IUDs are wonderful contraceptives. They’re
In other words: They can take some of your worries away about having an unplanned pregnancy — which can make penis-in-vagina sex more fun. They also
If you’re new to IUDs, you probably have some questions about how they might impact sex — especially penetrative vaginal sex. No worries. We’ve got you covered with everything you’ve ever wanted to know.
For real. Once a qualified healthcare professional inserts the IUD, you can engage in sexual activity as soon as you want — unless you had it inserted within 48 hours of giving birth. Before you jump in, though, there are two things you should know.
First, you might have some spotting and cramping for a bit after the IUD is inserted. So, you might not feel up to sex right away. It’s probably a good idea to set expectations with your partner(s).
Second, you might not be protected against pregnancy right away, so you might want to use an alternative form of contraception for a bit — though how long will depend on what kind of IUD you had inserted.
ParaGard (the copper IUD) begins preventing pregnancy immediately. But hormonal IUDs are only effective right away if they were inserted within the first 7 days of your period. Otherwise, you’ll need to use an alternative form of contraceptive for a full 7 days.
You might feel some cramping and back pain for a few hours or days after the initial insertion. But that pain should go away relatively quickly.
After that, you shouldn’t feel your IUD at all. Not during your day-to-day or during any kind of sexual activity. And it definitely shouldn’t cause you any discomfort — no matter what kind of sexual activity you engage in.
The IUD is inserted into your uterus, not your vagina, so your partner won’t feel the device itself because your cervix blocks access to it.
Your IUD does have strings that hang down through your cervix into your vaginal canal. These can be felt when you— or a sexual partner — insert fingers into your vagina, but they shouldn’t be bothersome.
If your partner has a penis, it’s rare for them to feel the strings during vaginal sex. The healthcare professional who inserts your IUD will likely trim the strings to a less bothersome length during your appointment, and the mucus in your cervix will make them difficult to notice during intercourse.
That said, sometimes “the string can be felt by a penis if it’s a bit too long,” says Kimberly Langdon, MD, an OB-GYN based in Ohio. “If this is a persistent problem, then the string can be cut shorter.”
Just talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional at your next appointment, and they’ll adjust the length.
Remember, your IUD is in your uterus, not your vaginal canal, so even if you have rough or deep penetrative sex, your IUD should stay put in your uterus.
It is possible for an IUD to be expelled from your uterus, but penetrative sex isn’t what causes the expulsion.
Even with fingers, it’s actually pretty hard to pull an IUD out of place because the strings are slippery from your vaginal secretions. OB-GYNs don’t use their fingers to remove your IUD for this reason, opting instead for a specialized tool.
If your IUD is expelled, it’s more likely to come out during your period or a bowel movement. It’s more likely if you have heavy periods or severe cramps. Most expulsions happen within a few months of being inserted.
Just like a penis, most sex toys won’t latch onto slippery, thin strings.
The only exception, according to Langdon, would be if your sex toy has a hook-type end. Then it could theoretically pull your IUD out by the strings.
However, most toys don’t have this type of tip, and if they do, says Langdon, “they aren’t safe anyhow.” Hook-tipped sex toys could injure you.
It’s possible to experience irregular bleeding or spotting in the first 3 to 6 months after an IUD is placed, but this eventually stops.
This bleeding may occur after sexual activity, but it’s more likely to be a result of the IUD’s side effects than penetrative vaginal sex.
Still, if you experience bleeding frequently after sexual activity — especially if your IUD wasn’t recently inserted —give your local clinic a call. It’s possible that something else is causing your bleeding and treatment may be necessary.
- inadequate lubrication
- injury or tears in the vagina
- sexually transmitted infection
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- cervical or endometrial polyps
- cervical disease
- vaginal atrophy
A healthcare professional can perform a physical check, make sure your IUD is still in place, and make sure you don’t have an underlying condition in need of treatment.
If you experience persistent or severe pain during sexual activity, reach out to a healthcare professional right away. You should also give them a call if you experience any foul discharge or develop a fever or chills.
Pregnancy is rare if you have an IUD inserted, but not impossible. If you suspect you might be pregnant, take a pregnancy test and contact the healthcare professional who inserted your IUD immediately if the test comes back positive.
Having the IUD in as the pregnancy develops can cause severe complications including infection, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy, so talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional about removal, regardless of whether you plan to terminate the pregnancy.
Your IUD shouldn’t get in the way of your sex life: You shouldn’t be able to feel it, sex toys shouldn’t dislodge it, and it shouldn’t be bothersome to your partner(s). If anything, having an IUD should make partner sex more fun and ease some of your concerns about unwanted pregnancy.
Simone M. Scully is a writer who loves writing about all things health and science. Find Simone on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.