Help with anxious wife during foreplay
Hey all, sorta long post but we I’m trying to help my wife be comfortable enough to enjoy sex. Tldr at the end.
My wife (25) and I (26) have been married for several years. For a little bit of background, we were each other’s first so we have no sexual experiences outside of each other. I was raised in a very conservative Christian home, and she had a much more rough childhood but somehow came out of it very sexually innocent.
First, especially when we first got married, we discovered I was way too big/she was too small for her to enjoy sex. She would tear and bleed, and sex was painful for her. She has stretched/gotten accumstomed to it over the years, but I didn’t learn the extent of this for a couple years, and it caused some emotional distress for me because every time we have sex now I always know it’ll hurt a little.
To alleviate this, we started exploring more foreplay for her. Fingering, oral sex, egg vibrator are things we’ve tried, but she says that she hates being naked and me touching her, that it’s uncomfortable, she gets nervous and sometimes panics, and we’ve had to stop on occasion. I had to work hard just to get her to let me perform oral sex on her, and I feel like I’m running out of options. Any advice?
Tldr my wife gets anxious when we do foreplay, and it kills the mood. What can we do different?
vermin062: I’m going to sound a bit harsh here, but…what are you doing forcing yourself into her when she’s so tense it causes bleeding and pain? Regardless if she /says/ she’s okay with it, you don’t have sex with anyone without them explicitly making it clear physically and verbally they are totally into it. If you’re causing pain and bleeding from penetration, you are creating physical trauma. No wonder she has a hard time relaxing, she maybe associated sex to things like negative messages from strict religious upbringing coupled with negative bad experiences. This can lead to a condition known as Vaginismus likely triggered by anxiety and/or trauma.
First, you need to offer that ANYTIME she feels uncomfortable or tense during sex or any kind of physical intimacy, you will back off and give her space and not make her feel bad for doing so. If this isn’t enjoyable for your both, why continue? Clearly you want her to be comfortable and happy, so takeit slow.
Start with intimate, non-sexual touch. Set up times when you both will touch and look at each other without having sex after. This is to help her relax during sexual touch later on. If she feels anxious or tense, encourage her to voice her feelings and keep touching you and letting you touch her. Again, in a non-sexual manner.
When she does feel comfortable enough for some sexual interaction, don’t just go for her genitals. Touch her breasts as she pleases, and let her lead your hands where she wants to be touched. Do. Not. Penetrate. Her. Vagina. If she’s aroused and invites you to, touch her clit with a wet finger. Use lubricant, not water or spit, and touch her clit very, very gently. She needs to feel in complete control and begin to unlearn that sexual touch is going to lead to painful intercourse.
If she cannot relax her vagina for intercourse, never, ever EVER penetrate her. She may need sexual therapy to help her manage her sexual anxiety and overcome past trauma. You can help by respecting that her body is /hers/ first and foremost and you want to encourage her to embrace that. You do so by offering her space to assert physical boundaries with you, and to respect those boundaries with compassion and love.
This won’t get fixed overnight, and will take patience and time and consistency.
I hope this helps.
warminstruction7: What about suggesting being naked around each other at a non-sexual time to get accustomed to it without pressure to perform? Like get naked just to take a shower together, give her a massage, cuddle, or chat.
Is she any more comfortable getting naked with you in the dark? I don’t think that’s an ideal long term solution but it might be a stepping stone.
Pcphorse118: Have you tired lube to help with the actual act? It may be what is missing which could ease tension.
accio_peni: I had some pretty big hangups about sex myself, especially “married” sex, for various reasons. I put pressure on myself because I was taught that it was my duty as a wife to sexually please my husband. It sounds like that may be a big part of what’s going on here, what with her not telling you some things until way after the fact.
I can tell you a few of the things that helped me get past it, although I will say that therapy is a great place to start. My husband and I practiced a lot of non sexual intimacy, in various states of undress. It was extremely important to me that he would communicate that the cuddling/massage/ showering together (I freaking love having him wash my hair!) was not going to lead to anything sexual – and that he keep his word on that every time. He also let me know that he was good with that, that sex was not his goal and that I wasn’t disappointing him in any way by not wanting it. After a while, I was able to trust him in that and then I could relax and enjoy our closeness and whatever physical sensations were going on without anxiety. Once that anxiety was gone, I started to get to know my body and his better, without pressure. We both learned a lot in that regard, and became closer because of it.
Eventually I was able to tell him that I wanted to do one of those things and see where it led. Sometimes we had sex, sometimes we didn’t, and that was ok too. It seems like you’ve laid a good groundwork for trust since you said that you will stop if you become aware that she’s uncomfortable. That’s awesome! But there are a lot of us women who, because of our upbringing, feel like we’re letting our husbands down if we stop in the middle of things or aren’t in the mood. We need a lot of reassurance that it’s ok to say so when we’re uncomfortable, because it’s tough to overcome years of programming.
realtalkdotcom: Anxiety around sex can definitely be a difficult thing to work through. It sounds like sex has become something that is stressful for both you and her (in different ways) – and that associating sex with stress or anxiety is something that has been happening for a long time. I think you should work together to find a sex/relationship therapist that you both click with. Keep going slow, don’t pressure her or yourself, and remember that the whole point is to have a good time together.
Shelby3027: Ya girl needs therapy….
lokspy: Sounds like it might be vaginismus. It can be caused or exacerbated by anxiety. Mental and physical therapy are effective.