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I think he's going to leave me because I'm "loose"

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Jenny asks:

I am 23 years old, and my husband and I have had a few arguments lately, about how he thinks I've been cheating on him. All is because my vagina is loose. We can have sex, say on a Saturday, and not have sex until say Wednesday, and my vagina is still loose. Or it can go for almost a month and I am still loose, barely back to the "tight" feeling. I was never like that before either, this has been happening for almost a year now. I was told that my birth control method (the ortho evra patch) could be causing something, since all of the estrogen it produces. If I changed my birth control, would it help it stop? I am not sure what else to do, I have never cheated on my husband, but if this keeps doing this, he might leave me because of it, and he doesn't believe me because of how I feel, and I can feel a difference when we have sex also. Is there anything I can do, tests or anything? Please let me know, I'm afraid and scared.

Heather Corinna replies:

Frankly, if your first thought is to try and change your body -- rather than to change the dynamic of this relationship or get out of it -- something is horribly amiss.

Your husband is clearly ignorant when it comes to women's bodies. A penis -- be it his or anyone else's -- doesn't have the capacity to alter the shape or size of the vagina. Your vagina is a muscle: when you're tense, it tightens, when you're relaxed, it loosens. So, if when having sex with him, you are -- as we'd hope you are -- sexually aroused and relaxed, you are not going to feel "tight." Nor, by the way, are you going to feel "loose." Now, when you two first got together, you may have felt tighter to him because sex was new with the two of you and he was a new partner: that tends to make us all more nervous or anxious, which often impacts how aroused and relaxed we get. It may also be that lately he's not as erect as he's used to, which can change how sex feels to him. It might be that for a while there, you still had a partial hymen that has now worn away: some hymen left around the opening of the vagina can cause it to feel tighter during vaginal intercourse or manual sex. As well, at different times of our cycle, we tend to be more or less lubricated, and that often results in sex feeling differently during those different times. It could also be that given the dynamic of your relationship sounds pretty lousy, during sex you're not getting so excited that you're really working that muscle, clamping down because it feels good to be having sex together. Lastly, childbirth can cause some changes there, though they tend to be temporary, rather than permanent, as can age, though you're not even close to the age where you'd see those changes.

Your patch isn't likely to have a big effect here, especially since estrogen-based methods tend to cause more vaginal dryness, which will often result in you and partners feeling more friction, not less. But by all means, if -- hopefully for better reasons than this -- you want to try a different method of birth control, knock yourself out. You don't need medical tests or treatment, because it's not likely there is anything physically wrong with you.

We have a LOT of questions and answers based in this kind of misunderstanding of the female anatomy. Here are a few for you to look at, as well as two articles which may help better inform you both:

Looking at that actual information should change the mind of someone who cares about you and respects you, but who just wasn't very well informed. But if you are married to someone who would leave you because his own ignorance has him convinced you're cheating, and who is unwilling to educate himself and invest trust in you, you're married to...well, a jerk. Same goes if you're with someone who is putting down your body or making false accusations either because they aren't sexually satisfied, because they feel insecure about themselves, or because they're looking for a way to keep you nervous, insecure and under their control.

And again, to be frank, I'm not going to advise anyone to waste their lives on jerks here. You say you're not sure what else to do besides trying to change the function of your anatomy, but one option you do have is making clear to your husband how he's been uninformed, making clear that you are not cheating, and then making clear that you're just not going to deal with this kind of treatment anymore. If you two are having trust issues in your relationship, the bedroom isn't the place to work them out: I'd suggest the kitchen table or a counselor's office. If he's unwilling to work through those issues in a healthy way, then this marriage isn't going anywhere and it's not likely to be healthy or beneficial for you. And if that's the case, what I'd advise you to do is to consider dissolving this relationship and holding out for a healthier one where your love and your words are given more weight than what the inside of of vagina feels like.

You end this post by saying you're afraid and scared, so I also want you to really take stock of how healthy this relationship is overall, not just about this issue. This is a common checklist for a person to get an idea of if their relationship is abusive or healthy, or if there are elements in it which are becoming abusive.

If in reading that list, you feel like some or a lot of those things are familiar to you, then the best advice I can give you is to either get out of this relationship, or to start to make some preparations towards moving out of it -- or just being ready to at any given time -- in the future. We should feel and be safe with our partners and in our relationships, even at times we're facing conflicts or challenges. If and when we don't, it's a good idea to take a look at those feelings and that relationship and find out if those feelings aren't based in the fact that we aren't safe, and that we need to make moves towards assuring our safety.

written 29 Mar 2008 . updated 31 Jan 2014

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