A Toolkit to Relieve Painful Sex

A Toolkit to Relieve Painful Sex

Many people with endometriosis experience painful sex. It can affect relationships, self-esteem, connection to oneself and the body, and sexual and general well-being.

For centuries women have been taught to suppress sexuality, and that pleasure was secondary in importance to men’s — or not important at all. This has led to many of us living with painful sex to “just ignore the problem and get on with it.” But problems don’t simply go away. Instead, they manifest into other areas of our lives, such as tension in our romantic relationships, increasing internal bodily pain, or pursuit of addictive methods to numb the problem.

I am thankful that society finally is discussing the issue of painful sex and addressing the problem with products and services. Below is a sex toolkit concept packed with options that aim to relieve or reduce pain during intimacy.


I find Ohnut brings the most immediate relief of anything else in my sex toolkit. The Ohnut was created by a fellow sufferer of painful sex, who after living for years with this problem in silence, decided to do something about it. She designed a doughnut-shaped sex tool that tailors penetration depths to a level of comfort. Worn on the penis, the Ohnut is a series of stackable rubber rings, which you can add or take away to allow experimentation. The relief I felt when using the Ohnut was immediate and the feedback from the endometriosis community has been overwhelmingly positive.


We should only put clean, pure substances in vaginas to avoid problems like toxic shock syndrome, an irritated vagina, stinging, soreness, and pelvic pain. If using irritating lubricants, sex is probably going to be more uncomfortable. I never really questioned the unpleasant sensation I felt after using lubricant — I thought it was just part of sex. As soon as I switched to a natural-based lubricant, that soreness went away. (Bonus tip: I haven’t had thrush since using a natural and chemical-free body wash!)

But what about if you don’t use lubricant at all? Then do. Lubrication is really helpful if you experience painful sex. It can make the whole process much smoother and gentler, plus it can enhance pleasurable sensations. I would never have sex without lubrication now.

My favorite brand at the moment is YES. Make sure the lubricant you pick is compatible with the condoms you use. Speaking of which, try to swap to toxin-free condoms to remove further irritation.

Massage oil

My friend Oliwia launched Womanology after suffering from several reproductive conditions, including vaginismus, for years. She developed natural cleansing and intimate oils to care for and soothe her vagina while allowing for intimacy if and when desired.

Use her Self-Love Potion No. 01 alone or with a partner. It leans on intoxicating scents to arouse the senses and uses softening coconut oil and shea butter to safely support the vagina in arousal.

The Prepare/Repair Elixir was initially designed to strengthen and soothe the skin for childbirth, but Oliwia has since discovered it’s perfect for use after sex to reduce inflammation and irritation.

Yoni massage tools

I recently spoke about the Onna massage tool I use. Using a tool (or your fingers) during yoni massage can be a great way to relax the vagina. For many of us, pain heightens with anticipation of pain. Our vaginas tense up and tighten, which causes muscle contraction and nerve stimulation in those painful areas. You could try massaging alone or before sex with a partner to relax the muscles and open the vagina up by using lubricant, then follow up using the Ohnut.

Remember these tips aren’t about making you more penetrable to please your partner. They’re about making sex more pleasurable and painless for you. As you go on this journey, try to keep your own sexual well-being at the forefront of your mind.


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.