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Why is my wife so scared to have sex?

Saturday, 05 May 2007
Answered by: Dr. Rajan Bhonsle
Consulting Sex therapist & Counsellor,
Heart To Heart Counselling Centre
Mumbai
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Q. I am a 31 years old male, married for 3 years now. I have been trying to persuade my wife to have intercourse but she is too scared. Stimulation has never been the problem. She allows me to masturbate her. However, she does not seem to understand my needs. We have never had any penetration so far. I have no problems with erection. I get normal hard erection. However, even after lots of stimulation (to her), when I try to penetrate her, she screams and prevents me from penetrating saying she has extreme pain. On various occasions, I have forwarded her articles on vaginismus and asked her to seek appointment with a professional but she has repeatedly ignored my requests. Every time I feel the urge, she puts me away saying she has pain in the vagina or headache or stomach-ache and so on. This has gotten to a point that I am unable to concentrate on my work and feel increasingly frustrated. I also feel that maybe she is playing a game with me. I am also seriously considering divorce as an option. I am very confused and do not know what to do. I feel I am one in a million men who has not had sex with his wife even after 3 years. Please advise how I should go about addressing the problem.

A.  What is happening with her is due to Penetration Phobia. Penetration phobia is usually a psychological phenomenon. Its cause is invariably a deep-rooted psychological fear related to the genitals, mostly due to physical and/or psychological trauma in the earlier years of life or as a learned fear caused by hearing myths about painful penetration during the vulnerable and impressionable growing years. She may or may not be consciously aware of the root cause. Once the root cause is identified through psychoanalysis, the treatment progresses rapidly. No medication can help in this situation. A sex therapist trained in counselling and psychotherapy is better equipped to help you. Many girls carry an apprehension about sexual intercourse and therefore are unable to comfortably respond during the first few experiences of intercourse. This may also happen because her emotional involvement in this relationship is not yet ripe. A woman's sexuality is usually heart oriented. A woman usually gets aroused only when she is emotionally involved with the husband. Don't rush things. Let her relax into this relationship. If things still do not change, then there might be a physical cause. Due to apprehension, the woman involuntarily tightens the muscles of her vagina, making penetration painful and sometimes impossible. If that is what is going on, then a consultation with a sex therapist will help. A tight hymen can also cause this problem. For this, she requires an examination by a gynaecologist.

A.  What is happening with her is due to Penetration Phobia. Penetration phobia is usually a psychological phenomenon. Its cause is invariably a deep-rooted psychological fear related to the genitals, mostly due to physical and/or psychological trauma in the earlier years of life or as a learned fear caused by hearing myths about painful penetration during the vulnerable and impressionable growing years. She may or may not be consciously aware of the root cause. Once the root cause is identified through psychoanalysis, the treatment progresses rapidly. No medication can help in this situation. A sex therapist trained in counselling and psychotherapy is better equipped to help you. Many girls carry an apprehension about sexual intercourse and therefore are unable to comfortably respond during the first few experiences of intercourse. This may also happen because her emotional involvement in this relationship is not yet ripe. A woman's sexuality is usually heart oriented. A woman usually gets aroused only when she is emotionally involved with the husband. Don't rush things. Let her relax into this relationship. If things still do not change, then there might be a physical cause. Due to apprehension, the woman involuntarily tightens the muscles of her vagina, making penetration painful and sometimes impossible. If that is what is going on, then a consultation with a sex therapist will help. A tight hymen can also cause this problem. For this, she requires an examination by a gynaecologist.

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