Sex Therapy for Endometriosis, Can it Help Me?

Sex Therapy for Endometriosis, Can it Help Me?

Endometriosis can have an adverse impact on intimacy and sexual relations. Sex therapy can help if endometriosis is having a negative impact on your sex life.

The stigma around discussing sex

One of the cardinal symptoms of endometriosis is dyspareunia or painful intercourse. Yet, patients often do not discuss sex with their doctor. Doctors themselves usually do not bring up their patients’ sexual experiences during a consultation for or diagnosis of endometriosis.

There can be several types of dyspareunia

Dyspareunia can be the result of deep tissue visceral pain that occurs inside the vagina. Alternatively, it can be superficial, meaning it originates in the vestibule or opening of the vagina.

Often, the fear of pain itself can cause spasmodic contractions in the vagina. This is called vaginismus and it can lead to abstinence from sex and avoidance of it completely.

The constant fear of pain due to sex can create pain pathways in the brain that intrinsically get activated before intercourse

What is sex therapy

According to sex therapist Sari Cooper, sex therapy is a component of family, or systemic, therapy as issues with intimacy usually affect the entire family.

The goal is to remodel the pain pathway so that the person affected feels safe and confident to engage in sex. Cooper calls this “sex esteem”.

Some of the ways in which you can boost your “sex esteem” include working on increasing “approach motivations” such as expressions of feelings of love, erotic and emotional triggers, or mutual power exchanges.

Cooper says that sexual life should be thought of as practice and not just in terms of orgasmic goals.

How can sex therapy be helpful for endometriosis patients

Pelvic floor therapy is a viable option to reduce dyspareunia. A sex therapist can work in conjunction with a pelvic floor therapist and/or a physical therapist to provide the best therapeutic approach.

Mindfulness can also be an effective method of coming to terms with your body and senses without any prejudices. While it can initially be difficult to overcome judgments, practicing mindfulness can give a better understanding of your body and how it feels. This, in turn, can improve your sex life.

It may also help to explore your pleasure zones. Penetration is not the only method of experiencing sexual pleasure. Knowing where your erogenous regions lie outside of the vagina can give you pleasure. It can also help in rewiring brain pathways to experience it without the fear of pain.

The point of view of the male partner

Men may not always understand how endometriosis causes pain. Taking the time to explain to your male partner your specific situation may help.

As the male partner, asking about the kind of pain that your partner with endometriosis is experiencing and exploring new ways of obtaining sexual pleasure for both of you can go a long way.

Have you heard of sex therapy before? Would you consider it to help with endometriosis symptoms? Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts by leaving a comment on our post on Facebook or Instagram if you wish.

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Our endometriosis specialists are dedicated to providing patients with expert care. Whether you have been diagnosed or are looking to find a doctor, they are ready to help.

Our office is located on 872 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10065.
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