Dating without sex
And the pain and humiliation of my first two attempts at sex made the prospect of any kind of intimacy (even self-exploration) extremely unappealing.
In fact, by the time I was diagnosed, I recoiled even when a man flirtatiously touched my arm or complimented me in a suggestive way.
I also started to date again I’d had boyfriends in high school and dated some in college, and I enjoyed it.
I was as shocked and disappointed as they were when – after happily rounding first and second bases – the actual sex stuff turned out to be so excruciating for me.
The diagnosis means a lot of things for my reproductive organs, but the main takeaway is that my genitals are often in a lot of pain – inside and out – and especially when penetrated.
Up until then, my sex life had been defined by the question “What’s wrong with me? I was diagnosed with endometriosis, vulvodynia, and vaginismus – aka Vagina Problems.
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I work full-time, and after work usually head straight home to watch reality TV, so Tinder seemed like the only way to meet someone in Los Angeles. When it actually came time to plan a date, I almost always made up an excuse.
As I swiped left and right one evening after another while lying alone in my bed, I felt the pit in my stomach grow. There was a possibility I could climax in other ways.
Each match made me panic as I imagined explaining my situation to someone. I could hardly even listen to friend’s stories of sexual escapades without feeling like my stomach was going to fall out of my body.