MSP Sex Q&A: When an Itching, Burning Vagina Gets in the Way of Sex

Question:
Hi, I’m 20 years old. I’ve been married for over 1 year now. I’m having a big problem with my sex life. I do not have a sex life because I just don’t feel like I want to have sex at all and I dont like it when my husband touches me anywhere down there. It feels weird and repulsive. Sometimes my vagina itches and burns without sex and when I do try to have sex my vagina burns a lot and we have to stop. And also I’m so scared to go to the doctor and even to talk about it. This has been going on for about 7 months now and I dont know what to do. Please help me so that I can regain my sex life again. Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

Answer:
Thank you for trusting me with your worries and fears. I am so sorry to hear that your vagina hurts – with or without sex. I understand that you are scared to go to the doctor; however I would like to encourage you to get up the courage and go. If it will make you feel more comfortable, please ask a close friend or a family member (such as your mom or an aunt or cousin) to go with you to your appointment with a doctor or nurse. Sometimes women have allergic reactions (like to laundry soap or a bath gel, or even to a medication they might be taking) and this can cause vaginal pain - even when you are not having sex. Other times women have pain conditions such as vulvodynia that cause pain – again, even when you are not having sex.

I also hope that you feel comfortable to tell your husband that you do not want to have sex or to be touched on your genitals, if you do not want to do that. You do not have to have sex if you don’t want to. You don’t have to do anything sexual that you don’t want to. That is okay to feel and it is also okay to say to your husband.

If you would like to reconnect sexually with your husband, you might find a few books to be useful including For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Sexual Pleasure and For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy. I also think you might benefit from connecting with The National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) where you can learn more about vaginal pain and perhaps get connected to a support group of other women who are experiecing pain problems (about 10 – 15% of women experience chronic vaginal pain). You might also be able to talk to someone at the NVA about how to find a doctor or nurse in your area who specializes in helping women who experience vaginal pain. You are not alone in your experience and there is definitely reason to feel hopeful that you can enjoy your sexuality again.

Thank you again for writing to me.

If you have a question about sex, love, dating, relationships, pleasure, orgasm, tips, techniques, positions or sex terms you’ve heard but don’t understand, email me at DrDebby@mysexprofessor.com. Your confidentiality will be respected.

 

 

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.