Sex and endometriosis.
Honestly, I hadn’t thought of it because my wife (founder, Shawnda McNeal) has always been quiet about it. Plus, throughout our 13 years together, I’ve always tried to let her take the lead on the whole sex thing. I just never felt right nudging her into it in any scenario.
But, there I was combing the comments of an article I wrote called 4 Huge Mistakes I Made During My Wife’s Endo Battle and I saw the comment.
“…this is great, but I wish he would’ve tackled the elephant in the room…SEX…”
The sex issue in question wasn’t necessarily one of my mistakes.
Or so I thought. Turns out, it totally was.
Mistaken in that I had been massively out of tune with my wife and totally missed some of her advances. I hadn’t noticed those moments when she had mustered up all her strength, mentally and physically, and readied herself to connect with me.
And I’m not speaking for all men, but for me – being out of tune with my wife was the overarching issue in many areas of our life. Not just with endo.
With that, I polled our Facebook page to find out what women wanted us all to know about sex and endometriosis. Read below and please share, share, share. These women were extremely brave to share this. Let’s make sure all the eyes in the world get to see it.
Sex and Endometriosis: 4 Quotes To Teach You Everything
I’ll take you through four real quotes from real women that I pulled from our Facebook page. Each one gave me permission to re-publish. I’ve done my best to summarize the central point of each, while also providing some explanation for the partners of the world.
Oh, and bonus – if you have Pinterest pages, feel free to pin those quotes, k?
Feeling Left Like A Failure
Carly was one of the first responses. Her full comment is directly below. She does a great job summing up the overarching feeling of sex and endometriosis. Most women want sex just as much as any of us…the fact that the pleasure from sex is replaced by pain often times leaves women feeling like a failure.
We’ll get more into the pain below, but do not focus on that for now. In the quote below, focus on what she is feeling.
Carly’s full quote:
Endometriosis and Sex don’t go together. You’re left feeling like a failure when all you want to do is have sex but your body is fighting a war inside. Tears stream down your face as you try to pretend that is doesn’t hurt. Being able to feel good having sex is what makes me feel like a woman. Having that pleasure taken away and replaced with pain is a feeling that can’t quite be put into words.
The Rejection Hurts More Than The Endo
As a man supporting a woman with endometriosis, this one threw me completely for a loop. “What are we supposed to do then?” I thought.
So, I asked Shawnda if she’s experienced this with me and without hesitation she answered “YES…”
“What do I do then?” I asked.
“If I’m making the effort to have sex with you…then do it…It means I’m at a point mentally where I’d rather deal with the pain and connect with my husband.” she said.
That’s when I learned that I had indeed missed the bus on this one.
Tresa’s full quote below:
“You were in a lot of pain today. I don’t think it’s a good idea.” I hear this a lot. I know he doesn’t want me to hurt any more and he’s just trying to take care of me but the rejection almost hurts more than the endo.”
She Feels Absolutely Worthless
As men, what I think most of us don’t realize is that women, they really love sex too.
For different reasons maybe, but they do.
What Marisol is saying here is that she absolutely wants more than anything to have sex with her husband, but with the pressure of trying to conceive, the pain, the bloated belly, the scars – she doesn’t feel sexy.
And it’s frustrating, because she wants more than anything to feel sexy.
Speaking for the guys here, we typically don’t understand the feeling sexy part. We don’t need to feel sexy for sexy time.
For our ladies though, it’s all about the feels. It’s so much about the feels that, like I illustrated above, sometimes she’ll opt to have sex with us just because she wants to feel closer to us.
But, when she doesn’t feel sexy. That changes everything.
Her full quote below:
“It’s an emotional roller coaster indeed with Endometriosis & sex. As a wife i feel so worthless at times when I’m in pain and can’t give my husband attention he deserves. I don’t feel sexy enough for him with my bloated belly and surgery scars. In addition, trying to conceived for last 3 yrs doesn’t help when you are in pain only adding more stress. It’s frustrating go be intimate and sexy with your loved ine when you feel fatigued & in pain”
Sex With Endometriosis Feels Like Being Stabbed
Then, there’s that pain. I didn’t lead off with the pain, because the point I wanted to make with this article is that this issue is SO multi-dimensional. It’s not just about the pain.
But, the pain is real and it is terrible. We shouldn’t ever forget about the pain.
I picked out the comment below because the imagery, you just can’t shake it. To a lot of the women we’ve heard from, having sex with endometriosis feeling like being stabbed and the pain can stay with you for days.
Demara’s full quote below:
“To blatantly put it, SEX feels like you are being stabbed with a knife. Just like a stab wound, the pain doesn’t just go away. The pain can stay with you for days and you feel completely scarred. Something that is suppose to bring you pleasure brings you unbearable pain. You feel like less of a women as you battle with yourself. You want to be intimate with the one you love, but your mind tells you NO”
As Men, What Do We Do?
Honestly, I’m still a little lost with it. I think I get it – I’m trying to get it.
On one hand, you know she’s in so much pain, that when you feel her advances towards you, you just can’t imagine having sex and putting her through more pain.
So, you say “It’s alright, honey…”
Then, she feels rejected.
Double fail. What can you do?
Fine Tune Your Intuition and Communicate
I think the answer is, you have to continue to fine-tune your feeling and intuition to become as one with her as you possibly can. As husbands and partners, we should be doing this anyway – but it is especially important now.
And look, it doesn’t have to be a guessing game either. I’m not saying you have to be all Captain Psychic Pants.
If you feel confused, flat out ask her, “Are you sure you want to do this? I want to more than anything, but I don’t want to hurt you.”
If she really does, she’ll tell you.
And if she DOES tell you, it means she’s waged the war in her head and she’s ready. Go with it and revel in the moment of connecting with your partner.
Do You Have Any Advice on Sex and Endometriosis? As a man or partner in a relationship, maybe you have something to say too?
If so, please leave a comment. The goal is to get us all talking about this…outloud, together.
Top image: denisdenis, flickr cc