Dear Dan: I’m a straight 24-year-old female, and I just recently lost my virginity. I’ve had sex only three times (not with a monogamous partner) and have found each time to be incredibly painful — even when the guy’s just using his fingers. I’ve always been extremely sensitive. In the past, I’ve had guys run their hands over my jeans, and even that hurts. I brought this up when I went to my first ob-gyn appointment, and my doctor assured me that everything was normal down there. It’s driving me nuts because I feel like I’m missing out on a big part of my life. I know a lot of this may be psychological, but I wanted to know if I am just supposed to continue having sex to the point where it becomes pleasurable?
Dear TT: “Although vaginal intercourse hurts some women the first time or two that they have sex, it’s usually not ‘incredibly painful,’” says Dr. Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University, a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, and the author of numerous books. “And women rarely experience pain when it’s just fingers (unless the person is being really rough or has sharp fingernails), and especially not when someone is just running hands over jeans.”
So something is up down there, TT, and you did the right thing by seeing a doc. “It’s fantastic that she went to an ob-gyn so soon after starting to have sex,” says Herbenick. “Many women are too shy or nervous, even though it’s recommended for all sexually active women. Unfortunately, many doctors have had little to no training in diagnosing or treating vulvar pain, something that groups like the National Vulvodynia Association (nva.org) have been working to change.”
So it’s great that you went to a doctor, but you’re going to have to see another doctor, TT, one who knows something about vulvar pain. Herbenick recommends that you find someone who “lives and breathes the vulva and vagina in their medical practice,” and there are organizations that can help you find those livers and breathers. “TT can find such a healthcare provider through the NVA or the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (issvd.org),” says Herbenick. “I don’t know where she lives, but there are excellent vulvovaginal health clinics at the University of Iowa and the University of Michigan. The U.S. is really far behind other countries in the establishment of such clinics, but we’re getting there. I dream of the day when every major U.S. city has one — and smaller places, too!”
For more info on vulvar and vaginal pain — and other sexual health and pleasure issues — get your hands on a copy of Herbenick’s latest book, Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered—For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex. And you can follow her on Twitter @DebbyHerbenick.
Dear Dan: I’m 45, female, and married to a smart, funny, intelligent 50-year-old man. We’ve been together nine years, married seven. The sex was good for the first year and then dropped off to nothing. He says, “I’ve had plenty of sex in my life. I’m just not interested anymore.” During my first marriage, the sex was so bad that I thought, “If I could find a man who loved to cuddle, I could go the rest of my life without sex.” Perfectly describes husband No. 2! Except now I feel more sexual than I ever have! I’ve discussed this with my husband endlessly and have mentioned open marriage, but nothing ever comes of it. I’m not an instigator, although I have tried a few times and have been rejected. Yes, he has had his testosterone checked. It’s normal. Not even going to a therapist helped. What do I do? He’s a great guy, he loves me and my grown kids unconditionally, but we are more friends/ roommates than husband and wife. We have a safe, comfortable life, but I’m too young to go without that for the rest of my life!
—Careful What You Wish For
Dear CWYWF: He’s done with sex, and you’re not — so you get to fuck other people, and he doesn’t get to say anything about it. Take a lover, CWYWF, take two. There are tons of men out there in sexless marriages that they don’t want to end because they love their wives or they love their kids or they can’t be bothered or all of the above. Get your ass online and find one or two. If your husband is against an open marriage in principle — if he insists that you remain “monogamous” to him — tell him what he wants to hear and fuck other men regardless.
There’s an upside to herpes, courtesy of science! At savagelovecast.com.