How do you get your husband to initiate sex post-vaginismus?
September 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #8992
Hi ladies. For so many years of our relationship which included 5 years of our marriage, every time that my husband initiated sex and we tried to have intercourse, it caused excruciating pain and would end with me in tears. Several times, we would enjoy intimacy together through wearing costumes and oral sex but I always had to initiate this after a certain point in our relationship. We discussed this and he said he enjoyed this intimacy but never wanted to initiate as he thought I would feel pressured to have intercourse, it would cause pain, and I would end up in tears. So, he was very happy when I initiated but even after our conversation, he still did not initiate at all. Fast forward to post-procedure, post-vaginismus (i.e. no longer needing to even dilate), and now being able to make love and enjoy pain-free intercourse, and the initiating thing is still an issue for me. I initiate intimacy/sex all of the time and, once initiated, he really, really enjoys this but I really wish that he would initiate it. We’ve talked about this and he says that he can’t just re-train his brain to start something that he turned off for so many years of our relationship/marriage due to fear of hurting me, tears, and the disaster that followed. But, he says that he loves the whole package now (i.e. oral as well as full intercourse). He’s tried a little since our conversations to initiate more but he still rather have me start things which gets frustrating to always have to be the one to do this. Not sure what to do and how to make him initiate more?September 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm #11838VashallaParticipant
Thank you for posting this question, Heather. This is a big problem for my boyfriend and I as well. I’ve never been very good at initiating intimacy of any kind, and prefer for the guy to initiate for the most part. Relationships are give and take, so I certainly have no problem initiating once in a while, but I also don’t want to always have to initiate in order for anything to happen. It kinda makes me feel like he doesn’t desire me, which I know isn’t true. But, feelings have a way of being illogical, and that’s what it makes me feel. I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s thoughts as well.September 6, 2013 at 10:30 am #11847
Thanks Vashalla. Hope you are well and like you said, hope we receive some replies on this question. :):):)September 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm #11850Nicole AParticipant
Hi there. This brings to mind something I read somewhere (magazine? book?) that really stuck with me… This couple had developed a way to discreetly signal to each other when one of them wanted to have sex, but without pressuring the other person to have it right at that moment. So they had a marble (any trinket will work), and if, for example, the husband wanted to have sex he would place the marble on his wife’s nightstand. They had an agreement that when the marble is placed, they will have sex within the next 24 hours – and it’s up to the person who receives the marble (wife) to determine when she wants to have it. This allowed the husband to “tell” his wife he wanted to be intimate with her, without having any fear of rejection from her. This also allowed the wife some control, because she then determined when they would have sex… so she did not feel pressured to perform at that moment. I know this won’t work for everyone, but I thought I would share the idea =)September 9, 2013 at 12:28 am #11854Dr. PacikParticipant
This is a great suggestion. Another thought is when one of the partners is still working late into the night, past bedtime. Sometimes it is nice to just hug before going to sleep and we can be intimate without intercourse. A small bell on each nightstand signals to the other “come to bed, I need hugs”.September 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm #11855lotus1000Participant
Nicole, that’s a great suggestion!
Heather, I agree with Dr. Pacik. The brain CAN be retrained – but don’t expect it to occur overnight! Rather, approach this in a gradual way, and have fun with it! My initial suggestion is, perhaps, you could have a discussion with him about this – whenever he wants to be physically affectionate with you, he could do so but there is no pressure for it to lead to sex. In fact, maybe whenever he initiates physical intimacy, you could purposely take intercourse out of the picture initially. For example, it could be laying in bed, resting together, hugging, cuddling, even oral sex if you both are comfortable with it. As he gets more and more comfortable just initiating physical affection, I suspect that down the road, this will also lead to his initiating intercourse as well! The most important thing is that this should occur on his time, when he is comfortable….it seems that although he rationally knows that things have changed, his emotions or the way his brain associates his initiating sex still have to catch up! That way, his brain will make a new association between “When I initiate THIS, then she feels THIS.” Good luck!September 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm #11860
These are EXCELLENT tips!!!! I definitely intend to try them all out. Thank you so, so much. :):):):)September 12, 2013 at 9:58 am #11874rachelParticipant
It’s so weird because I have been seeing this issue alot lateley on a few vaginismus forums. I too struggle with this issue, and your right, it is very frustrating. I got a little angry with him at one point because he promised me that everything would be okay if I had the botox. Everything was going okay post procedure when I initiated and then he began to initiate, but after being told that he was infertile himself-he retreated.
I guess I can understand but unless I initiate he won’t come near me. He says he feels like there is a switch in his brain that he cannot unswitch. For so long he felt rejected by me, so he feels that his brain continues to tell him that it is not okay to initiate sex-he actually gets very anxious about initiating!
I truly think we are now hitting on another big issue that needs to be addressed with vaginismus. I thought it was just us, but obviously not. I wonder if anything can be developed for guys overcoming years of rejection and for reintroducing intimacy post vaginismus? I guess all of us that are now hitting this new stage are really the guinea pigs to finding the answer!
This was never a problem years back because women never really got to a point where they could be cured of vaginismus.September 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm #11886Darcy@CSCSNHParticipant
This is a great question and a concern that is not just confined to couples who have been dealing w/ vaginismus. Many couples, who for a variety of reasons have let intimacy take a hiatus in their relationships, often struggle with some level of communication breakdown which leads to hurt feelings and sensitivities around initiation of sex or intimacy. Fear of rejection and feelings of inadequacy are paramount to many who have experienced traumatic episodes with intimacy.
Women who have had pain and trauma with sex, certainly have understandable reasons to hesitate when seeking intimacy. However, for the partners of those women, their own emotional experiences contribute to their receptivity to sex, and certainly towards their initiating it. Many men in my sexuality counseling practice tell me they avoid asking for sex because it brings up so many bad feelings. Fear of rejection being the number one reason. One man explained it “when we tried sex and it was painful for her, I felt bad, like it was my fault.” He expressed feelings of self-doubt around his sexual prowess, and regret, feeling she couldn’t possibly love him after he caused her so much torture. Another clients boyfriend explained that he felt that he just couldn’t go through the stress of being turned down again. He expressed anger, frustration and resentment. And yet another husband didn’t want to make his wife “feel pressured into it.”
The common theme between all these men is the difficulty in bridging the experiences their wives and girlfriends had in the past and finding a new road to intimacy now. You may notice I keep using the term “intimacy” instead of sex. There is a reason for that. People have as many definitions for sex as there are personalities. Some define it as just penis-in-vagina; others include oral sex (mouth on genitals); and still more definitions broaden to include all things sexual: foreplay, kissing, touching, fondling, toys, etc. This is important because when women are asking for their partner to “initiate sex” you both really have to have a working definition of what you are expecting.
Once you clarify what you are expecting, then there has to be the discussion about your desire to have him start asking again. The caveat here is that you also have to talk about ways you can still say no. Just because you are physically ready to begin having penis-in-vagina sex again post procedure, doesn’t mean you will always be in the mood if he asks. Another client of mine explained that “we have sex every time she asks, but when I ask, she only says yes if she feels like it, so I have to guess what days she is likely to be ready” Again, these are difficult conversations to have but being able to have meaningful discussions with your partner are important. I liked the “marble” idea that Nicole mentioned, and I’ve had couples use this type of trigger to ask for sex “without asking.” One couple used a candy cane on the pillow to indicate she would be willing to give oral sex to him at this choosing during the week. He would just have to put it on her pillow when he was ready.
Again, there is not going to be a magic way to get past this juncture of your relationship, but beginning the discussions and taking an honest look at the barriers will be a great start.September 18, 2013 at 9:27 am #11897
Thank you for the excellent replies Rachel and Darcy. It helps more than you know! :):):)October 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm #12011VashallaParticipant
These are all really interesting ideas! I mentioned the marble idea to my boyfriend the other day, and he was interested in trying it out. We’ll have to go with something other than a marble though, since the cats would just see them as playthings and we’d never get each other’s messages 😛
Putting something on each other’s pillows could work though…
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