complexities of positions and pain.

So, what do you ladies think? Or maybe your partner has endometriosis... What do you find works for you? Do you find sex a problem or do you not have any problems at all? Please feel free to comment below because I'd like to see other people thoughts on this.

S.
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