I don’t think there could be a more insensitive comment to say to someone struggling with intercourse.
I’ve been a pelvic therapist for over 4 years and I cannot count how many times a woman has come in to my office and told me this is what their physician or mom or friend or even partner told them. Another comment was “You’re lucky to have your partner”. That is a shameful remark to say to a woman suffering with painful intercourse, as if she should just feel lucky that her partner hasn’t left her yet.
But for thousands of woman this is the reality. They go from doctor to doctor trying to understand why sex hurts (if they’re even able to tolerate penetration at all). They’ve taken every pill, cream, and vaginal suppository they were prescribed, and yes, even had a glass of wine and nothing has worked. Numbing the pain or mind doesn’t help. They start feeling like it is their fault or feel some sort of shame or guilt for not being able to have intercourse anymore or in some cases even consummate their marriage. This is a debilitating condition and effects the women’s self-esteem, confidence, and ultimately can destroy their marriage or relationship. I’ve even had women tell me they gave permission to their partner to have sex with someone else since they could not satisfy them. They are so lost and tired of fighting their body and it consumes them.
Then comes the lack of desire. It usually doesn’t start out that way—they want to and try to have sex but after several failed attempts they’re mind turns against them. They start thinking maybe it is in their head (it’s not!) but who wants to have sex when it hurts?! The body is trying to protect itself. The mind and body are eventually going to stop desiring it no matter how much they love or are attracted to their partner! And of course the partner can’t help but internalize it and start to feel they’re not attractive anymore. Do you see the cycle?
I’ve seen it for years and all I can say is that there truly is hope. I was once there and I had all those thoughts too. I enjoyed my sexuality and I felt a piece of me had died. The shaming begins: What did I do? Why did this start happening? Last week I was fine and this week I cannot even think about having sex. Will this destroy my relationship?
But that’s not my story anymore. I was able to get the help I needed through physical therapy and you can too. It’s a safe place you can go, divulge all your secrets, even the ones you don’t tell your best girl friend (she doesn’t get it—her and her partner have sex 3 times a day!) The thoughts you have and the questions can be shared and answered by a professional and the healing can begin. The hope of having a normal sex life again is there!