Vaginal penetration isn’t supposed to be painful
Human bodies were designed to experience pain as a warning. When humans experience pain, it’s likely that something isn’t right. And for an approximately 1 in 10 people with a uterus, the “thing” that is wrong is called endometriosis (source).
If you’re not familiar with that term, SpeakEndo.com explains that “[endometriosis] occurs when tissue that acts a lot like the lining of [the] uterus — called endometrium — starts growing outside of [the] uterus, where it doesn’t belong.” When endometrium grows outside of the uterus, people experience a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include painful bowel movements, painful urination, painful periods, pelvic pain between periods, and pain with sex (source). Although these are the most common symptoms, it is important to note that some people with (diagnosed or undiagnosed) endometriosis don’t experience any pain-related symptoms.
Unfortunately, in my case, endometriosis causes excruciating.
Sex wasn’t always painful for me
This year I turn 28, which means I’ve endured 16-years of pelvic pain before and during periods, 15-years of periods, and about 10ish-years of painful bowel movements. Pain during intercourse, however, is a relatively “new” symptom by comparison.
I’ve been sexually active for 11-years, and of that, I’d say that the first 3 or 4-years were pain-free. Eventually, my endometriosis either progressed or my fibro kicked in and made me more sensitive to the endometriosis symptoms. Needless to say, I don’t know what exactly changed, but until I started thinking about writing this article, I had forgotten that there was ever a time when sex was a pain-free experience. I guess I had experienced the pain long enough, it felt like sex had never been pain-free.
Painful sex jeopardized mine and my husband’s sex life
There’s a difference between consensually requested pain during sex, and pain during sex that lasts for hours or days after the sex is over. I was dealing with the latter of those two and it sucked. It got to the point where my husband and I were only having sex once every 5 or 6 months!
As a result, there were times that I made the decision to endure the pain because I wanted to share an intimate connection with my spouse. When that was the case, we had to go so slow that it was like having sex for the first time all over again. Now, that isn’t to say that I want sex to be rodeo-rough every time, but I also don’t want to play the virgin flower every time either. Not to mention the bleeding. For years, sex caused me to spot and/or straight start my period. That was a nice trick when my period was late due to stress, but it wasn’t so great when my period had finished a few days prior.
After the Affordable Care Act was passed, I went and got an IUD. Although it stopped my periods and drastically reduced the total number of instances of pelvic pain, the IUD didn’t help with pain during sex. In fact, the first one I got might have been making sex more painful because it became implanted in the wall of my uterus.
In 2017, I had the misplaced IUD removed and replaced by my current OB/GYN who used ultrasound to guide him through the procedure. As a result, the second IUD was much more successful. Unlike the first IUD, the second IUD seemed to reduce the number of instances of pelvic pain during and after sex. The IUD did not, however, reduce the pain I experienced during sex often enough to make a difference overall.
Sex so good, I’m like “what pain?”
Cannabis, on the other hand, does help with sex. Although cannabis doesn’t always reduce my pelvic and/or uterus pain during intercourse, it almost always makes my whole body feel super … tingly.
The tingly feeling quiets my worried mind. Sex no longer feels like a chore or a requirement, it becomes a necessity. Without anxiety clouding my mind, I also start to feel more confident in my sexuality and desires. I’m not as afraid to ask for what I want. During sex, the tingly feeling is so amplified that it overpowers any pain I might normally experience.
Of course, not all strains are created equal, so not all strains will have this same effect. Personally, my favorite strain to smoke before sex is Sour Tsunami. I discovered its effects by accident one night and have loved it ever since. For the purposes of this article, I decided to check out Sour Tsunami’s medical uses on Leafly.com. And, according to Leafly, Sour Tsunami is used to help with stress, pain, depression, inflammation, and fatigue. Additionally, the strain is known to make people feel relaxed, happy, uplifted, euphoric, and energetic.
No wonder I’ve had so much luck with it!
Sour Tsunami was basically made for people with endometriosis. Endometriosis is stressful, painful, depressing, exhausting, is literally an inflammation issue, and is overall very exhausting. Combating all of those symptoms at once was bound to make sex more enjoyable for me. Subsequently, it also makes sex more enjoyable for my partner which in turn allows us to have a much healthier sex life.