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 are becoming more popular than ever, there’s one important question that needs to be answered: How does having an IUD affect your s*x life?
“In reality, most women don’t even know their IUD is there,” says Jaime Knopman, M.D., fertility expert at the New York outpost of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. “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 s*x life.”
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. > are six handy factoids you should know about having s*x with an IUD:
- It probably won’t affect your s*x drive: “There are two types of IUDs: non-hormonal and hormonal, neither of which should have an impact on your s*xual desire or how you feel during s*x,” says Knopman. In fact, A 2012 study of 400 women found that there were no significant differences in s*xual 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 s*x, this means more slots in your schedule for getting busy, says Amir Marashi, M.D., ob-gyn and surgical director of the New York Center for Aesthetic Rejuvenation.
- It can make your s*x life hotter: Because concerns about unplanned pregnancy usually take a backseat when sporting an IUD, some women experience an increase in s*xual 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, s*x can be more spontaneous,” says Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., resident sexologist for Astroglide.
- Your partner may feel the strings: 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 man-hood 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 s*x 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.
- Post-s*x bleeding can happen: Some women do experience bleeding during s*x 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 Sara Twogood, M.D., assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine in California. “If the lining is very thin, it may shed a bit during s*x, which would cause bleeding.” However, you should always touch base with your doc to nail down the exact cause of your post-s*x bleeding, especially if you’re in pain. It could be a sign that your IUD is out of place, which leaves you unprotected.
- No s*x 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 s*x 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 s*x lives (and favorite positions) are unaffected.”
- Rough s*x 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 5 percent,” says Twogood. “Having s*x 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 Sarah Yamaguchi, M.D., ob-gyn at Good Samaritan Hospital in California. The more you know.
.: Women’s Health
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