October 2, 2007
With college back in session, I resumed regular sex with my partner. On top of the persistent pain during and after sex, I started getting frequent UTIs. It seemed like every time I had sex I got a UTI. It was like clockwork. But my UTIs weren’t like typical UTIs. I didn’t experience frequency, urgency or even burning. My UTIs were all about cramping pain.
The pain with urination was far more debilitating than any of my pain associated with vulvodynia. Toward the end of urination I would feel this horrible cramping pain that truly took my breath away. The pain usually didn’t subside for an hour. During that time, all I could do was lie still and wait for the pain to pass. On days when I had a UTI, I didn’t make it to class. I was in so much pain I just couldn’t function.
The UTIs were happening every two to three weeks. I would take 10 days worth of Cipro, feel better, have sex, and be back at the health center within two days of intercourse. It was ridiculous! The health center always took a urine culture, but regardless of the results, I was given antibiotics. Every few weeks I went through another 10-day course of Cipro.
It all began to take a toll on me physically and emotionally. I really started to hate sex. I found myself crying a lot. I was so run down and powerless. It just wouldn’t stop.
After four months, I found a urologist who told me that based on the arrangement of my anatomy, I would always get a UTI from sex unless I was protected by a daily low-dose antibiotic called Macrobid. I asked him if it would ever get better and he said, “maybe after childbirth.”
At least the Macrobid seemed to get the UTIs under control.
September 24, 2007
September 23, 2007
I went to a women’s hospital near my college. After hours in the waiting room, a doctor told me that I had a yeast infection and a urinary tract infection. She gave me Xylocane jelly to relieve the burning, a prescription for Diflucan and an antibiotic for the UTI. She told me to NEVER use colored or flavored condoms. She also told me to use a lot of lubricant to prevent irritation. I wish I had known all that before I had sex. Those shitty condoms should come with a warning label.
The infections cleared and the burning pain dissipated. As soon as I thought I had healed, I attempted sex again. I felt the same agonizing pain upon insertion and burning for hours after sex.
Xylocane jelly became a constant in my life. I used it after every time I had sex. It helped, but it didn’t do anything to treat the problem.
More pressing, was the pain I felt with penetration. Remember what if felt like to get your ears pierced. The jolt of pain as the pointed earring broke through your skin and then the burning that followed as a foreign object hung in your lobe.
Imagine that on a much larger scale. The best way I can describe it is feeling like I was being ripped apart from the inside. And no amount of lubricant lessened that persistent, jarring pain.
I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I was too ashamed to tell my partner. I wanted to enjoy sex and I wanted to please my partner, so I swallowed my pain. I had sex frequently, even though it hurt, because I wanted to be normal.
The only other relief I got was from soaking in warm water. Problem was: I lived in a dorm with no bathtubs. I filled a drawer from a plastic storage unit with hot water from the bathroom sink almost daily for just a few minutes of relief. It was humiliating to sit on the floor of my dorm room with my ass wedged in a drawer, but it was the only thing I could do to alleviate the pain.
September 21, 2007
The first time I had sex I was a freshman in college. I was uncomfortable and poorly prepared. The condom, chosen at random from a bowl in the Resident Assistant’s dorm room, was colored and flavored. Tropical banana or wild cherry. It didn’t make a difference to me. I had no idea what I was doing.
I felt like I was being ripped apart from the inside at the moment of penetration. The intensity of the pain startled me, but shortly after it began, it passed. Very soon after that, the sex was over. It lasted maybe a grand total of 30 seconds, although that’s probably too generous.
As I lay on my back wondering what ‘the big deal’ was about sex, the burning started. I felt like someone had put out a match on the skin inside of me and there was nothing I could do to stop the pain. I told myself that this must be the way all women feel after their first time.
I was wrong.