Question: Dear Luise: I have been married for a year and my husband and I are very much in love. I have always had a problem with sex, in that I find it extremely painful, even when I use a lubricant. I ‘clam up’ when trying to make love and in fact, sex has only ever been fully possible with my husband – with previous boyfriends i couldn’t manage it at all. When I discovered that i could ‘do it’ with my husband, it was great and in the beginning, we had an intense sexual relationship – the pain was a lot less with him and I enjoyed my new-found sexuality. However, recently I have found myself feeling less and less interested in sex, and sometimes it feels like a chore to be put up with rather than something to be enjoyed. I don’t think it’s because of the pain, I just feel awkward about it and would almost rather we never had sex at all. I still love my husband, but sometimes I can’t even bring myself to think about making love to him and it’s spoiling our relationship. What can I do? J.
Answer: Dear J.: In our society an issue like yours that sets a person aside from what is viewed as “normal” can be very destructive. In many cases it can be simple to correct, physically, but the stigma may linger. Since this is a problem of long-standing, you are probably going to need to seek professional help with it.
Before you do that, level with your husband regarding the extent of your returning emotional and physical discomfort and your concern for your relationship. Enlist his help in getting past whatever is in the way of the deep love you feel for each other.
Since there may be physical problems involved so your first stop needs to be someone in the medical field specializing in genecology. Minor surgery may have to be performed.
Beyond that I would also suggest counseling due to the fact that you have been at the effect of this problem for many years. I’m sure you would benefit from some help untangling the emotional damage it has brought to you.
A third step might be a follow-up therapist that deals exclusively with sexual issues…if that feels wise. There may be ways to approach your natural sexuality that you haven’t explored.
The most important part of your approach is solidarity with your husband regarding a mutual commitment to resolving this issue. Blessings, Luise