Sexing it up

Okay, I will admit, I bought the 5 Love Languages for my Kindle app last night and started reading. I had already heard of the book and while I almost bought it when I learned of it, a few of the reviews assuring me that if I knew the basic premise and what the five love languages were, I didn’t need to spend my money. So I didn’t. But I found the idea fascinating and just learning about the idea of different “love languages” helped me realize why Mi.Vida doesn’t respond to my kisses and hugs in the way I would expect him to, and why he so rarely offers them in return.

I have barely started reading the book but I already know what my love language is and I have an idea what Mi.Vida’s might be. And the thing is, I already know the main way that Mi.Vida likes to show affection, the single act that brings us together no matter how far apart our recent circumstances have distanced us. And that is sex.

An easy fix you might assume. Just have more sex and enjoy a problem free marriage! There is a part of me that wonders if it really would be that simple, if only I could bring myself to have that much sex.

The thing is, and I’m embarrassed to say this “out loud,” but I don’t really enjoy sex that much. It’s not that I don’t like it, but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort, and it really doesn’t feel worth the consequences.

You see I had a pretty significant third degree tear when Isa was born. They did a fine job stitching it up but the resulting scar tissue causes significant discomfort during, and especially after, sex. I went to four months of pelvic floor therapy and while I saw a definite improvement in the mobility of that tissue, it still gets very gets really sore and requires daily attention if it’s not going to keep getting sore. After I have sex it hurst for days, which is one of the reasons our marathon sex sessions really bum me out; for ten days I’m literally so sore down there it hurts to sit or walk.

So suddenly the obvious, and relatively easy, relationship cure doesn’t seem so obvious or so easy. And the truth is, even before the tear, I didn’t love sex, at least not in the way I’ve been told some (most) of my friends love it. I do achieve orgasm–if I’m using a vibrator, a requirement my partner is happy to oblige–and I love how happy it makes Mi.Vida, how close we feel after we do it, but I just don’t enjoy it that much myself. Does that make me super weird? Humans are supposed to be sexual animals and I don’t feel sexual at all.

I’ve always attributed my decreased libido to depression and then, ironically, the anti-depressants I took to combat the depression. BCPs also lowered my libido. The truth is, I don’t think it was ever that high to begin with. I didn’t date anyone until I was 24 and I attribute that at least partly to an almost complete disinterest in experimenting sexually–I just wasn’t that interested in it. And I’ve always felt, and continue to feel like a huge freak about it.

So I feel stuck in this difficult place, where I know what I should be doing to help my relationship but I’m not sure I have the emotional, or physical, reserves to do it. And I feel like less of a woman because I don’t want to do what I need to do. It’s a hard place to be and I have NO IDEA how to fix the situation. Is there a book I can read? A specialist I can see? How can I increase my desire to have sex or the quality of my experience when I have sex, or even just a decrease in pain when I have sex? I really don’t know what to do, I just know that I have to do something.

I’d ask questions about sex but I know not everyone is comfortable detailing their own experiences, but if you have any suggestions for me I’d love a comment or personal email at esperanzasays {at} gmail {dot} com.

5 responses

  1. Tis is not an easy question! And you certainlly wouldn’t be the first woman to have this problem. It seems like you need to start with reducing your pain, altthough it sounds like you’ve tried that with little success. And maybe Mi.Vida sshowing more love in your language would put you in the mood a little more. I wonder if, um, there’s anything that would make him feel loved that’s not penetrative? (I know for my husband, the answer would be no, but I thought i’d put it out there). I don’t know what else to suggest, but I doo wish more people would be open about this stuff. All it can do is show you you’re not alone.

  2. The physical issues must be heartbreaking, as it is something you have zero control over. I wish I had some way to help with that.
    Although I don’t really have a way to help with the emotional aspect either, just my own experiences.

    I’ve only had two long term relationships, (10 years and just over 6,) but I feel it safe to say my vagina is very connected to my emotions. I have never understood make up sex, or angry sex, or whatever. If I’m mad, hurt, frustrated, my vagina is CLOSED. No entrance allowed. Sex with my ex was begrudging, awkward, annoying and as few and far between as I could make it. Especially towards the end.

    Within my relationship now I feel appreciated, and valued. That I don’t have the resentment, bitterness, the years old wounds that never healed, the lack of trust makes it much easier for me to be….readier? open to the suggestion? wiling, I guess for sex with my husband.

    When talking with my friends there is also a lot of grief over initiating, he doesn’t, she doesn’t, hurt feelings miscommunications and it affecting self esteem. My husband and I both have an inappropriate sense of humor, but what works for us to take the pressure off is to almost make it a joke. “Ummm, are we gonna bone or what?” is most often heard in the place of foreplay in our house. It’s to the point, funny, we laugh, and know that we’re both on the same page. Also, he is perpetually trying to get busy, which can be annoying, I have had to shout “Pretend I’m more than just a vagina for a minute!” but it is something I wouldn’t change for the world. I like knowing he wants to have sex with me, make up and cute clothes, or pjs and just worked out. It’s a good feeling.

    I have no idea if this is what you were looking for, but I thought, you asked, I’ll share.

  3. I’ve never had a baby so I can’t really comment on the post-baby issues, but I do feel compelled to let you know that you are not the only woman who is pretty ambivalent towards sex. And I have to say that I’ve always thought that I was the only woman on earth whose reaction to sex was at best meh and at worst ick. None of my friends ever talk about feeling this way and it’s so lonely to feel like you’re the only one. So thank you for putting something out there that’s hard to talk about. The thing I hate the most is when, post-sex, my partner says “I feel so close to you right now” and all I can think is that I’ve never felt farther away from anyone. There are a million other things that make me feel connected, but sex is not one of them.

  4. You’re not the first person to say they’re not really all that into it. Although I think if you took away the physical pain it would have to help a lot. I would probably bring it up with the GP first – they would know the best person to see. And in the meantime use more lube…? And keep reading and thinking about the other parts of the puzzle?

  5. Oh man, I haven’t commented in forever (so sorry!), but I just had to say that painful sex totally sucks. I haven’t given birth, but my endo was so incredibly painful (during and after sex) for so many years that it made sex almost impossible for months and months on end (leading up to my surgeries and then again afterward while I healed). I’m really sorry you’re dealing with that.
    I’ve been dealing with low libido for the last year and half also, but it’s pretty much just because I’m breastfeeding – so my hormones are all whacked. I will say – I think a low sex drive can be a definite indicator of unbalanced hormones (maybe your testosterone is a little low?). Have you thought about doing a saliva hormone profile? It wasn’t too pricey, for the amount of info you get. I did the one where you spit in a tube every other day for your entire cycle – it was really a great tool to figure out what my hormones were up to and led to me taking the natural progesterone. Just a thought, if you’re interested.

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