Post # 1
After I had my baby a year ago, I had vaginismus and had to go to physical therapy to be able to have sex at all. We weren’t even able to achieve penetration until 6 months after the birth. Now, we think our sex is about 90% back to the way it used to be. It’s uncomfortable for me for the first two minutes or so, but by the end it feels as great as ever. I have to ‘warm up’ with a dilator before we begin so we can never be spontaneous.
In order for things to get better than they are, I have to really step it up with using the dilator several times a week and doing kegels and core exercises more often. When I talked to my physical therapist about that, I felt really reluctant to actually do any of the things she was suggesting. It just seemed like so much work for something I don’t care that much about. I was really, really incredibly unhappy about not being able to have sex when we couldn’t do it at all. And now, I’m not thrilled with our sex life, but it suffices. If my husband feels the same way, is it ok to blow off exercises and stuff that could improve our sex life just because I don’t care enough about it? Of course, another contributing factor is fatigue from being up at night with the baby and not having much energy for sex anyway. Maybe things will change in the future; maybe I’ll feel like it’s worth it to do more to make sex better when I’m not so tired and I’m not breastfeeding anymore and stuff like that. This isn’t necessarily a permanent thing. Do you think there’s anything wrong with settling for a mediocre sex life when there are things you could do to improve it?
Post # 2
marjojo: I’m so sorry you’re going through this 🙁
I don’t have any personal experience with this, but it sounds like a lot of what you’re feeling is due to the general frustration and fatigue. I would think that, in time, you’d regret giving up on the PT stuff.
Have you talked about this with your husband?
Post # 3
marjojo: I think it’s important that you don’t fall into a path leading to a sexless marriage. There are so many factors (breastfeeding, fatigue) that lead to low sex drive, that it’s completely understandable that you feel this way.
I think you guys should focus on outercourse for a while so you can remember how amazing intimacy feels. Oral, kissing, mutual masturbation, etc. Not to pry, but did your therapist tell you a reason for the vaginismus and if you can eventually get off the dilators?
Post # 4
marjojo: If it is genuinely uncomfortable for you, don’t do it or jump right into it. However, as long as improving this is within your physical power AND you can comfortably do it, I think you should.
If not to get some sense of normalcy back for yourself, than to help continue satisfying your husband’s (and yours!) sexual needs and keep that aspect of your relationship strong.
You both are understanding and dealing with this now given the circumstance. Longterm, though, I could see one person becoming too complacent with the “mediocrity” and the other person becoming resentful as a result.
Post # 5
marjojo: I am so sorry you are going through this. I’ve been in a similar position as you due to some surgeries I had to have. The pt, dilators and all of that. it wasn’t exactly the same but pretty close. What I can say is that it does get better. There was nothing I hated more or felt more resentful about. It was stupid I had to go through it and did sex really matter that much anyway? I mean, the therapy was painful, the dilators unpleasant and the whole demoralizing. I would have given up my left hand to have skipped it all. But, it is (I think) worth it and it does get better.
Post # 6
marjojo: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do everything you can to make sex great. Your husband will probably try and make you feel better by not pressuring you to make any changes. The worst thing you could do is head towards the path of a sexless marriage.
I’m on the opposite side of this coin and can say that it is hard being happy when you know your partner isn’t doing everything in their power to make things better. It’s hurtful and it will cause problems.
I’m sorry you’re going through this but the effort it takes to make sex wonderful is worth every bit of strength/time. I really wish you luck in this struggle!
Post # 7
I think some of the people responding here have gotten the idea that things are worse than they are. We have satisfying sex about once a week now. We used to do it about twice a week, and that would be my preferred sex schedule, if I felt more rested and the baby allowed. My husband’s sex drive is a little lower than mine, if anything. Our sex sessions are longer than most people’s, I think, so we might end up spending just as many minutes making love as some couples who have sex three times a week. Quickies have never been our style, and since I have to ‘warm up,’ and the first part is uncomfortable, it feels like it’s not worth it if we don’t do it for a while. We did take it slow for the months when intercourse was not possible, and we did do a lot of ‘outercourse’ and oral.
I don’t feel like we’re on a path toward a sexless marriage. When sex was completely impossible for us because of my condition, I was MISERABLE and I went to many many doctor’s and therapist’s appointments to make sure it could happen again. It just seems like now that I’m 90% cured, the returns on my efforts to improve further are diminishing, and it seems not so much worth it when things are as good as they are. Again, my husband is not unhappy with the current status quo. We’ve talked about it and he doesn’t have much energy for sex either.
I guess a more philosophical version of my question is: is it ok not to make sex a priority? How much energy is it necessary to devote to having OMG THE BEST SEX LIFE EVER in order to have a good marriage? Is there such a thing as ‘good enough’ sex, just as there is ‘good enough’ housekeeping and ‘good enough’ parenting? By that I mean, is there a point past which trying to make things better is more about perfectionism or over-romanticizing things than about expressing love and satisfying needs?
I do see this as a temporary stage. I hope there will be a time in our future when we will both have more time and energy to devote to sex, and I don’t anticipate a lot of trouble hopping back on the horse. Also, my vaginismus might improve when I stop breastfeeding entirely or if I get pregnant again, in addition to my putting in more effort with the physical therapy if necessary. These things wax and wane over a lifetime, and now just seems like a not-so-sexy time for us.
Post # 8
I think, personally, that right now it is totally fine to “maintain” rather than going to a lot of effort to get back that extra ten percent. When you’re done breastfeeding, you will have hormonal changes that will almost certainly help. *And* I think it’s totally normal for your sex life to change from what it used to be — even without the extra challenges you’ve had since your baby was born, it’s typical for your sexual relationship to be different post-baby.
Post # 9
marjojo: Do you and your DH consider your current sex life mediocre? Are you both satisfied? that is the most important thing. Have a conversation with your DH about the frequency of sex and ask him how many times a week he would like to have sex – and how many times a week he NEEDS to have sex. Compare his answer against yours (specifically the NEED number). If his number is higher than yours, you may have to make the effort to have sex more than once a week. This might work even better if you both write your answers – and then talk about them.
Important thing is to make sure you are both getting your needs met.
Post # 10
I think that it’s okay to prioritize other things over an amazing sex life. People do it all the time. I think you have to be careful to maintina a good sexual relationship, and not let things slip into the unsatisfying zone for either of you. But you sex life doesn’t have to be stellar all the time. Maybe talk to your husband and see what he thinks and give it a few months and the readdress the situation. I think that, at some point, you’ll want to get back that 10%. Maybe it will happen naturally when you stop breast feeding or get preggers again. Or maybe you will end up having to go through it all with PT and dilaters at some point in the future. But I don’t think that it absolutely has to be right now. Just be careful not to start slipping backwards.
Post # 11
I think communication is key in your situation. As a fellow mother, I can relate and understand that fatigue is definitely enough to keep the libido at bay. It’s hard to think about anything other than sleep when you are awake for hours at a time at night.
Honestly, it sounds like you have good sex when you do it. I think that speaks volumes about your sex life. I would encourage you to keep up with the exercises- keels are truly a pain but have a lot of benefits.
There is so much pressure to have this rediculous my amazing sex life. There is nothing wrong with people wanting that in a relationship. I also think it is just as reasonable to go through periods where that is less of a priority, particularly when you have young children and can’t be spontaneous.
As for intimacy, it is more than just sex. keep communicating and making an effort to understand one another’s needs. Touch, hug, kiss, and support one another. Express gratitude. And so long as you are open about sex with one another, you will be fine.
If it helps we do it twice a week and I think it’s outstanding. Lol.