By Krissy Brady
Your sex life will change — for the better.
What’s not to love about intrauterine devices (IUDs)? Once that little T-shaped contraceptive is implanted in your uterus, you can finally stop worrying about forgetting to take your pill or wondering if the condom broke. Seeing as how IUDs like the Mirena are becoming more popular than ever, there’s one important question that needs to be answered: How does having an IUD affect your sex life?
“In reality, most women don’t even know their IUD is there,” says fertility expert Dr Jaime Knopman. “Since the IUD is placed in the uterine cavity, you can’t see it or feel it, so it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your sex life.”
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Here are six handy factoids you should know about having sex with an IUD:
1. It probably won’t affect your sex drive
“There are two types of IUDs: non-hormonal and hormonal, neither of which should have an impact on your sexual desire or how you feel during sex,” says Knopman. In fact, A 2012 study of 400 women found that there were no significant differences in sexual functioning between women using a hormonal IUD and those using a copper one. Hormonal IUDs will decrease bleeding and cramping during your period and could even stop both completely — so if you’re not a fan of period sex, this means more slots in your schedule for getting busy, says gynae Dr Amir Marashi.
2. But it will make your sex life hotter
Because concerns about unplanned pregnancy usually take a backseat when sporting an IUD, some women experience an increase in sexual pleasure. “When you don’t have to remember to take a pill and an IUD doesn’t require any in-the-moment effort like condoms, sex can be more spontaneous,” says sexologist Dr Jess O’Reilly. Translation: bow chicka wow wow!
3. Your partner may feel the stings
If you’re worried about your IUD strings poking your partner, you’re in good company — it’s one of the most common concerns among women. “The strings could feel sharp to a man’s penis depending on how they were cut,” says Marashi. “The strings should always be cut straight, but if a doctor newer to IUD insertion mistakenly cuts them at an angle, this can cause the string to feel needle-like.” (Especially if your partner is long enough and the sex is deep enough.) But don’t fret: The odds of this happening are slim to none. These days, IUD strings are super-thin, barely noticeable and soften over time — and if your partner does report feeling them, you can always check in with your doc to have them shortened, says Knopman.
4. Post-sex bleeding can happen
Some women do experience bleeding during sex with an IUD — especially hormonal IUDs — though it isn’t common. “Hormonal IUDs thin out the endometrial lining, the inside of the uterus that sheds each month with a period,” says clinical obstetrician and gynaecologist Prof Sara Twogood. “If the lining is very thin, it may shed a bit during sex, which would cause bleeding.” However, you should always touch base with your doc to nail down the exact cause of your post-sex bleeding, especially if you’re in pain. It could be a sign that your IUD is out of place, which leaves you unprotected.
5. No sex positions are necessarily off-limits
Every body is different, but if the IUD is in the proper position in the uterus, you shouldn’t feel it during sex at all,” says Twogood. O’Reilly agrees, “I’ve heard a few women say that doggy style is a bit uncomfortable, but most women say their sex lives (and favourite positions) are unaffected.” Can we get an amen?
6. Rough sex won’t dislodge it
Your IUD may slip out (docs call this expulsion), but it’s uber-uncommon. “In the first year after getting an IUD, the expulsion rate is roughly five percent,” says Twogood. “Having sex wouldn’t increase or decrease this risk.” Some uteruses will just expel an IUD. Usually, you can get another one placed and it won’t happen again, but sometimes a woman’s uterine cavity is too small to comfortably use an IUD, says ob-gyn Dr Sarah Yamaguchi. The more you know…
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com