Painful sex, vulvodynia/vestibulitis... Help please!

Painfull intercourse, pain with sexual activity, and pain that prevents sex or makes sex difficult.
HereIam
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Painful sex, vulvodynia/vestibulitis... Help please!

Postby HereIam » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:40 pm

Hi! This is my first post here, and I hope I posted in the correct board/subforum. Get ready for a LOOONG post...but I hope you read it. :)

My husband and I have been married for 2+ years. For the past 2 years, I have continually experienced significantly painful intercourse. I have discussed this with my husband, have tried simple "fixes" (use lots of lube, woman-on-top, etc.), and have discussed it with my OB/GYN. I believe based on what she said and on personal experience that I have a form of vulvodynia/vestibulitis. I am posting here because it has been a long, discouraging road and I would like to seek some help from some women/couples who have handled this specific problem.

Let me give you some background information:
My husband and I were not intimate before we got married. I have no history of sexual abuse. We were *relatively* educated about what to expect and read a lot of good literature together before our honeymoon. We were together 5 years before we got married. Before marriage, we both struggled with a LOT of lust, masturbation, porn issues, etc. These were sinful problems we tried to manage, before we got married--but having those problems led us to believe we would both have a strong and healthy sex drive post-marriage! I also knew to expect some pain during first-time sex. I will admit I had a great deal of anxiety over anticipating this pain, which certainly didn't help, but I do not think is the main contributor to the pain that I have since been experiencing.
(I'll note here, as well, that when I began to use tampons, I experienced significant difficulties with even being able to insert a tampon. I remember getting a plastic one half-way in, and it was "stuck" - I was unable to move it in or out and I spent half an hour crying in a bathroom stall before I fixed the situation. Not my most glamorous moment, but I mention it so you can understand the "extent" of my problem!)
On our honeymoon, it took us a couple days before we even got all the way there to having sex. The first and subsequent PIV encounters were very painful--I especially remember that it was painful the whole time during the first attempt, and I cried after because it hurt so bad.

Over the next several months, sex continued to be painful. I honestly, truly assumed it was still "growing pains" and my body would adjust to it eventually.
I will point out here as well that we both experienced a severe lack of sex drive from what we expected--especially me, though. I basically had to be "persuaded" before I even felt remotely like having sex. My husband was (and is) kind, patient, gentle, and in no way did anything to make me have an aversion to sex with him.

We certainly did have good times, and I still was able to climax during most (70%?) of our sessions. But the pain has continued over 2 years now, and any initial "adjustment" period has long passed. I realized that I probably was not as honest with my husband as I should have been. I endured the pain for longer than I realized I had. I kept thinking it would go away on its own, or that if we found the right position, the right lube, etc. etc., it would stop. But the truth is, it's painful every time we have sex, for at least the first several minutes...so basically at least 50% of the time. It is a sharp, somewhat burning, 5/10 pain, and it usually keeps my body from feeling any sort of pleasure during the event because the tightness and painfulness overrides it.
My OBGYN gave me some lidocaine ointment to use before sex. It helps, minimally, but I confess it's no fun to use and disrupts the flow of our encounters, etc. I don't mind using it, but I'm hoping there's a more longlasting fix out there. My doctor also told me, basically, that I may never enjoy PIV sex--that it may just be more "for him" and that I should enjoy the closeness of it and find other ways to be intimate that I can enjoy as well.

To be honest, this was devastating to hear. We're fine with oral sex, but I don't want it to be the only thing I physically enjoy with my husband. I confess there are probably some mental hangups with me here, but I had always imagined "real" sex to be PIV sex. That was the kind of sex I imagined having with my husband, that I fantasized about. I've struggled with guilt, shame--wondering what is wrong with me. I've found myself being angry with God--He made sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage, right? so why is it so difficult for me? Not only is there the problem of physical pain, but coupled with that now comes lack of desire, lack of energy, and attempting to enjoy or climax during sex becomes a huge mental effort.
Worst of all, I just feel like my marriage is now lacking something--missing something. I do, generally, still enjoy sexy times with my husband. It is no where near the frequency or passionate level I expected from before marriage (butI know many of us have unrealistic expectations before marriage.). But, I worry I am missing out on the closeness that comes with a happy sex life. If I hear other couples talk about what a gift sex is, how it's such a relief in their marriage, how close they feel, etc., I feel like crying inside. I cannot in all honesty say that our sex life is awesome, and that saddens me. I'll hear women talk about "Man, sex. WOO!" and I wonder what's wrong with me and why I don't feel the same way. I know developing your physical relationship takes effort, too...but y'all. It's been two years, and I'd just like it to feel a little bit effortless by now.

I'm losing my train of thought here, so let me close with several specific questions I hope fellow readers here can contribute to:

-Are my expectations unrealistic? DO women usually feel kind of "meh" about PIV sex? Or do you usually enjoy it just as much as any other sex-activity?

-I saw very sparse research seems to think oral hormonal birth control could effect this. I have nexplanon implant--not oral, but still hormonal. Any thoughts?

-There are a few invasive/surgical treatments for vestibulitis; they excise the oversensitive tissue or kill it with lasers (lol). Has anyone here done these treatments? what were your results? I'm beginning to seriously consider it.

-There are also milder interventions for painful sex. Specifically, "avoid irritants" (perfumes, strong soaps, synthetic fabric underwear, douches, etc.) and "diet" (low oxalate). I'm already starting to make both these steps in my life--but has anyone experienced a 100% turnaround from these easy fixes? It seems too good to be true.

-Again-are my expectations unrealistic? Are these types of challenges normal? Does everyone feel a little saddened when they think their sex life could be a little better? I waver between thinking I must accept that this is how my body will always act and we must learn to work with it, or that this is NOT normal and that I should never accept sub-par sex in a good, Christian marriage.

P.S. Let me mention a few other things:
1. Yes, we use lube. every time. LOTS OF IT. :)

2. I don't think this is vaginismus; my OBGYN made no mention of it, and I am now able to use tampons without incident. When I get an exam I don't immediately "clamp down"; it is just with handling the size of a penis.

3. We do, unfortunately, have a "feast or fasting" habit. This is another problem for another post, but essentially we often go a week or so without having sex, and then may have sex (PIV/oral) 1-3 times in a 48 hour period.

4. Why is there only a "male testosterone" thread in the "Challenges and difficulties" forum? It seems many other topics could be posted there (including this one)!
Sorry for the long post and hoping someone here has some insight. :)

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George B.
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Re: Painful sex, vulvodynia/vestibulitis... Help please!

Postby George B. » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:15 pm

Hi, HereIAm and welcome to TMB!

So sorry you're having these struggles!

First of all, know that you're not alone. My DW had very similar struggles the first three years of our marriage, so we completely understand! And just to give some hope--things are really great for us PIV-wise, 20 years later!

Couple of quick questions to clarify things--when you saw your ob/gyn, she did t say anything about you physically, such as the condition of your hymen, possible skin tags, vaginal narrowness, vulvodynia, etc? (Speaking of vulvodynia/vestibulitis, I would add that this issue usually had other symptoms such as outer vaginal pain from being merely touched by anything, such as fingers. You haven't mentioned that as a symptom so I wonder if you don't have that. But you ob/gyn would know for sure).

Anyway, feel free to ask questions--we're happy to help from our experience and perspective. Others here no doubt can offer helpful advice as well. Praying for the future success and happiness of your marriage bed!
On sex: "Neither men nor women will be asked to throw away the weapon they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them."-C.S. Lewis

HereIam
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:26 pm
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Re: Painful sex, vulvodynia/vestibulitis... Help please!

Postby HereIam » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:43 pm

As far as what my OBGYN said, I honestly don't remember word for word, but I know she mentioned something like "over sensitive vestibule", and also something about sensitive bartholin's glands, maybe? I do not have pain to light touch on the more exterior labia, by any means. It's only upon entry, maybe once we get an inch deeper or so, but it's definitely pretty significant once we get to that point. I plan on seeing OBGYN again and pressing for more details. I know that the exam was always normal and she never mentioned any physical abnormalities, etc.

What did you and your wife do to deal with it?

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George B.
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Re: Painful sex, vulvodynia/vestibulitis... Help please!

Postby George B. » Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:27 am

So do you feel pain when other, smaller things are inserted in your vagina, such as a tampon or your husband's fingers? I think that you mentioned something about tampons being previously painful, but not so much now, is that correct?

Have you considered using dilators to slowly get used to having something larger in your vagina?

As for me and my wife, I'm pretty sure our problem wasn't the same as yours, as she never mentioned anything about pain or sensitivity in general at that location in her vagina. She had no problem with fingers being inserted, for example. Our issue was more one of a physical size discrepancy, and it was solved by her giving birth vaginally and stretching out enough to accommodate me comfortably after that point. I thought maybe you and your husband might have the same issue.
On sex: "Neither men nor women will be asked to throw away the weapon they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them."-C.S. Lewis


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