The Georgia Straight - - Contents - By

bDan Sav­age

I’M A 40-YEAR-OLD mar­ried straight woman. I gave birth to our first kid in 2015 and our sec­ond ear­lier this year. My per­ineum tore and was stitched both times. I have not been able to have sex with pen­e­tra­tion since hav­ing our sec­ond child. My ob-gyn said I’m “a lit­tle tighter now” due to the way the stitch­ing was per­formed. My hus­band is very well en­dowed and I can’t imag­ine how on earth I’m ever go­ing to get that thing back in me, let alone en­joy it. We have a his­tory of pretty hot sex and I re­ally miss it. I’ve been search­ing on­line for some sex toys to help me. I’ve never used sex toys be­fore. I’ve al­ways been able to have thrilling or­gasms eas­ily with­out any de­vices. I still can with man­ual stim­u­la­tion. But I want to have sex with my hus­band. I’m con­fused and I just don’t know what I need to help me open back up and get through the pain. Please help!

- Thanks In Ad­vance

“Un­for­tu­nately, this sit­u­a­tion is very com­mon—but luck­ily there are op­tions to help her get her groove back,” said Rachel Gel­man, a pelvicfloor phys­i­cal ther­a­pist at the Pelvic Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter (pelvic­painre­

Also sadly com­mon: ob-gyns shrug­ging off con­cerns like yours, TIA.

“I see that all the time,” said Gel­man. “Part of the prob­lem is that the pelvic floor/mus­cles aren’t on most doc­tors’ radar. That’s due to many fac­tors—cough, cough, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, cough, our dys­func­tional health-care sys­tem, cough—but to wa­ter it down, it’s the ob-gyn’s job to get some­one through preg­nancy and de­liver a healthy baby. And when that’s ac­com­plished, the feel­ing is their job is done.”

But so long as you’re not able to have and en­joy PIV sex with your hung hus­band, TIA, there’s still work to do.

“TIA needs to see a pelvic-floor phys­i­cal ther­a­pist,” said Gel­man. “A good PT would be able to as­sess and treat any pelvic-floor dys­func­tion, which is of­ten the pri­mary cause or a con­tribut­ing fac­tor for any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain with sex, es­pe­cially af­ter child­birth.”

At this point Gel­man be­gan to ex­plain that push­ing a liv­ing, breath­ing, scream­ing hu­man be­ing out of your body is an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence, and I ex­plained to Gel­man that I’ve had to push a few liv­ing, breath­ing, scream­ing hu­man be­ings out of my body, thank you very much. Gel­man clar­i­fied that she was talk­ing about “the trauma of la­bor and de­liv­ery”, some­thing with which I have no ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Labour and de­liv­ery can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the pelvic-floor mus­cles, which can cause a myr­iad of symp­toms,” said Gel­man. Pain dur­ing PIV sex sits high on the list of those symp­toms.

“The fact that TIA had tear­ing with the de­liv­er­ies means she most likely has scar tis­sue, and a PT would again be able to treat the scar to help de­crease any hy­po­mo­bil­ity and hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity,” said Gel­man. “A pelvicfloor spe­cial­ist can also in­struct her in a home pro­gram which may in­clude stretches, re­lax­ation tech­niques, and di­la­tors—di­la­tors are grad­u­ated cylin­ders that are in­serted vagi­nally to help stretch the vagi­nal open­ing and pro­mote re­lax­ation of the pelvic floor.”

A set of “grad­u­ated cylin­ders” is es­sen­tially “a bou­quet of dil­dos”, TIA. You start with the small­est dila­tor/dildo, in­sert­ing it ev­ery day un­til you can insert it with­out any pain or dis­com­fort, and then you “grad­u­ate” (nudge, nudge) to the next “cylin­der” (wink, wink). You can or­der a set of di­la­tors on­line, TIA, but Gel­man wants you to find a doc that spe­cial­izes in sex­ual medicine first.

“There are some good med­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions that she can check out for re­sources and to help lo­cate a provider in her area,” said Gel­man. “The web­sites of the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for the Study of Women’s Sex­ual Health (ISSWSH), the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Sex­ual Medicine (ISSM), and the In­ter­na­tional Pelvic Pain So­ci­ety (IPPS) are where she should start.”

Fol­low Gel­man on In­sta­gram, @pelvichealthsf.

bI’M A 30-YEAR-OLD woman, and about a year ago I started tak­ing im­prov classes to help com­bat my so­cial anx­i­ety. I met a lot of awe­some peo­ple in my class, but I took a par­tic­u­lar shine to this one guy. He was a gen­tle soul, very sweet, and re­ally funny. We quickly be­came friends. Even­tu­ally I de­vel­oped feel­ings for him and asked him out. He ap­pre­ci­ated the of­fer but told me that he was gay. I was shocked and dis­ap­pointed, but I wanted to keep our friend­ship so I tried to get over my feel­ings. But not only haven’t these feel­ings gone away, I’m ac­tu­ally fall­ing in love with him. He re­cently con­fessed to me that he’s still semi­clos­eted and deal­ing with a bad breakup, so I re­ally don’t want to add to his prob­lems. This is such a mess. I found this won­der­ful guy who I care about and yet noth­ing will ever hap­pen be­cause I was born the wrong gen­der. What can I do?!?

- In­tro­vert Makes Pass, Re­grets Over­ture

Very Se­ri­ously


You can’t make that gay guy fall in love with you, IMPROVS, any more than I could make Hasan Min­haj fall in love with me. Get­ting over him is your only op­tion, and that’s gonna take some time and most likely some space, too. (I’d rec­om­mend see­ing less of your crush af­ter this class ends.) But give your­self some credit for do­ing some­thing proac­tive about your so­cial anx­i­ety, for tak­ing a risk, and for ask­ing your class­mate out. You didn’t take that im­prov class to find love, right? You took it to com­bat your so­cial anx­i­ety—and it sounds like you won a few bat­tles, IMPROVS, if not the war. The take­away here isn’t, “It didn’t work with him so why should I bother ever try­ing again with some­one else?” but “I did it—i made a con­nec­tion; I asked some­one out—and I’m go­ing to do it again and hope­fully it’ll work out next time.”


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