Queer Sex and Endometriosis
The prospect of having sex when you suffer from endometriosis can be ridden with anxiety and fear.
I always assumed the endometriosis that’s been decimating the lower half of my body since I was young would make sex very difficult, if not impossible.
Even when I came out as a lesbian, I was still afraid I’d never be able to ‘perform’ well in the bedroom or meet my partner’s sexual expectations and needs, because of my body.
If I could go back to my anxiety-ridden, pre-sexually-active self, this is what I’d tell her about sapphic sex* and endometriosis.
*Please know that ‘sapphic sex’ is intended an inclusive term.
There Is No ‘Performance’
Perhaps I got this idea while I was single and frantically dating, shortly after coming out. Going on a new date every weekend really made romance feel like it was a performance, so, sex would have to be too, right?
What I would find out is within sapphic sex there is no performance. There are no ‘roles’ anyone is forced to play and therefore no performance to be made.
There can be power balances, yes, but they’re not bound by any designated roles or defined boxes.
Sapphic intimacy is, to put it simply, equal.
There’s a shared generosity of give and receive and give and receive that continues from one night to the next – all focused on equal value, connection, and pleasure (no matter how that pleasure is given or received).
This wonderful simplicity doesn’t fit within any lines drawn by cis-het culture, and it didn’t fit within my own head till I experienced it.
In living with a disease that effects so much of my body and intimate places, having sex in a space where no performance exists means there’s no performance for my body to fail at.
My partner and I can experience pleasure and intimacy in whatever capacity my body (or their body!) allows, and I’m not lesser for it, rather, I’m sexually empowered by it.
The fingers, tongues, genitals, and toys of every kind that exist in the bedroom of sapphic sex come in many shapes and sizes. And they’re all equally valued as parts of sexual intimacy.
This ‘tool equality’ (to be crude) in sapphic sex meant that it didn’t matter if I could only enjoy some touches or forms of penetration and not others due to my scarring and pain – because each was still significant and welcome in sapphic sex.
So I’ve never felt, or been made to feel, lesser due to the pain or internal scarring that can restrict the pleasure pathways I’m able to take during sex.
This ‘means-diversity’ in sapphic intimacy meant my fletching sex life was filled with shared, loving exploration and learning about my own body, rather than with fear, guilt, or shame over my disease.
Constraints Allow For Creativity
One of the most delightful surprises sapphic intimacy bestowed on me is that constraints allow for creativity — especially when it comes to sex.
During sapphic sex I’m repeatedly assured that when I can’t be in a certain position it only means gently trying a new one; when I can’t take a certain toy it only means trying another one if I’m up for it; when I can’t orgasm properly because my scarring is being irritated or tugged it only means trying a different pace or position till it feels good again.
This no-consequence-only-opporunity space fosters open communication and shared creativity, and means the success of a solution is far more satisfying for both me and my partner (especially if they’re the one who thought of it!).
And sometimes when nothing will change my body’s discomfort during sex, I’m still safe in saying so, knowing there are many other ways my partner and I can find intimacy.
Sapphic sex means the limitations my disease sometimes forces on my body can open new and wonderful doors, rather than close them.
Sapphic Sex Is Understanding
Understanding bodies are different, understanding bodies are the same, understanding the importance of communication, understanding mental and physical limitations, understanding permission and consent, understanding body signals, understanding subtext, understanding insecurities and the need for reassurance, understanding a shared life experience, understanding fantasies and kinks, understanding mistakes, understanding funny moments, understanding connection, and understanding each other.
The fear and guilt I’ve had about my body being ‘broken’ and sexually undesirable because of my disease has taken longer to dissipate than I thought it would.
But with the help of sapphic intimacy I’ve realised I am my body, and I am not broken or undesirable, and my disease can’t make me feel that way.