Burning

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Question

I have vestibulitis, and a man I have been dating recently knew this from the start. We've only tried intercourse four times — and only once was successful for me without any side effects of burning from the vestibulitis. However, he could not come. He takes too long, and I can't tolerate the pain. He could go on for hours with an erection. However, when he watches porn (every day), he can come quickly. Since I cannot have normal intercourse, he asks for anal sex. He does not like foreplay. His conversations are always centered around sex. His sex-talk is vulgar and degrading (he wants me to swallow). He is also verbally abusive. Is he a sex addict?

Answer

I'm sure you already know more about vestibulitis than you ever wanted to know. But just to catch our other readers up: This is a medical term for a chronic pain condition affecting a woman's external genitalia, or vulva. The skin around the vaginal opening may be red and inflamed. Severe pain can result from any kind of pressure on the vulva, including tight clothing. Riding a bicycle, inserting a tampon, or intercourse may also hurt too much to tolerate. And there may also be frequent and sudden urges to urinate. The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed that several factors may put a woman at increased risk of vestibulitis. This includes infection with genital warts, a chronic yeast or bacterial infection, changes in the pH of the vagina, dysfunction of the pudendal nerve, Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder Syndrome, or irritation resulting from detergents, soaps, spermicides, or lubricants.

A skilled physician should diagnose this condition and may prescribe treatment such as steroid ointments. Although some doctors may recommend surgical removal of the affected skin or nerves, these treatments are controversial, and should be considered the last resort. For more information about this puzzling and yet very real health problem, you can go to: obgyn.uihc.uiowa.edu/patinfo/Vulvar/vestibulitis.htm, www.aafp.org/afp/990315ap/1547.html, or www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C510175.html.

Now on to your question: Is the man you are dating a sex addict? I tend to view this term with caution since it has a lot of moralistic overtones. Sometimes people who are called sex addicts simply have more sex or a different type of sex than the person who called them that. I wouldn't use this term in my therapy practice unless I was working with someone who felt that they were using sex compulsively. In other words, unless they were doing things that they knew were damaging, and continued to do them even when they tried very hard to stop. This could include behavior such as driving yourself into financial ruin by spending too much money on phone sex or commercial sex, having public sex or masturbating in the open and thus risking arrest, having unprotected anal intercourse with guys who are at a high risk of being HIV-positive, or soliciting sex from dangerous strangers.

A guy who watches porn once a day may or may not be a sex addict. But a guy who refuses his partner any foreplay and insists on intercourse when it causes her agony is definitely a jerk. So is a guy who feels entitled to anal sex if he can't get "normal" intercourse. A man who degrades his partner and talks roughly to her when she does not enjoy such treatment is a highly undesirable individual.

So my question is, why are you still dating this creep? Do you feel that you've got to settle for whatever you can get because you have a disability? I would suggest that you throw this bum out of your life and consider a few other options. Penis-in-vagina intercourse is only one choice out of multiple sexual possibilities. If you have pain around the vaginal opening, but your clitoris is less (negatively) sensitive, masturbation may be your most reliable source of pleasure. This is something that you can do with a partner. He can help or just watch and pleasure himself. If you can only take so much vaginal penetration before it hurts, he can have intercourse with you until it becomes uncomfortable, then pull out and let you finish him off orally or with your hand. You need a man with more patience and imagination, and a much smaller sense of entitlement.