Having Sex With Endometriosis
Once upon a time, i had a job at an ice cream shop. I had a best friend who worked with me at the ice cream shop. I had a boyfriend whom i had regular sex with. I had an abusive, chauvinistic boss. I had periods that were so gentle, i never even had to take an ibuprofen, let alone midol. And then suddenly, one day, I had cramps that made me pass out, left me bedridden, and that forced me to miss work and cancel my band’s shows. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t twist from side to side. I couldn’t roll over in bed. I couldn’t sneeze, cough, or laugh without crying in agony. So my boyfriend and my best friend took my uninsured ass out of work and to the emergency room, for the second time in two months. I had an uncomfortable transvaginal ultrasound. They hopped me up on pain meds. My male doctor came in and told me:
“You’re just having a bad period.”
I wept. For many months more, I agonized, undiagnosed and unable to move. I couldn’t ride my bike, i couldn’t play drums, i could barely make it through my shifts at work. And to top it all off, i had now sunk deeper into medical debt, just for a doctor to tell me that i was having a bad period.
And then suddenly, one day, my boyfriend broke up with me. My best friend became my new boyfriend, even more suddenly than i had been dumped. And then, at work, i suddenly became so paralyzed with pain that i couldn’t move without screaming, slicing pain shooting throughout my entire midsection. Coconut Glen saved my ass, my boyfriend took me home, my mom had to help me pee – 20 years old and i suddenly couldn’t sit on the toilet without help -and later that night, my misogynist boss fired me over text message. Finally, that night, my mom’s doctor friend told me that he was almost 100% certain that i had endometriosis.
When we first started dating, there was tons of sex, all the time. Sometimes four times in one night. Every night. In the morning. In the shower.
And then suddenly, one day, i couldn’t have sex. I wasn’t self lubricating. It hurt. It burned. We tried lube – and that burned even worse. I just couldn’t do it anymore, at all. No oral, no fingering, and definitely no penetration. We moved into an apartment together, and i found a gynecologist who took my insurance – conveniently, two blocks away from our new apartment. He officially diagnosed me with endometriosis, and informed me that i basically had a shit load of ovarian cysts (official Dr. jargon, duh). The ultrasound screen looked like space invaders – with the sound to match, a constant beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep of my doctor circling each cyst. Again, i wept. I told him how i’d gained 50 pounds over the last 6 months of my ailment. He didn’t think that my endometriosis and my weight gain were correlated, but he did suspect i needed some lab work done, so off i went – and guess what? I also had hypothyroidism. I tried birth control pills – they did nothing. Ibuprofen barely helped and i was worried about taking it in such large quantities. Yoga didn’t help. Vitamins didn’t help. Weed was the only thing that helped. I couldn’t be high at work, so i struggled to make it to all of my shifts. I left one job, and then the other. I couldn’t handle how physical my jobs were.
When my boyfriend and i broke up and i moved out, I was determined to have sex. I needed to prove to myself that i was desireable – an issue i had that went along with my low self esteem – i lost weight, cut my hair, and downloaded tinder. And yet i could never get my brain to match up with my body. I thought i wanted sex, but any time it was a possibility, i spat at the notion. I could hardly even kiss anybody.
And of course – because that’s how we are – we got back together. We had sex every now and then, but i couldn’t take it for very long, insisting that we stop after only a few minutes.
I had just started working at an adult store, and researching sex, reading about sex, seeing sex – all the time – motivated me to find a way. I read, curiously, that being penetrated from a sideways position would be less painful – so we tried it, and it did help. I read about the womanizer, and longed to try it – and miraculously, one day, it was gifted to me. We tried it, and it was a lot to handle, but i came the closest i’ve ever come to an orgasm in my life.
We did acid – and had sex for hours. It was amazing. I didn’t come – but it was amazing. Again i felt motivated to keep trying.
And so we’ve been trying. Sometimes i drink wine (or gin, i love gin) before sex, and that helps my desire. I really can’t advise anyone else to get drunk before having sex – in fact i’d advise against it – but for me, I go into it knowing that i want to have sex and that when i’m buzzed my body will be able to handle it better. I wish it wasn’t that way, but sometimes it’s the only thing i can do when my brain wants it and my body isn’t getting the memo. Weed helps my pain, but it does not help my desire – it has the opposite effect, actually. I tried an enhancement pill once, but it didn’t help, and my chest hurt for three days – so never again.
Sex toys have helped, and my attempts to orgasm on my own have sort of helped too – i think a big thing is being relaxed about it all. And i think, the more i stimulate my body, the easier it is for me to get aroused. Sometimes it still hurts, but working a less active job and taking more time to relax have helped more things than just my endometriosis.
It’s shocking to me how many people have this affliction, yet how little i hear it spoken of. 1 in 10 [women]. 176 million worldwide, per year. I’m so thankful for the internet, to be honest, because without being able to seek information out i’d be completely lost as to what to do about it. The few people who i’ve spoken to about it offline have little to say about their sex lives – i really think it needs to be talked about more often.