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Author Topic: Should I keep having intercouse?
evesforeva
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My partner enjoys intercourse, but I find it painful (more than discomfort, less than excruciating). We have tried all of your suggestions in the "From OW! to WOW! Demystifying Painful Intercourse" except for the orgasm one. While it is not my main question, I will digress on why because I think it contextualizes my question.

I am preorgasmic (anorgasmic?). I used to worry about it and try lots of things to achieve orgasm until I finally decided the stress wasn't worth it. I started focusing on expanding my view of pleasurable sex beyond just the "Tab A Slot B" type things that caused my friends to have orgasms. However, my lack of fantasies about non-traditional sexual activity (intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, manual stimulation, breast play) makes me think that I would only enjoy those sorts of things.

Back on my main topic, I am conflicted about whether I should continue having intercourse with my partner. I want to please him, but I also worry that my desire to please indicates some sort of unhealthy submission. There are less painful things that we could do, but I don't know if it's worth it because I don't get pleasure from those things either. I fear keeping it a secret will drive us apart, but I have the same fear about telling him. Is it healthier (physically, emotionally, relationally) for us to keep having intercourse or stop having intercourse?

Posts: 20 | From: Stanford, CA | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Let's maybe start with the most basic-basic here: what do you WANT to do?

In other words, for now, setting aside what you think X-choice or Y-choice could mean, or what kind of dynamic it could or couldn't set up, and certainly the important issue of feeling unable to feel you can be honest with your partner about what's really going on with you (which I do think we should talk about in time), if all of this was only up to you -- and not even your partner -- what would you want?

And maybe adding on to that: what kind of a sexual life, if any, do you want for yourself in the ideal? In other words, if the whole world was evesforeva-designed, and you got to create your own exactly-what-you-want sexual life, what would that look like?

[ 09-01-2012, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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evesforeva
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Things I want:
-health
-to please my partner
I feel like I don't yet know enough about what is healthy to make an educated decision about whether or not to stop having intercourse.

As for unrealistic sexual ideals, having an orgasm would definitely be up there. But I don't think that the painful intercourse has any affect on that.

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Heather
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I'm wondering if maybe you could get WAY more detailed.

Thing is, that's a really short list to me, and both of those things are sop vague, I kind of don't even know what they mean and entail for you.

I also wanted to get an idea of where you are in this. For instance, is pleasing a partner -- or this partner, in particular -- something you yourself really enjoy and get a lot of pleasure from?

I also didn't ask about unrealistic ideals -- just ideals, with whether they are realistic or not set aside.

Maybe you need more cues? If so, let's try this: a week in your ideal sexual life, where the only things that happen are the things you really want and enjoy and feel great about: what would it look like? What would and wouldn't be part of it?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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evesforeva
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Some concerns I have about this issue in more detail:
-If I have intercourse just to please my partner does that mean I have no self respect?
-Will the physical pain cause some sort of trauma over time?
-I think if I told my partner, it would make him feel guilty. I'm scared about a number of scenarios that could lead to which would mess up our relationship.
-If I don't tell my partner, is that keeping a secret from him? Poor communication is also unhealthy and could lead to a number of bad scenarios.

I get pleasure from pleasing my partner, yes. I love to see the smile on his face when we're having intercourse. But I also worry that some of his pleasure comes from thinking that it's a shared sexual experience, and if he knew I was in pain, he wouldn't enjoy it anymore.

I don't really think of my realistic goals as ideals. It's more like I want something incrementally better, so that I can chase after the next incrementally better thing. My current goal is to figure out the painful intercourse thing. My last goal was to talk to my partner about sexual history and STIs. I don't know what my next goal will be because it probably hinges on the painful intercourse thing.

My ideal sex week would have:
-orgasms, lots and lots of orgasms
-a threesome
-a high libido
-kinky sex
-vanilla sex
-everyone in the world would be sex positive
-open, honest discussions about sex
-all porn would be free, inclusive, and non-oppressive
-the full knowledge of all things pertaining to sex (sexual omniscience)

It wouldn't have:
-pain during intercourse
-guilt, shame, ignorance, fear
-no one in the world would have STIs

Things that aren't really important to the ideal week:
-number of sex partners
-frequency of intercourse

Sorry, having trouble with the ideal week thing because I'm not used to thinking of my sex life in terms of time. (It's an interesting idea.)

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Heather
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When you say "sex" in your list of things your ideal week in your sexual life would include, what kind or kinds of sex are we talking about?

Also, one person's kink is another person's vanilla, so what do you mean by that?

Right now, how far or close is a week in your sex life as it is to that ideal week (setting aside the fact that that's a lot to fit into a week, no one on earth is sexually omniscient, and I actually kind of doubt that in real life that'd be so awesome and wishing for bodies not to have illnesses of any kind is just something we could wish for, but that's just not how bodies work [Smile] ?

Too, it sounds like in that ideal list, you already have something you yourself are doing to stand in its way, but not openly and honestly communicating about sex with your partner.

So, maybe we can also start just right there, with how you could take one step towards things being more ideal, and I'd say for both of you. I think it's relatively safe to say that any sexual partner who cares about us isn't going to want to be engaging in sex with us when something is painful for us, nor have us play pretend pleasure that's really pain or discomfort. heck, I think even setting care aside and your question about self-respect, there's something about just basically respecting someone else here. In other words, we afford someone respect, and an understanding of their maturity as people when we're real about them with this stuff.

(In terms of if the physical pain will cause trauma over time, yes, if it's not pleasure-pain -- in other words, getting flogged causes pain but some people do that because they like how that feels -- it can. Emotionally, it tends to have an impact on people's sexuality. Physically, having painful intercourse over and over is associated with vaginismus, and with vaginal entry either staying painful or becoming more so over time.)

I know you have some things outstanding I didn't touch on here -- and chances are we might also want to talk about your previous posts at some point, since I'm betting the vulval issues you talked about in them play some part here, maybe even a big one -- but I'm trying to keep us at a manageable pace. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I realized I also forgot to ask something else, silly me.

Would this ideal week include having any kind of sex that didn't feel good to you or caused you pain?

In other words, I see you said "no pain with intercourse." But sometimes things will feel painful, uncomfortable, or just not good with any kind of sex. Ideally, would you be opting into anything you knew was painful for you (and again, not in a BDSM way) or not?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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evesforeva
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Here's how I view kinky sex vs vanilla sex: if it's sex, and society doesn't think of it as sex, then it's kinky sex. Sex is then loosely defined as whatever a person does to release sexual energy. The things society says are the "real" sex are the things I think of as just the vanilla part. Things that come to mind are intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, and manual stimulation. Kinky is everything else. Things that come to mind are kissing, bare-bottom spanking, cosplaying, and toothpick bridge building. (Not a joke, really toothpick bridge building comes to mind.) I don't seem to fantasize about anything kinky, but I figure there's room enough in this world for kinky people, vanilla people, and people who wouldn't conform to my discrete binary labeling system.

I guess when I was thinking of sexual ideals, I was thinking mostly of things I didn't have. If I expand to things that I'm grateful for in my sex life, I would say
-no STIs
-access to birth control
-a positive view of sex and sexuality that seems to have very little fear, guilt, shame, and ignorance compared to my peers
-feminist guys who value consent want to have sex with me

I was thinking about it some more, and I want to revise my idea of the ideal week. An ideal week would be one in which my comparison of the last day of the week to the first day of the week would show an improvement in my sexual health, my sexual education, and my knowledge of my body. I think of that as much better than a thousand orgasms and omniscience. With the revision, I've had many ideal weeks (e.g. the week I discovered this website). For the majority of the summer, I've put having an ideal sex week on the back-burner mostly as a way to triage my health concerns. Now I feel as if I have time to think about improving my sex life. I am definitely much closer to having better sex now than I was last month.

You make a good point about needing to talk to my partner about the painful intercourse. If I understand you correctly, I should respect his right to value my pleasure just as I am valuing his. I'm still very scared of the magnitude of unknowns associated, but now that I'm more confident in the health it will bring to our relationship (or if not our relationship then just to me personally). I feel as if I can forge ahead and overcome these fears. Thanks so much.

Googled vaginismus and that scared the frack out of me. I definitely don't want the pain to get worse o_O I'm not sure how I feel about a personal involvement in the BDSM community. I general lean away from it but it's just a lean. In any case, the painful intercourse is nothing like a pleasure-pain type thing. I think what you're getting at is that I should stop having intercourse.

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Heather
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Well, I'm trying not to dictate what you should do here and instead trying to help you get at what choices are in the best alignment with the kind of sexual life you want.

But based on the conversation so far, for sure, I'd say it seems pretty clear that not only having painful intercourse, but the dynamics around it and what you want -- not letting your partner in on that being what's happening, wanting to explore reaching orgasm, making your sexual health a priority and more -- would dictate that you can't keep doing this, or at least not this way.

I really like what you said and how you said it about valuing pleasure mutually with your partner. World of yes.

How about for right now, you just try and start with talking about this with him, and see where that takes you as far as a place for you both to get started?

One thing I'd also toss in there if it helps, is to recognize that when you talk about consent, real-deal consent means everyone involved knows what's really going on. So, for instance, if a partner is giving consent to having sex with you where they understand you aren't having pain, or if you do, you're going to say something, but that's not what's really happening, then the consent you're getting from THEM really isn't complete. So, I'd say just opening up about what's happening also much better supports the consent model you want, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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evesforeva
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Member # 57605

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Status update: I talked to him, and he said he wanted to stop intercourse. He was worried that I was feeling that way, but he was really understanding. Still continuing other stuff (though tis long-distance now). Your advice is the best! Thanks! ^_^
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