I’m a sexual person. I’m also a person living with endometriosis, and the confluence of these identities has caused something of a conflict, to put it mildly.
A number of nuances of living with endometriosis can make it challenging for me to always be my fabulous, sexually free self. But mostly, the issue is the blinding, crippling pain.
Endometriosis is the medical condition whereby tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside instead. This is a problem because the tissue continues to behave as though it’s inside the uterus (building up and shedding during each menstrual cycle), but it has no way out. What results, for many people, is critical pelvic pain. This mostly takes the form of painful menstrual cramps (the kind that make it so that you’re unable to get off the floor or stop vomiting). Other symptoms can include pain during or after sex and during urination or defecation.
What does this have to do with my sex life? A lot, actually. There have been weeks upon weeks when I haven’t been physically up to having sex — either because my cramps have made it hard for me to even think about feeling sexy or because sex triggers cramps and pelvic pain. But because I love sex and refuse to let my condition take that away from me, I’ve tried out countless techniques to help me live a full sexual life while dealing with chronic pain. Ahead, my top five tips.