Recently, Pleasure & Peach had the pleasure of catching up with Georgia Stuart from Instagram's The Endo Journal. We spoke about living with chronic illness, navigating painful sex, and the impact pleasure-products and lubricant have had on her experience.
The Endo Journal is an inclusive account that raises awareness around endometriosis. It is a beautifully honest and candid page documenting Geogia's journey, but has also fostered an uplifting community for other people living with endometriosis. Check it out on Instagram @theendojournal.
Tell us about yourself and your journey with chronic illness.
Hi there, my name is Georgia I'm 26 years old and I live with endometriosis, adenomyosis, anxiety and fibromyalgia. I was first diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 17 in 2011. I experienced symptoms of endometriosis since the age of 12 when I first got my period. I had back pain, period pain, digestion issues, constipation, bloating, leg pain, headaches and low immunity. When I became sexually active, I also experienced painful sex, however I assumed this was normal. I experienced years of gaslighting from medical professionals, friends and family. I'm finally at a stage in my life where I have a multidisciplinary team looking after me.
I currently document my journey on the Instagram page theendojournal. When I first started this page, I wanted a safe space to share my thoughts, experiences and raise awareness of these illnesses. I've now unexpectedly grown an amazing community of chronic illness warriors who I have the privilege to connect with on a day to day basis. One thing I noticed in the chronic illness community is the stigma and shame surrounding sex and painful sex. I really want to normalise this conversation as I believe sexual wellbeing is just as important as physical and mental wellbeing.
What is your experience with painful sex and how has it impacted your life and pleasure?
Painful sex began for me when I was a teenager (15) however, I thought it was normal to feel pain with sex. I had a toxic mentality of just pushing through the pain as that's what I thought everyone did. I believe the lack of sexual health education I received as a teenager contributed to me doing this.. and to this day I'm shocked with how many people still think painful sex is normal?? It wasn't until I was 17 and went through my second excision surgery to remove endometriosis that I finally had a level of relief. I was able to have pain free sex for about the 3-4 years but then as my endometriosis began to grow back all my symptoms of painful sex returned. It wasn't until my most recent surgery in 2019 that I truly understood that painful sex isn't normal and anyone experiencing painful sex should seek medical advice (keep pushing if you experience gaslighting). Painful sex has impacted my life in multiple ways. It has caused great anxiety when engaging in sexual activity, low libido and contributed to my low self-worth.
How do you navigate painful sex? What have you found to be helpful and unhelpful in your experience? Any tips for communicating about painful sex with a partner/s?
Now at the age of 26 I do still experience painful sex with my endometriosis and adenomyosis but not as frequent. I have found excision surgery to help along with pelvic floor physiotherapy and would highly recommend to anyone who is experiencing painful sex. I find if you do experience painful sex it is SO important to communicate this with your partner / lover. Educating them about your illness's that cause painful sex can help them understand more and show them that it's not their fault. Being able to try different positions, along with lots of lube and even appreciating that sex doesn't always have to be penetrative. I find setting up a nice calm environment with music, candles and taking it slow essential. I use my prescription CBD oil to help relax my muscles and sometimes mix it in with lube.
What has your experience with pleasure products and lubricant been like? What impact, if any, have they had on your experience of pleasure and painful sex?
My experience with the pleasure products and lubricant has been so amazing! The sliquid organic lubricant is definitely my favourite lube I've ever used. I love that it is a water-based lubricant and has no scent. I had no irritation and love that it is top quality. It helped so much with the pain I sometimes feel around the entrance to my vagina so will definitely continue to use this! The OHnut for me was a complete game changer. I don't always experience painful penetration but sometimes when I'm having mild cramping my anxiety often stops me from engaging in penetration due to the fear of causing more pain. With the OHnut I love how I could use this to control penetration. I found that since having it I've been engaging in more sexual activity because I know it's there if I need it. I love how it has four rings so you can really play around with how much depth feels comfortable. The VeDO Yumi vibrator I also found to be an amazing addition! I loved how small and cute it is! And it's not too overwhelming. I used this during solo pleasure and also with my partner. I think it's great if you're not feeling up for penetration and love all the different levels so you can adjust it to the mood you're in!
If you experience painful sex please see a medical professional.
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