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Serious problems (sex) - don't know what to do anymore (long)

(19 Posts)
ameliarose2012 Mon 03-Feb-14 20:02:18

Ok, I'd like to start of by saying I love my DH very much - he's my best friend and I can't imagine my life without him. I'm very happy in my relationship. We have a gorgeous 19mo DD who he absolutely adores and is wonderful with. I really couldn't ask for a better partner to share my life with.

However..

Our sex life is severely lacking, and it's my fault. I think I have a fear of sex. We used to be quite active, but a few years into the relationship I developed mild anxiety whenever I think about it. I avoid it whenever possible. Since having DD (when I had a 2nd degree tears and LOTS of stitches!) it's just gotten worse. Now there's the added fun that sometimes sex is actually very painful.

We're down to about 3 times a month. I have to be REALLY horny to get over the anxiety.

It's not that I don't enjoy it - I do very much. My DH is a very attentive and caring lover. He knows exactly what to do and I always orgasm. I genuinely don't know what my problem is.

I'm worried that eventually his patience will run out, and he'll go find someone who makes him happy. He says not, but he can't live like this forever.

How can I fix my relationship? Please help me sad

Joysmum Mon 03-Feb-14 20:04:22

Have you told him all of this?

ameliarose2012 Mon 03-Feb-14 20:11:09

Yes I have, and he's very understanding. But he can't fix me xxx

IHaveSeenMyHat Mon 03-Feb-14 20:14:36

I has a third degree tear and found it impossible to have sex due to the pain. It wasn't so much the injury but the fact I hadn't had sex in such a long time - probably about 16 months altogether. Everything had basically shrunk and it was like being a virgin again, but worse.

Do you think it's something like that, or something physiological (due to the tear) or something psychological (like vaginismus, due to anxiety)?

ameliarose2012 Mon 03-Feb-14 20:20:20

The pain is physical. It feels like the opening of my vagina where my stitches were, but the sex was poor ages before then tbh. We're supposed to be trying for baby number 2 atm, but it'll never happen at this rate! xxx

FreelanceMama Mon 03-Feb-14 20:23:22

You poor love. 3 times a month sounds pretty good given your situation and I know you were anxious before you DD arrived but lots of people's sex lives go haywire for a year or two after their baby arrives. My hormones and libido were rubbish for at least the first year and a half after DS was born.

Can I ask if you are on the pill? I went on the prog only pill after DS was born and had zero interest in sex until I came off it. My friend had the same issue with the coil.

From what I've read, anxiety about sex is a vicious cycle. Have you tried reading anything about anxiety around sex? I think Pamela Stephenson (correct name?), Billy Connoly's wife, has written about this.

OhSoSirius Mon 03-Feb-14 20:47:55

Do you think some of your anxiety might not simply be the idea of sex, but the idea you are somehow lacking or hurting your relationship? Three times a month is more than many couples, honestly. It doesn't necessarily mean your relationship it hurting, especially as you describe your husband as very understanding.

Perhaps you could see your doctor to rule out any physical reasons for pain during sex? It may help your anxiety to rule anything out that would cause pain, or treat anything that might exist.

Also, when I've gone some weeks or months without sex (long distance relationship, so this was usual) it could be difficult and painful, even though dh was very attentive, and foreplay was in abundance. It would often feel like 'the first time'. This may not help you immediately, but if you are able to have sex more frequently, it may becomes easier and comfortable again. Also make sure dh is very gentle, very slow, lets you take the reigns so to speak and be in control so you can do what feels comfortable and avoid anything that hurts. Remember it's always, ALWAYS ok to stop in the middle if you don't want to continue!

But until that point, maybe it would help your anxiety to discuss with dp taking sex off the table for a bit? Not permanently, but maybe it won't be on your mind so much if it isn't a 'possibility' so to speak for the immediate future. Then spend this time being intimate with dh in anxiety-free ways. Hand holding, cuddling, massage, good old fashioned kissing. You might find the idea of sex becomes more appealing as you stop focusing on it, stop thinking of it as a possibility, and focus all your attention on other forms of intimacy with your husband.

There's nothing wrong with you, op, and nothing to 'fix'.

OhSoSirius Mon 03-Feb-14 20:51:46

Also just noticed you say you're trying for baby number two. Is it possibly your anxiety about sex could be tied up with a fear of giving birth/remembered trauma from baby number one? Are you a bit frightened of getting pregnant because it will mean childbirth and the possibility of tearing and stitches again? Again, I would recommend a break from sex/trying for a while, maybe explore your feelings about giving birth again.

ameliarose2012 Mon 03-Feb-14 21:29:27

My husband is understanding, but he's very unhappy. He has quite a high sex drive, and struggles with the fact that I don't. He is already very gentle, and caring. He always asks me if I'm ok, and on the odd occasion I've had to say stop in the middle of things, he's always supportive and reassuring. Honestly there is nothing more he could do to help the situation!

I'm not on any kind of contraceptive (epileptic so the hormonal ones don't work for me anyway). It took us 3 years to conceive DD so we decided to 'leave things to nature' for any more children.

I do like the idea of taking sex out of the equation. We lack intimacy in our relationship at the moment, as I am scared to cuddle/ kiss etc as I always worry that DH will want more. He never, ever pressures me in any way, but I hate to disappoint him again and again. He never forces the issue, but I know he always hopes.

Maybe if we both knew that sex wasn't on the agenda I'd be able to relax more and we'd be able to do all that stuff. I think I'm gonna suggest it tonight. Maybe try it for a month and see how we get on xxx

FreelanceMama Mon 03-Feb-14 22:57:11

That's a very good idea. I call it a "cuddle with ulterior motives" when DP asks for a cuddle but really has other intentions! I think if you explain that increasing physical intimacy through being more tactile but both knowing sex is not on the cards will help.

You could also try "date nights" - takeaway, DVD, cuddling on the sofa and yes, getting hot and sweaty afterwards. It then takes the pressure off "school nights". Good luck!

ameliarose2012 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:45:38

Thanks for your kind replies. I'm going to talk to DH when he gets in from work tonight. I'm poorly today so hoping that will gain me extra sympathy cuddles too! xxx

ameliarose2012 Tue 04-Feb-14 22:27:19

Well we chatted a bit tonight. DH was totally supportive (of course!) so we're going to do 2 weeks with no sex at all and see how it goes. It probably won't hurt that we're away the weekend after that too smile Positive thoughts from now on xxx

MrsAMerrick Wed 05-Feb-14 05:39:43

If you really think that the pain you are feeling is physical rather than psychological, please go to your GP and ask for a gynae referral.

I had severe pain after birth of dc1, so much so that we only managed to have sex twice in first year post birth. The pain was excruciating. I saw a gynae who told me it was psychological and that I needed counselling. I insisted on a second opinion and saw another gynae who was brilliant, immediately diagnosed scarring from poorly healed episiotomy, and arranged surgery. A few weeks after the surgery everything was fine, sex was painfree and rather enjoyable again!

ameliarose2012 Wed 05-Feb-14 16:18:31

Oh wow! I did go see my GP, but she basically said 'if its your stitches then there's nothing that can be done'. Don't know if it makes a difference that mine was a tear, not an episiotomy? Possibly harder to rectify? xxx

MrsAMerrick Wed 05-Feb-14 17:44:35

amelia, my GP was quite dismissive which is why it was a year before the gynae referral - I kept being fobbed off with "it will heal in time" . I just wish I'd insisted sooner.

I dont know whether a tear would make any difference, in my case it turned out that the episiotomy had not healed properly and had formed scar tissue which was pulling that area of my vagina "tight" so that it couldn't stretch to accommodate anything (sorry if this is tmi!). I had it cut and restitched, plus an injection into the scar tisue to break it down. It wasn't pleasant but it worked, and I have never had any problens since.

Do please ask to see a gynae, they might be able to suggest something that woukd help. My dc1 is now in 6th form, so things might have changed and improved, there might be a simple solution.

I was very clear about exactly where the pain was, which is why I knew the 1st gynae was wrong when he said it was psychological. you know your body better than anyone else, so do please go back and ask for a referral.

Good luck!

Andy1964 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:45:13

Shot in the dark from a guy,
How would you both get on for a while not having penetrative sex?

SolidGoldBrass Wed 05-Feb-14 18:53:03

I would definitely advise going back to the GP and asking for a referral. SOme GPs are disgracefully unhelpful when it comes to post-motherhood sex problems.

It sounds as though you have a loving H who is not pestering you and also that you want to want sex again IYSWIM so it's definitely worth checking out all the physical issues.

ameliarose2012 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:16:31

I definitely will go back to the GP now. I just believed her tbh. I'm one of those people who thinks doctors know what they're talking about! I'm pretty sure its my scar, and it feels like its tearing again sometimes during penetration.

Andy1964 we're trying that at the minute. 2 weeks without for the first instance. Even though it's only 24 hours I really do feel like its made a difference already.

I feel a lot more relaxed, and we have already been cuddling and kissing a lot today (though I have been off work ill, so that might have helped!).

ameliarose2012 Sun 09-Feb-14 16:14:42

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