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Sexual health and contraception

My husband insists on sex even though it’s painful for me

Question

My husband has sex with me whenever he wants to whether I do or not. I do try to say no but in the end tell him to get on with it because of his temper. I am now very sore but even when I tell him it hurts he won’t leave me alone. Is there any way to make the sex less painful? Do you think I may have an infection? I don’t know who to turn to for help. I can’t say that my husband rapes me because I let him even though I don’t want to and I’m not turned on. I have three children to think about so just walking away is difficult. I spend a lot of time at the moment crying. I feel desperate for someone to listen to me.

Answer

Your husband may not be technically raping you, but it’s not far off. Any sexual attention that is unwanted, forced or pressured is a form of rape. A recent report published by the Home Office revealed that almost half of rapes are carried out by the victim’s partner in their own home as opposed to the common view that rape is an offence carried out by strangers in public places. The report also made a strong link between sexual attacks and domestic violence. If you are too afraid of your husband’s temper to say no then you should seek outside help – the Rape Crisis Federation (www.rapecrisis.co.uk) offers information and advice.and can put you in touch with a local rape and sexual abuse counselling service. The independent charity Victim Support provides a confidential counselling service (www.victimsupport.com).

It is no wonder that you feel sore. Painful sex is not enjoyable and the less enjoyable it is, the worse the pain feels. If your vagina is dry because you are not aroused then in the short term KY jelly may help. Fear of pain can become a long term problem, even after the original cause of the pain has disappeared.

Vaginal infections do make intercourse painful and if you are concerned that you may have an infection you need to see your doctor. She can make a diagnosis by taking a sample taken from your vagina.

Are you able to discuss the reasons why you do not want to have sex with your husband? It is best for you and him to work together on improving the situation. If you are too tired from looking after the kids to even think about sex when you go to bed at night, together you need to work out ways that some of the pressure could be taken off you. Do you have any friends or family who can give you some support?

Depression, low self esteem, anxiety or stress all have a strong impact on your ability to cope and it sounds as though you may well be depressed. It is important to share these problems with your husband if there is to be any chance of resolving them. The relationship counselling organisation Relate (www.relate.org.uk) may be able to help you to talk through your difficulties together.

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