For over a decade after losing my virginity at twenty, I suffered from painful sex (dyspareunia). Although my body would lie there, feeling like I was getting stabbed with a knife while being rubbed raw with sandpaper and having acid poured on my wounds, the rest of me would go running for the hills every time I saw a penis coming my way. I literally dissociated from my body during all those years of painful sex that led to the disintegration of my marriage.
My poor husband suffered too. The dude adored me, so he felt like a total schmuck because he knew how much sex hurt me (you couldn’t miss the signs – the tears, the yelps, the grimaces, the avoidance of anything as innocent as a hug because it might lead to more pain.) At first, the diagnosis was vulvar vestibulitis, inflammation of the glands in the “vestibule” (opening) of the vagina. But finally, my body got to the point where it just flat out shut down. You couldn’t get into my body if you wanted to because the muscles in the vagina had had enough. They just locked out anybody who wanted to come in – lovers, gynecologists, even tampons.
My vagina became a DO NOT ENTER zone.
This went on for over ten years, and the whole time, I was PISSED.
I mean everyone else seemed to be having rocking, sexy, hot, intimate, multi-orgasmic blissful sex.
But not me. I would have settled for feeling nothing. Nothing would have been bliss compared to the hell I experienced from my husband’s penis. I would have been willing to lie there, feeling nothing, so my husband could get off and we could have some sort of sex life. Nothing sex would have been awesome. Great sex felt like more than I could ever hope to achieve.
At first, I didn’t even know this was abnormal. I figured every woman just suffered through intercourse as some sort of female sacrifice to get a man. But then, as I went to medical school and became an OB/GYN physician, I learned that most women do not experience pain with sex, although 15 percent of women will have painful sex at some point in their life, and 20 million women are currently suffering from this health condition.
I Could Have More?
For a long time, I didn’t even know I could ever have more. Then, even after I knew it wasn’t normal, I continued to suffer in silence.
During this time, nobody knew except my husband. I had had other lovers, but I never shared with them how much I suffered when they thrusted into me. I trusted my husband with my private truth, and he begged me to get help, but I was too embarrassed to tell even my doctor, who always seemed too busy to really listen.
I Felt Like A Hypocrite
The worst part was that I was an OB/GYN physician. I spent all day promoting women’s health, teaching people about sexual health, and delivering babies so others could have great sex lives and healthy, happy vaginas. I felt like a f*cking hypocrite.
I remember, right after my husband and I finally got divorced (after I finally saw a doctor and she told me there was nothing she could do for me except cut out a piece of my vagina), I had just delivered the baby of a good friend. I remember thinking, “That will never be me. I will never find true love, have great sex, give birth to a baby, or feel sexual, feminine, and whole. I’m going to be an old maid delivering other women’s babies. I’ll never have that experience myself, and nobody will ever love me again.” I felt horribly, desperately alone, like damaged goods.