It’s not your fault

It's not your fault - when sex hurts there is hopeLiving with a disorder that causes painful sex can wreak havoc on your marriage and, as an extension, your life. It is easy to fall into negative thinking and to feel like it is your fault, at least it was for me.

Sex was always an issue in our marriage, and it seemed like it was the cause of all our problems. The sex issue caused arguments and created feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction and alienation from each other. Even on the days when we were seemingly fighting about a completely unrelated issue, it always had a tendency to go back to the problem of sex (or at least it always did in my mind). Continue reading

Not just your problem

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.not just your problem - when sex hurts there is hope

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. Continue reading

Share your struggles (part 1)

Something I have learned through my journey with painful sex is how important it is to share your struggles. Hiding your troubles or trying to handle them all on your own creates a burden that you are not able to carry. I know from personal experience because this is what I did throughout most of my journey. Even my closest friends and family didn’t realize the extent of my pelvic pain, the difficulties of my search for a diagnosis and healing, or how broken my marriage was.

share your struggles - when sex hurts there is hope

I think a lot of why I didn’t share was rooted in pride, at least when it came to my marriage issues. I have always taken pride in my sound decision-making. I typically put a lot of thought into things and never make rash decisions. This prudence is a part of my identity—as is my independence and ability to handle things on my own. So admitting that my marriage was struggling so much was like admitting that I hadn’t made a good decision and I couldn’t handle it myself. Continue reading

We are what he has made us

God's masterpiece - when sex hurts there is hopeFor we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 (NRSV)

This verse has a lot that we can apply to our lives such as doing good works and the way of life Christ followers should live. But what has personally spoken into my life is the first line—we are what he has made us. If you suffer from painful sex or any kind of pelvic pain, it can be easy to fall into negative thoughts. What is wrong with me? Did God mess up when he created me? Did I do something wrong along the way to end up here? Why me? Why did it have to be this way? Continue reading

Have higher expectations

Have higher expectations - when sex hurts there is hopeIn life and relationships we will often receive advice to temper our expectations of others. We hear things like “give them the benefit of the doubt”, “nobody’s perfect” and “be reasonable.” While that advice is all well and good and often important to keep in mind, there is also a danger to that way of thinking. We run the risk of lowering our expectations too much and settling for a life or a relationship that is not fair to ourselves as individuals. Continue reading

Overflow with hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)*

hope - when sex hurts there is hopeThis is my favorite verse and has become somewhat of a theme verse for my life over this past year or so.  God brought it to me during the most difficult time of my marriage, just as it was falling apart.  I have recited it to myself more times than I can count, and shared it with many others.  I remember having lunch with a close friend, filling her in on some of what had been going on in my life.  As I told her about the hurt and hardships, unsure about the fate of my marriage, I also had to tell her about the amazing things God had been doing to remind me that I was in His care.  When I shared the verse with her, she told me that while listening to me tell my story, she couldn’t find any better description—that I was overflowing with hope.

Overflowing with hope doesn’t necessarily mean you have all the answers.  In fact, I would argue that having hope by definition requires that you don’t have all the answers—you can’t hope for something that you already have or already know to be true.  Continue reading

Communication, communication, communication

effective communication - when sex hurts there is hopeThe three most important aspects of a healthy relationship are…communication, communication, and communication.*  Okay, so there is a lot more that goes into maintaining a healthy relationship, but I just want to emphasize how important effective communication really is (so important, in fact, that I expect I will be creating multiple posts on this topic in the future).

In order for communication to be effective it needs to be two-way, constant, and not hurtful.  You both need to communicate with each other—if you do all the talking, and he never responds, then you can only get halfway there.  Continue reading