Does a Pessary Mean the End of Sexual Activity?

Q. My partner had a pessary implanted, in lieu of a hysterectomy. Her gynecologist told us both “no more” sex. This seems harsh. What can be done to resume our sex life?
Dr. Hersh says: There are many types of pessaries on the market, only one of which, the Gelhorn pessary, precludes penetrative sex play. The Gelhorn is shaped like a cup with a handle that sticks out of the middle. The concave part of the cup faces the cervix, while the handle protrudes into the vagina. This pessary is most commonly used in women who are not sexually active and who have very significant pelvic organ prolapse.  I would recommend that your partner ask her doctor if she could try another pessary.  Occasionally, the prolapse is so significant that only the Gelhorn will work. If this is the case, your partner will have to decide if the risks of surgery outweigh her/your desire for penetrative sex.
Don’t forget there are many ways to have sexual fun without penetration — read through the Desire and Pleasure area of our FAQ library.