Heather Jeffcoat, DPT
Wondering How to Talk With Your Partner About Endo?
The pain of endometriosis can make intimate relationships a huge challenge. Experts and patients give advice on how to talk about this invisible condition so that your partner understands.
By Gabrielle Kassel
Medical Reviewer: Andrea Eisenberg, M.D.
In this article Gabrielle Kassel speaks to a number of experts on endo, including yours truly. If you're suffering from pain during sex and looking for tips on how to talk with your partner about endo, read on. Topics covered include:
Why Hiding Endo Can Backfire
Gabrielle wanted to know about the potential pitfalls of hiding your pain. Here's what I had to say:
While having endometriosis will not necessarily impact your relationship in negative ways, hiding it can, notes Glashow. If your partner does not know when it’s your endo symptoms that have you avoiding occasional dates or certain sex acts, they may assume that you’re not interested in the relationship or serious about them long-term, she says. Worse yet, you shouldn’t feel you have to disguise any pain during intercourse. Gritting your way through intercourse can cause your pelvic floor muscles to clench up, which can hinder penetration as well as cause additional painful symptoms, says Heather Jeffcoat, a physical therapist in Los Angeles, CA, and author of Sex Without Pain.
Talk Specifically About Sex
She also wanted to stress the importance of being specific with your partner about how endo can affect your sex life, to which I said:
If pain during sex is a symptom you experience, you should share that with your lover, says Jeffcoat. Then, work with them, as well as your healthcare team, to come up with solutions—because there are solutions. “It can be helpful to remember that sex does not have to include penetration or intercourse to be pleasurable,” says Shannon Chavez Qureshiz, a licensed psychologist and sex therapist in Beverly Hills, CA. Pelvic floor therapy and OTC pain relievers can also be effective at reducing pain during penetration, adds Jeffcoat.
There is much great information in the full article which includes quotes from a number of other endo experts, including:
- You Decide When the Timing Is Right
- How Being Open Can Bring You Closer
- Getting the Conversation Started
- Keep the Conversation Going
- You Can Learn About Endo Together
- How Your Partner Responds Can Be Telling
- Discussing Endo and Future Plans