Painful sex is not just your problem individually. If you are in a relationship and dealing with pelvic pain, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is just your problem to deal with. You may think that if it is your body then it must be your issue alone, but that is not true. If you are in a committed relationship nothing is ever just your problem or just his problem—whether it be painful sex or credit card debt—it affects you both.
I faced my pelvic pain as if it were my problem alone. I searched for a diagnosis, I tried different tests and treatments, I saw a sex therapist, I went to weekly physical therapy sessions, I did self-treatment at home, and I dealt alone with the emotional and psychological distress that accompany a pelvic pain disorder. Yes, I asked my husband to support me and he did in some ways, but neither of us ever faced the issue as if it were our problem. What resulted was each of us focusing on our own issues and not understanding each other’s. I spent all my time trying to address my own problem, trying to find healing so that I could have sex without pain. With so much focus on my problem, I didn’t see that he was facing his own issues with what painful sex was doing to our relationship. We each tried to deal with our problems on our own. We didn’t share the burden or provide the support that comes when two people face an issue together.
There is a song I like called “Pushing on a Pull Door.”* I think that image is a good analogy for what happens when couples don’t treat a problem as if it is their problem together. Imagine a glass door, like you would see in almost any storefront. One person is on the outside pushing as hard as they can on that door to try to open it and reach their partner on the other side. The other person on the inside is pulling with all their might to try and open the door and remove the barrier between them. The woman on the outside is doing everything she can to fix her problem—it is just a door, something she should be capable of handling on her own. She has searched everywhere for help—maybe there is a key that she needs or a specific technique in order to get that door open. She can see her husband on the inside. She can’t tell if he is pulling or not; she just sees that he is moving farther away from her. If they could stop struggling on their own and take time to communicate and work together, maybe they could figure out how to open the door to healing. It may only be a few inches at a time, but opening it together is so much more rewarding than struggling on your own.
Strong marriages and healthy relationships are ones where couples face life’s issues together. Painful sex is not just a personal problem for you to deal with on your own. Start treating it like it is—not just his problem or just her problem—something you can overcome together.
*If you are curious, it’s by For King and Country.