Another Hump Day, another set of awesome questions!
Losing my virginity was somewhat traumatic for me. I wasn’t ready and gave into peer pressure. It was really painful and every time I’ve attempted since then has been painful. My partners get frustrated, which makes me frustrated, because I feel like I’m not pleasing or “woman enough.” I’m afraid this will affect my future relationships and my ability to have children. I’ve talked to my doctor, tried using lube, talked to a therapist and tried adding more foreplay and I haven’t had much success. This is extremely frustrating as I want to have a healthy sex life, but don’t know where to start.
My first instinct was to compile a list of helpful things to try — a yoga-for-better-sex class, a sexual healing self-help book, a prescription for more masturbation or a different therapist. Then I realized that just puts more to-dos on you. You don’t have to do anything. It’s clear to me you’ve exhausted many avenues in the quest for a “healthier” sex life. And trying all these things in an attempt to problem-solve and then have them fail can compound more frustration and make all seem hopeless.
You’ve described that peer pressure influenced first intercourse, and I’m wondering if some of that is affecting you now. What compels you to seek out an active sex life that is pleasing to partners? And what links that to being “healthy” or “womanly enough” to you? Part of your reaction may be our cultural or societal pressure to have a perfect sex life. I realize the hypocrisy, coming from a sex columnist who studies sexuality and works as a sex educator. But if I were to pen an autobiography it would be called, “How My Sex-Saturated Life Sucked the Sex Out of My Life.” While this is clearly important to you and causing immense distress, remember that perfect sex (especially penetrative sex) is not the key component of a happy, healthy, fulfilled life.
Okay here’s the thing … I get that “communication is key,” but do you have any more concrete tips for how to communicate?
For sure. Communication is definitely dished out as the token piece of advice for having an awesomely amazing orgasm and squirting-filled sex life. But that doesn’t mean much to folks who, for whatever reason, don’t feel like they’re in a place to share their deepest, darkest desires with the naked person next to them. You may have already settled into a routine sexual script with a person and feel trapped in it. You may be with a person who you know, through what they’ve shared, who would not be into the same things as you. Or, you may have tried to put yourself out there before and gotten shut down. All legit reasons for feeling tongue-tied in the bedroom.
There are also some tools out there if you are struggling with where to start. Go home and google “Mojo Upgrade Interactive Sex Questionnaire for Couples.” It’s the best quiz I’ve found on the web because you can take it separately or one after the other on the same computer, and it will only display the items you’ve both identified as appealing, leaving who-likes-what totally anonymous. You can also stop by the Sex Out Loud office and pick up some copies of the “Yes/No/Maybe Kinky List” to look over with your sex mate. Jaclyn Friedman’s book “What You Really Really Want” is another great read with plenty of exercises you can do solo or together. Turn talking into a fun game!
I get so many UTIs it’s ridiculous, but I swear I make a point to pee. Every. Time. What should I do?
Ouchies. I feel your pain. Props to you for making sure to be up on your tinkle duties, but there may be more going on up in that pee tube than you think. According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 5 percent of women who get a urinary tract infection will go on to experience them repeatedly over their lifetime. There are a number of reasons for this:
For one, some treated UTIs are actually “unresolved.” This could either be because the medication wasn’t taken consistently — hey, I get it, I got an IUD ‘cause I couldn’t remember to take the birth control pill, remember? — or because the prescribed treatment didn’t match the correct bacteria. Next time you finish a round of antibiotics for a UTI, ask a doctor for a post-treatment culture to check if the infection is completely cleared up.
Second possibility: you might just be unlucky. There are a number of medical factors that put a person at high risk for recurring UTIs, including family history, pelvic anatomy, trouble emptying the bladder fully or having a UTI at an early age.
Third, some sexual health experts say UTI symptoms in some folks may actually be due to latex allergy, or at least latex sensitivity. If you use condoms, try switching over to a nonlatex variety and see what happens. Lifestyle’s SKYN, Trojan’s Supra and Durex’s Avanti Bare are some popular latex-free options.
Lastly, consider getting a free STI test at UHS if you haven’t already. Sometimes painful peeing is a symptom of more than a UTI. A study on urinary symptoms in the Journal of Adolescent Health back in 2007 concluded that young women with recurring UTI symptoms should also be tested for STIs.
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