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Sexual intercourse is usually affected by PGP, as it may be painful and difficult to move comfortably. This can put a strain on any relationship. Try different positions, where you do not have to open your legs too far or exert yourself too much, or try alternatives that do not involve penetration, such as massage, touching and cuddling. Take time to be close and enjoy being with each other and this may make intimacy gradually easier. If problems then arise or continue, it can make them easier to deal with together. If the pain interferes with the pleasure, seek more advice or treatment.

Sex is a very personal issue, and one that we don’t tend to discuss much. Sex is fun, it’s intimate, it’s complicated and with PGP, it’s problematic. On the simplest level, sex is difficult because it is painful to open your legs with an unstable pelvis; this is not conducive to most sexual positions. You may also find the weight of your partner painful and that it is difficult to move comfortably and spontaneously. Some women with PGP report that they are afraid that sex will damage their pelvis or worsen their PGP. Such problems and fears are real but not insurmountable. With goodwill and determination there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy a good sex life with PGP - you just need a little bit of imagination and a lot of good communication.

Explain your feelings and fears to your partner, and ask them how they feel; don’t assume that you already know. This can save a lot of misunderstanding (e.g. they haven’t initiated any sexual activity because they think it might hurt you and they don’t want to pressure you; you feel that they find you unattractive and undesirable; you feel bad, they feel bad, and the relationship can suffer). Take time to talk about your relationship with your partner, to be close and enjoy spending time with each other - this intimacy makes it a lot easier to talk and if problems do arise you can explore them together.

With PGP, the missionary position can be difficult so explore different positions together or try alternatives to penetrative intercourse such as sensual massage. Some people find that having sex does lead to increased pain in the short term but that the sense of intimacy, pleasure and well-being that it brings outweighs any temporary discomfort.

Each woman must make her own personal choices in this matter - what is right for one woman will not necessarily suit another. As a general rule, if the pain consistently interferes with the pleasure, or if sexual problems are adversely affecting the relationship, seek help and advice from a professional such as a counsellor (some specialise in sexual problems), your GP or Relate.

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