Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Been together a year, never had sex(135 Posts)
I'm a regular but have name changed though I think I'll still be recognised.
Background so as not to drip feed: I'm 24 and have been with my absolutely brilliant bf (32) for a year. We live together, he's my best friend, doting male role model to my toddler dd. I really can't speak more highly if him. The problem is me.
My daughter is 2.7. I had a horrendous birth including: 3a tear with failed stitching in theatre, MROP, PPH, rectocele, full restitch at 3months postnatal including rectocele repair. All aged 21. My dd's father left us when she was 2 weeks old and has seen her just 5 times in her life.
Since all these birth problems I have been absolutely phobic of sex. It literally terrifies me. I have tried it three times before I met my bf just to "get on with it" but each time the bloke was so rough I bled. My fear is of re tearing.
I had my restitch privately by a fab surgeon and have been checked umpteen times by her, colleagues, GPs, women's physio, and just for an Mot a sexual health doctor who have all insisted I'm anatomically fine. It's in my head
I've been to a psychosexual counsellor, tried dilators, massage I just can't process the thought of full intercourse.
My boyfriend is amazing. He doesn't push me or probe me at all. We regularly do everything else including oral and fingers which I love it's the thought of intercourse that I fear.
Due to my PPh at birth I had subsequent period problems too so have both a coil and the pill together .
I really want to get on with it. We love each other like crazy and I'm so grateful for him putting up with me. I'm just scared. Please help.
God that was long,
I know you would. I just don't see what it does (not saying it doesn't do anything, but I would have thought the website would want to say what it does) and I know that there are scams out there that work on people being desperate, like you are.
Tell me about the dilators you have tried. How did you get on with them? Do you not feel they are worth carrying on with? I ask because, as I said before, I built up my confidence with putting things inside me (I wish I had known about dilators then!)
What did you use to insert? I can do the 2nd size but have to start with number 1 first and build up. I can then move onto a small part of the third at which point I feel too "full" . He'd be mortified to know I'm saying this but bf isn't huge, he's probably slightly smaller than average so I've always kind of thought "thank God for that". I long for another baby
Ummm, I hesitate to say what I used.
But put it this way, when I could insert a small deodorant bottle I knew I had gone far enough.
I am not sure about sizes - my dh is the only man I have been with, though obviously I have seen others in porn etc - but I reckon he is quite biggish. For me now, the trouble isn't that he can't get in, but I clench up, even when I don't mean to, and we rarely seem to have what I think of as proper thrusting sex. But maybe that is only in porn? I don't really know.
So, when you put in no.3 that feels too full? Does that mean you can't wiggle it around? Can you wiggle no. 1 around? Do you try leaving it in, say reading something for a while, and seeing if you can relax and loosen up a bit? Sorry if all this is impossible or irrelevant. I am not an expert on sorting this problem, I just know what I would try.
Oh I meant to say also, that longing for another baby is what is going to help you overcome this problem. It did for me, anyway.
Do you have any scarring or rough patches of skin around the tear site? Perineal massage with bio oil etc. could be helpful and will get you used to stretching the skin, a vibrator on the (outside) area will stimulate blood flow and help to heal any nerve damage too . I assume that it's actually the fear of the skin ripping that is causing the tensing up?
It may also be useful to read up on female physiology and what actually happens to the vagina during sex - there are also creams, like the delay ones for men, with a tiny amount of lidocaine in them to lightly numb the area, possibly that would be enough to get you used to having your partner inside you with the knowledge that it wouldn't hurt at all, as long as he is extremely gentle and doesn't move at all, you can be on top of him and control the depth of penetration, if you can fit the tip of his penis inside you, you can have full penetrative sex, it's just a matter of him letting you take things at your pace.
You're only a year older than my daughter and I feel for you so much, thankfully your boyfriend sounds wonderful and very much the right man for the job, so to speak.
Grr I posted but it hasnt appeared so will retype a summarised version!
Dear MN diary,
Mum has dd for the afternoon so after a lovely lunch on the river with the bf, we came home to some us time. He was able to insert two fingers (albeit one his pinky!) and thrust them both in and out. A) I wasnt scared, b) I enjoyed it and orgasmed and c) it didnt hurt.
Baby step I know but mountainous achievement pour moi
Would it be inappropriate to say woohoo!
(I do feel a bit like a voyeur though )
Wahoo! I was so happy I shed a stupid little tear after! Bf just scooped me into a ginormous bear hug. I'm sure I'm still months away from full sex but it's the boost I need. Decided not to buy VagiWave or attempt dilators again as it feels too mechanical and clinical. Just going to take my time au natural and work together as a couple.
Yay! So you can have vaginal orgasms? Im so jealous!
I don't think I can alone, need a lot of clitoral help
Another one adding my support and encouragement - you are doing brilliantly! What you went through during/post birth sounds absolutely horrific. And it sounds like your partner is amazing. With your determination and his patience and support you will be able to get over this, together. It sounds as though you have already taken the first steps and that's huge - little tiny bit by little tiny bit it will get easier as your confidence grows...
I have had similar issues albeit without any obvious 'reason'. Ended up being referred to a gynaecologist who confirmed that nothing was anatomically wrong but my muscles were going into spasm when attempting intercourse. I was referred for physio(!) which involved pelvic floor exercises working up to clenching on a probe to try to teach me what my muscles felt like clenched and how to relax them. Partially successful but I think the key to it all has been having a hugely patient and sympathetic partner who has never put me under pressure and slowly, slowly we have worked up to being able to have penetrative sex - initially just being able to put his little finger inside felt like a huge achievement.
We now have a wonderful 15mo DD which for a long time I never would have believed was possible for us.
I am so sorry to hear of other people's similar experiences - I know how frustrating it is to not be able to do something which 'should' be so natural and right when you are with someone you love - and such feelings of sadness and inadequacy especially when you feel your partner is missing out as well as you.
Wishing you all the best OP - I'm sure you will get there - lots of luck...
Just wanted to add my congratulations. I had 2nd deg complex tearing and a year on with my wonderful, considerate husband, I feel like I'm almost back to normal. I've had everything on my side for recovery but I still get moments of fear because of pressure in the 'wrong' place (not necessarily wrong, just if I feel nervous iyswim). God knows how I'd have been of I'd had anyone being rough with me in the middle.
Lots of admiration for you and what you've already achieved in terms of new partner and resuming life.
So overwhelmed by the mumsnet cyberspace support I'm getting thank you! .
Apart from my mum and bf no one in rl knows all this. It's quite cathartic writing it all down. Mentally preparing myself to go back to work tomorrow. Sigh
This thread makes a lovely antidote to the "men neeeeeed sex" bollox that is often spouted on here - good men are patient and compassionate and give whatever time is needed.
Well done!!! I am so happy for you.
While I had the '10 steps' I did kind of mix and match as the main thing is to have confidence and believe it will happen (which after years of it not happening is v v difficult). My DH as I said above was my first partner in 18 years - sounds dreadful when I just worked that out, I think I had stopped counting at 10. Although he didn't know what vaginismus was (and I didn't tell him til after) he was v sympathetic, didn't through a strop and leave through our sexual failures and I think it helped me know he was 'the one'. This is making me cry now!
I've got my book out and thought I'd post a summary in case any of it helps you or anyone else - as I said, I don't think I would have got anywhere just with a set of dilators without the magic book and hearing from other women on line. This cost me £99 so here's my summary for free!
1. Learning about vaginismus, vaginas and pelvic floors.
First thing is that it is very variable but your vagina is OK, just the muscles around it are involuntary spasm. It can vary from woman to woman - so some women can't get anything in their vagina and some can manage a full gynae exam or partially insert a penis (so bollocks to the GP that told you it wasn't vaginismus). Your muscles and sexual responses have a memory - this can include stuff your mum told you about sex, bad experiences with a partner, birth trauma. Somewhere along the line your pelvic floor muscles have a memory that cuts you off in arousal, preventing you from progressing and them learning that inserting a penis is OK.
In the workbook it suggests you write down how it affects you relationships, positive things you will get from overcoming it and to list other problems in your life you have overcome - just to show you can do it (writing things down sounds corny but I found this really helped). It suggests you start by trying some relaxation techniques and focus on relaxing muscles.
2. Mind over matter
This is about looking at your relationships, dating and sexual history, sex education as a child, medical problems such as after childbirth or mentrual problems. If you spoke to someone about problems what was their reaction - did it help or just make you frightened or feel defective? The idea is to see if subconsciously your beliefs are adding to your fear and your pelvic floor is acting on your fears.
I found this one of the most helpful parts of the book although I wrote most of it in tears.
It made me think about what I had learnt about sex - on one page of the workbook I've written 'Sex is painful, sex is embarrassing, sex is never to be talked about, sex is mechanical and sexual problems are your fault - all of these thoughts are WRONG'. And I realised that my first 2 partners were abusive. I had honestly no idea that I thought any of this.
In a slightly American and corny way it then suggests you make declarations putting the past behind you, giving your self permission to be a sexual woman. Sounds weird now, but at the time it was brilliant.
Basically this is when you get a mirror out and have a look at your ladybits. And if you haven't done it before, masturbate You can have a feel about your vagina but don't stress about getting inside it.
The book had lots of details about exactly what each bit does and pictures of all shapes and sizes of bits. For me what was really useful was a description of what happens during arousal (they didn't teach this at medical school!) I found it really helpful to learn that your vagina changes shape during arousal - it lubricates in less than 30 seconds, forms a funnel shape, grows larger, stretches longer, the cervix pulls up out of the way. Having failed to insert a tampon, this really helped me to know that during sex IT WAS DIFFERENT. For a while I repeated 'your vagina changes shape in 30 s' in my head just before we tried to get in - I'm sure DH thought I was thinking about him!
Then lots of description of why sex might be painful at the beginning - all of which boiled down to the fact that your partner should take it slow and make sure you are really turned on (and if he doesn't you should dump him.... OK I added that bit
4. Pelvic floor muscles
This is boot camp for your pelvic floor. You are supposed to do 3 exercises:
tighten hard for 3 secs and relax for 3 secs
Flex and relax as quickly as possible like flickering
Slowly squeeze and pull up your pelvic floor as far as possible and then slowly relax as far as possible.
You do this for 4 weeks (!)
Week 1: 25 of each a day
Week 2: 50 of each a day
Week 3: 75 of each a day
Week 4: 100 of each a day
For me this was another important step as you gain a lot of control of your muscles which enables you to consciously relax them when you are trying to inserts dilators (or penises) later on.
5. First insertion
The book suggests a Q-tip or a finger (I found I had no problem until dilator 2 but everyone will be different). Relax, do some pelvic floor exercises, use loads of lube. Stand with one foot on the bed, find the entrance to your vagina, do more squeeze and release and then slowly insert, doing more squeeze and release every time you get stuck. If it isn't happening, congratulate yourself on how far you did get and try again tomorrow.
6. Graduated dilators
Basically you work your way through the dilator set (confession - I never did the biggest one cos it looked freaky!)
You use the same procedure as for step 5 but find the position most comfortable for you - could be squatting or lying on the bed sort of sitting up (I liked this because I am lazy)
So get into position, lube up your chosen dilator, relax, do some pelvic floor exercises, move the dilator around your lips and vaginal entrance and then start inserting. If you get stuck, don't force it, relax, do some more pelvic floor exercises and see if you can move forward. If you can't don't worry, try again tomorrow. I found it helped to sort of estimate how far I'd got in so I could see I was a centimetre further than the previous day IYSWIM. You'll probably find you have a 'band' you get stuck at which is your pelvic floor muscles and when you get past these you can go all the way in.
Once you are in practice removing and inserting the dilator MANY times, both slowly and rapidly. If you want it to be a bit more like sex, throw in some pelvic thrusts. If you are stuck on one level, try leaving the dilator you can do in for longer periods of time - ie leave it in for an hour while you lie in bed watching TV.
When you feel ready to go up a size, practice with the one you know you can do rather than just going straight up. Don't go up a size unless you have been successful with the smaller one at least twice on 2 separate days.
On the website there were women who had gone through the whole set in a week (which I found v inspiring but unachievable) to those who had spent a year over it. I nearly got stuck as it is fucking painful so you have to keep remembering your success, why you want to do it and how you have done much more than you previously thought possible. This is absolutely the bit where if I had just had a bag of dilators and no advice or support, I would have given up.
7. Involve your partner
This is the good bit! (Having not bothered to tell my partner I had a problem, we didn't do this in textbook fashion - with hindsight I wish I had as it would have been a lot easier. However I did get to do lots of foreplay )
You and your partner focus on pleasuring each other (with no attempts to have penis in vagina sex) and discovering each others anatomy. If you have had psychosexual counselling, you'll know that they suggest starting with things like hand massage before moving onto more obviously sexual areas.
Get your partner involved in dilator insertion - this is the bit I didn't do and I think would have been really helpful so sex wasn't so much of a leap. Oh well, we finally figured it out. They encourage you to then start doing some foreplay and sexual touching with the dilator inside, to help your muscles relearn that this is actually pleasurable.
9. Transition to sex
Again, I didn't do this bit and wish I had. They suggest you go for you on top as it gives you the most control (On the website, I found loads of women preferred missionary as it was closer to the position they had used when dilating). Get on top with the largest dilator in then slip it out and replace with his penis. If it isn't working, keep swapping between dilator and penis and remember to flex and release your pelvic floor if you get stuck. As someone suggested above, they also suggest it will be easier if you are aroused or just after an orgasm. And practice - they suggest a minimum of 4-5 times a week! The more practice the better!
10. Sex, lots of it!
Basically you keep practising. They suggest starting with just you moving, then just him moving, then moving together, then going for different positions. And now you aren't really doing a 10 step programme because you are all loved up and haven't a problem.
I hope some of this mammoth post is helpful to someone. I mixed and matched what I felt comfortable with but have to confess, a year on, it would all have been quicker if I'd followed the book religiously. Obviously the book is longer but I've tried to post what I found most useful and I'd never read this stuff elsewhere - it really was, here's some dilators, get on with it - this didn't work but the 10 steps (well, my version) did.
Good luck everyone and get doing those pelvic floor exercises
Blimey Kundry!! What an epic post I'm still at work so not best apt to read about vag anatomy now but shall read in front of corrie tonight!
Hi all. Nothing to report Had such a mental week at work, all this sex stuff has been the last thing on my mind when I've come home each night. Got my therapy appointment on the 23rd, feeling quite worried about it but at least I have my small climbed hurdle to report. Looking forward to a takeaway tonight Hope you're all well
Hi I haven't read all the replies but I think you possibly need some PTSD therapy to deal with your traumatic birth.
I had an awful birth (but no damage to my lady parts) and I have just had EMDR for this and it has changed my life. This may be of help to you, if you deal with the trauma then maybe you won't be so shut off to sex. Sex can mean babies and that may be what is causing you to have so much trouble.
I highly recommend it.
Well, today I managed PIV. Sort of. He was in me just 2mins max and we pretty much didn't move during that time but he did enter me fully.
Great thread to read and now I know what PIV stands for
Amazing that you have been able to keep moving this forward for you both as a couple. I wish you well in your future together
Another poster reading without advice but so glad t hear you are able to move forward..
Thanks I started crying that I could only tolerate 2mins but bf told me love is more important than sex and that we have the rest of our lives to take our time which was lovely and reassuring to hear. Think will try little and often to build my confidence. But now I have an update for the therapist!
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.