Dyspareunia, or painful sex, is something many women with endometriosis suffer from. Myself included. Sex has always been one of those topics I have felt uncomfortable discussing. At almost 30 years old, I still blush when sex scenes in movies come on.
I went back and forth about writing this column, as my sex life is really nobody’s business. But when you are suffering from a chronic illness that so many other women are suffering from, you begin to become more open about your issues in hopes that you can help other women suffering.
I have always had issues with the female region. Between urinary tract infections, abnormal periods, and pain, I never felt like I was normal. Although I was never really a sexaholic, sex was enjoyable. It was only a few years ago that it really started to become horrific.
Before my endometriosis diagnosis, I started to bleed during and after sex. When that began, my sex drive decreased. It was no longer pleasurable. I began to become worried. What was wrong with me? Was there a serious underlying condition going on that I did not know about?
The pain started to become unbearable to the point in which all I could do was cry hysterically. Sharp pains would shoot through my hips and pelvis and last for days after sex. Was I broken? Blood would linger in my pants as a reminder that something was not right.
Months went by, and doctors still could not figure out what was wrong with me. My relationship with my husband began to become rocky. It got to the point where he began to think I was cheating on him or not in love with him anymore. The stress of knowing that he felt that way made everything worse. We tried therapy before we got married. Was I really just falling out of love with him? Did I make up all of these pains? However, the blood … the blood was so real.
After a few therapy sessions, our therapist was able to see how much I loved my husband and how badly hurt I was, knowing I could not give him the love he needed. She suggested something could be going on with my hormones causing all my issues. After a full year of testing and specialists, I finally received my endometriosis diagnosis. Now it all made sense. The pain, the blood, and the sex drive loss was because something indeed was going on inside of my body. Something that was not normal.
Since my diagnosis, my husband has begun to accept my nonexistent sex drive. However, it still leaves me in a state of depression. How can a marriage work without intimacy? Will this disease keep me from ever having sex again? I never imagined that at 30 years old, my sex life would come to a complete halt. I feel embarrassed, alone, and like a horrible wife. How badly I yearn for that intimacy feeling to return.
You know that scene in “The Notebook” when Allie remembers Noah, and for a split second, they enjoy being in love again? And just like that, she forgets who he is. That is how our sex life is.
Endometriosis has destroyed my sex life. I do not know if this is temporary or for the rest of my life, but I do know one thing: I love my husband, more than anything in the world. He has been so caring and understanding through my whole journey. We make our marriage work. It is not easy. However, life is not supposed to be.
If you struggle with pain during sex and you feel alone, just know you are not the only one. In next week’s column, I will discuss tips on how to handle painful sex.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.