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Contraception

The penis and the pea: will he feel my IUD during sex?

This is a common question prior to an IUD insertion. I can see where someone who has never seen an IUD up close and personal would wonder about this.

The answer is it all depends.

It depends on what kind of IUD you have and if your OB/GYN is an idiot.

Yes, my artwork. And yes, I'm no Netter.

Okay,so let’s start with the basics. The IUD (in North America, anyway), is a T-shaped device that sites entirely in the uterus. If any part of the IUD itself can be felt, then it is not in correctly and should be removed ASAP (if it’s not in correctly, it’s not preventing you from getting pregnant). The only part that exits through the cervix is the string. The string is there for 2 reasons: A) to make removal a cinch and B) to let you and your GYNO know it is still in the right spot.

With a Copper IUD, the string is soft, like cotton (it’s not really cotton, but you get the point). It is damn near impossible to feel with a finger, and your finger tip has more nerve endings the head of a penis (sorry boys). I sport a Copper IUD (sorry if that is TMI, but they are a fantastic contraceptive providing 10 worry-free years and are highly cost-effective). Anyway, I find the string really hard to feel and I, uh, know my way around a cervix.

So if you have a Copper IUD and it is in the right spot (meaning not sticking out of your cervix), there is no way a guy will feel it. If he claims he can, it’s a case of the Princess Penis and the Pea. Either tell him he’s wrong and can’t possibly feel the string, or congratulate him on his amazing powers and prowess and then tell him the next time you see him that you’ve had it “taken care of,”(nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

However, if you have a Mirena IUD, then a closer inspection of the situation is warranted. The Mirena string is thick, like fishing wire. It needs to be cut long. Not long enough to trip over mind you, but long enough that it can curl at least part way around the cervix. If a Mirena string is cut short, it will stick straight out of the cervix like a bristle. A pokey bristle that a gentleman might indeed feel (you will feel it too by checking). And let me tell you, nobody’s happy with a pokey bristle sticking out of the cervix.

If your GYNO cut your strings too short they have either not inserted very many Mirenas, are an idiot, or both. The only remedy is to remove the Mirena and put in another one with the strings left long enough (or switch to a Copper or an entirely different form of contraception), or cut the strings of your current Mirena super short. Sadly, the Mirena string will not soften with time. If the strings are cut super short they will retract up inside the cervix and will not longer cause the poking problem; however, this can often make removal a bit of a bear.

If your partner is voicing his concern about “feeling your IUD” it’s worth having a feel yourself as well as getting your GYNO to check it out. You want to make sure the IUD has not somehow dislodged itself. If you have a Mirena, also ask about the string length (if they are long and curled around your cervix, you are back to the whole Penis and the Pea problem). If the string is short, well, that could very well be the source of your problem.

And if you are lucky enough to be reading this before getting your IUD inserted and you are going for a Mirena, ask you GYNO how long he or she plans on cutting the string. If they don’t answer, “Long enough to curl a little way around your cervix.” you might want to ask them how many they have actually inserted before going ahead.

Remember, this post does not represent direct medical advice.

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Discussion

25 thoughts on “The penis and the pea: will he feel my IUD during sex?

  1. You are better than Frank Netter in two important ways: you’re a lot more attractive than him, and you’re not dead.

    Posted by Monotreme | October 26, 2011, 2:59 am
  2. IUD’s always weirded me out. It makes me uncomfortable to think of a foreign object up inside of me. I believe my mom had one (a long ass time ago), and she said she needed to have it removed b/c it “wandered”. It freaks me out that it might go where it’s not supposed to go. Oh, and I fully expect any doctor I see to totally mess it up, b/c that’s my luck and the service I’ve come to expect from the military medical system. *salutes*

    Posted by Always Sick Chick | November 5, 2011, 1:06 am
  3. Nice post; Thanks you!!!

    Posted by BirthControlMethods | November 6, 2011, 12:38 pm
  4. Great post. I just had paragard inserted and I knew the strings were softer than Mirena due to my prior ob/gyn aspirations in medical school (which have since turned to internal medicine residency/interested in endo) and actually feeling the device myself ex-utero. This further confirms it. BTW, I went to University of Kansas for undergraduate education….Rock Chalk! :)

    Posted by Jayme | January 6, 2012, 5:12 am
  5. Thanks for this info, and your blog in general!

    I have a copper IUD and so far it’s been fantastic in every way. Within the last year, however, it’s migrated low into my uterus, though it’s not actually sticking out of the cervix — this has been confirmed by two ultrasounds. My gynecologist seems really ambivalent about whether this might actually pose a problem or pregnancy risk. I’ve not gotten pregnant during the last year, despite this development, but it’s worrisome to me — and worrisome to not to be able to find anyone who seems to know what ought to be done in this situation. I’ve been seeking more concrete info on this for months to no avail. Do you know whether an IUD situated low in the uterus might pose a greater pregnancy risk? Would you recommend replacement if a patient came to you with this problem?

    Apologies for seeking free medical advice — I’m quite frustrated with how little I’ve been able to find on my own about this over the last year.

    Posted by ShortyGotLow | February 16, 2012, 10:23 pm
  6. I just had my Mirena IUD surgically removed as I neared the 5-year expiration date. I saw different OB-GYN for a few years due to insurance reasons – she was very sweet, but I think suffered from the syndrome of not having inserted many IUDs. My string was always short – difficult for me OR my doctor to find on a good day, impossible on others. At some point, the string retracted into my uterus (yep!) and I just had the fantastic opportunity of meeting my insurance deductible with the outpatient surgery to remove it (I also had to have a laparoscopy at the same time). I like the Mirena a LOT as an estrogen-free birth control option, and I’d consider getting another…but only with a lengthy string left intact! Thankfully, I’m back to my older, wiser, and experienced OB-GYN.

    Posted by Linz | February 20, 2012, 10:34 am
  7. i had my iud inserted lst yr march n mybf jst complaind recently dat he can fil it whn we hvn sex n im a bit warid coz i also hv some stomatch pains

    Posted by ambongile | April 17, 2012, 2:51 pm
    • okay soo, i just had my mirena removed (had it for about 4 mos) after mainy not pleasent side affects, so yeah like two days before my SO and i DTD and well (TMI?) he had two marks on the top from where i thought my mirena hit! strings were short so i didnt understand, well i went to the appointment to have it removed (totally diff doc than put it in) and he informs me the tip was STICKING OUT! so im faced with A) my mans member being unpleasently stabbed and B) the worry that i could maybe be pregger, thanks to the dang thing moving!!! no more IUD’s for this woman! paraguard i got preggo while it was in,

      Posted by Starla | September 22, 2012, 9:55 pm
  8. Yes he can feel the strings. My doctor told me that the string are like strings from a fishing rod she even let me feel them. They are not like cotton. My husband constantly got stabbed with it. He was afraid to have sex with me after a while. So yes he can feel it. If he does just tell your doc to shorten the strings.

    Posted by Amy | September 27, 2012, 3:31 pm
  9. I wanted the string short so that it wouldn’t interfere with using my mooncup – but now I am a little concerned about eventual removal as I can’t find the string at all. I also don’t have need of the mooncup as I don’t bleed. I wish it had been left longer.

    Posted by Rachel Prosser | November 4, 2012, 11:54 am
  10. What exactly do you mean by this?

    Long enough to curl a little way around your cervix.” you might want to ask them how many they have actually inserted before going ahead

    Posted by Karina | December 20, 2012, 12:53 pm
  11. Absolutely loved the humor!! Thank u for the info

    Posted by Anny | January 3, 2013, 8:12 am
  12. Hi there I have had a merina could fitted just over a week ago and I am really scared of having sex or inserting a tampon as if I can just about feel the string when I insert a finger any mans Willy is bigger than my middle finger wham erect so when a man inserts his Willy it will surly push the string up further the same with inserting a tampon to as then if the string is pushed up through having sex how am I going to be able to feel if it is still in place when the strings won’t be there please can u advise me

    Posted by tina | May 30, 2013, 12:43 pm
  13. anyone know how to heal these cuts on the wiener??? my mans hurting bad and bleeding from it ???? help!!!!

    Posted by alexandra | June 16, 2013, 1:19 pm
  14. this is so scary to read all these. i took an appointment to get a copper IUD. but the more i am reading the more scared i am getting., i am sure there are so many people who had no issues with it, but the one who voiced a concern, i feel so bad for them and cant imagine how i would feel if it happens to me. i always had period pain and always hated any type of abdominal pain. lets see if i change my mind or not. its a very informative post by the way. thank you

    Posted by scared | July 1, 2013, 6:23 am
  15. soo…..I had a mirena incerted about 2-3 months ago and a month after me and my man were having sex and he told me he can feel like maybe a little less than an inch of the string…and like my doctor said….I told him sometimes you can feel it and sometimes you cant……..sooo anyways now its about the 3 month mark from when I got the mirena….and just a couple days ago my man and I went out for a few drinks and we ended up going our own ways(sometimes we make eachother crazy…so instead of fighting and makeit worse we go in other directions and meet up at home)…but I ended up meeting up with a couple of old friends and going on an all night adventure….when I finally met up with my man he immeadiatly thought I was out cheating(obviously not….theres no way I would throw away 7 years for 1 night with some random)…….after all the bull**** we made up with some awesome make-up sex and during and after he sed it felt different……the strings were soo much longer than befor! and all over again….and I quote him ” you must have cheated on me… why would your IUD be like that”……….I don’t know what to do….all I have is my word…..I need some kind of explanation as to why this happens!!!! why is it that the first time I get a mirena its basically getting me in trouble….all over the length of strings…….why does this happen? whats up with the strings? does it mean its coming out or just in the wrong place?? HELP ME my relationship is hanging by a “STRING”

    Posted by shyla | July 5, 2013, 6:33 am
    • Because the cervix adjusts itself and does move around, carousing the cervix position to adjust. . Usually you can actually feel more of the iud string hanging down when youre on your period because the cervix/uterus moves down a little. Sorry he doesn’t trust you anymore =/

      Posted by Rai | October 1, 2013, 1:20 am
  16. I recently got the paragard and when me and my husband DTD he said he felt it and said it scraped him a little now I have to go back to my gyno to see what’s going on. And how long is the spotting suppose to last I mean geesh I’m wearing granny panties and wearing light day pads all day and night!

    Posted by wonderwoman | July 5, 2013, 7:40 pm
  17. Ok,so I have a question. I got my yesterday. The (mirena IUD) and it hurt. I’m just 16 and have no kids. But I’ve felt poking an I felt a like wire I barley put my finger in my Vagina, I’m worried is this normal? And what about sex can it hurt me or him if it’s low like that. Please help thanks!

    Posted by Hollie brook | October 1, 2013, 9:13 pm
  18. so i had my iud inserted yesterday, i too have no kids and im 21 years. it was hurting, still does and this is 36 hours later. i can feel my strings scratching me inside. i put my finger in and i could feel it. afraid my boyfriend is going to feel this, i immediately contacted the clinic where i had it done and they said i must come back in 3 days time so they can have it checked.

    Posted by zama | October 8, 2013, 9:17 am
  19. Well you might have an older copper IUD but my wifes copper one has a hard fishing line string and it makes the head of my penis numb from the rubbing on it. I don’t think cutting it is the answer because it would just make it more like a dagger. My thought is to get her a diaphragm to cover it. I wish the one we got had a soft string like you stated.

    Posted by Travis | January 31, 2014, 11:03 am
  20. My copper iud was inserted january 2014. It hurt during insetion. It hurt really bad for about 36 hrs afterwards. My 1st period was a lil crampier. Not bad. I feel lil cramps here and there when I’m not onmy period. So far so good. I haven’t got pregnant. Bf can’t feel it. The strings are soft. I often check them. The only thingis that the tip of my uterus feels harder. Always has. My ob checked it and said it was still in place. Is this normal?

    Posted by sinatra princess | May 25, 2014, 12:40 am
    • Hi Sinatra Princess,
      I just had my Mirena inserted at the beginning of this month (June). My experience is very much like yours- extreme discomfort during insertion and very uncomfortable for a couple days afterward. Haven’t had sex yet because I’m…nervous.
      I have a couple questions for you. When did you stop the intermittent spotting and sorry but when “fooling around”, not actual sex, did your bf notice the string and was he bothered?
      Thanks in advance for any answers you’re willing to share.

      Posted by egesue | June 25, 2014, 1:59 pm

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