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Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - SPONSORED CONTENT - Robyn Sal­is­bury is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist. Email ques­tions to MrsSal­is­bury@sex­ther­apy.co.nz.

I am in my late 20s and mar­ried my hus­band last year. I have been di­ag­nosed with en­dometrio­sis and have had la­paroscopy surgery to have this re­moved, how­ever I am still in pain 50 per cent of the time. I also have very lit­tle de­sire to have sex with my hus­band. I am more in­ter­ested in “ser­vic­ing my­self” as it’s quicker and less in­va­sive. My hus­band is aware of ev­ery­thing go­ing on but he is suf­fer­ing. It an­noys him I’m not in­ti­mate with him of­ten. We can go weeks with­out hav­ing sex be­cause of me; sex just isn’t a big deal to me.

The idea of sex just doesn’t in­ter­est me but I’ve found when we do it I’m not in­ter­ested be­fore­hand and then I’m fully in­vested un­til the end. It’s like you know you should go to the gym and once you get there you’re fine, but find­ing the ef­fort to get to the gym is the prob­lem. I love my hus­band, but I’ve never been in love with sex. How can I get a sex drive? That’s de­mor­al­is­ing for you both that the surgery, pre­sum­ably aimed to re­move all the ab­nor­mal en­dome­trial tis­sue and to re­lease ad­he­sions, did not make a big­ger dif­fer­ence. It’s not at all sur­pris­ing that your li­bido has run out the door as – un­less you’re a masochist – pain is a big turn-off. The an­tic­i­pa­tion of pain with in­ter­course also means you are likely to have chronically tensed your pelvic mus­cles. You may find it very help­ful to work with a pelvic floor physio to re­lease tense mus­cles and mo­bilise soft tis­sue.

It’s great that you can still en­joy in­ter­course once you get there; this sug­gests you’ve found a po­si­tion that avoids ex­ac­er­bat­ing pain. I’d en­cour­age you two now to be ex­per­i­ment­ing with all the non-pen­e­tra­tive ways you can be plea­sur­ing each other.

Did you two used to kiss un­til you lost your­selves in each other? If so, back to that; if not, it’s time to dis­cover the de­light. Can you both stroke your lips, nose or cheeks or any other part of you all over the other’s body un­til you are both tin­gling with arousal? Are you each aware of all the eroge­nous zones be­tween the top of your head and your toes and how to best plea­sure them?

Agree to put in­ter­course aside for a few weeks and sim­ply play un­til the door opens and li­bido sneaks back in.

“It’s like you know you should go to the gym and once you get there you’re fine.”

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