This week’s guest blog is by a fantastic fellow blogger – Isabelle Lauren. She writes with touching candour about sex and libido after having a hysterectomy. It’s a brilliant piece, and it gave me an insight into not only one of the ways in which sex can be a struggle, but also about how vital patience and communication are when dealing with sexual difficulties. Check out her brilliant blog (and in particular this recent piece on the sex/violence distinction for over-18 content, which I really enjoyed) and follow her on Twitter @RomanticIsa.
From none to all: Relearning to have sex after a hysterectomy
Eighteen months ago, when my doctor agreed to perform a hysterectomy to finally end my 25 year battle with endometriosis and adenomyosis, I was ecstatic. Finally no more pain during sex! No more birth control pills to kill my libido! My husband and I could have all the sex again!
No more pain
Sadly, the reality was different, at least in the beginning. My libido wasn’t the problem: it had come roaring back as soon as my body had healed enough. But my body had different ideas. For five years before the surgery, sex had been painful to varying degrees, with the last year being so bad that even being aroused hurt. In order to protect itself, my body had taken to shut down any physical sign of arousal. And although I knew, logically, that sex would not hurt anymore, without a positive sexual experience, my body wasn’t going to risk it. As soon as my vagina produced even the tiniest of wetness, red flags went up and my body started the shut down procedure.
Luckily I started getting horny before my doctor had given me the all clear for penetration, so there was no pressure to have sex right away. I felt frustrated though, because I had hoped we’d be able to fool around before going all in. I had also been looking forward to feeling aroused again – the wetness between my thighs, the throbbing of lust in my pussy – but none of that happened. I had to relearn being physically aroused again.
I embarked on a journey of self discovery. I started with masturbation – just letting my fingers explore and really concentrating on how that felt. I tried to relax and not get aroused too quickly, but let it build up slowly so that my body had time to assess each stage and come to the conclusion that hey, it doesn’t hurt anymore, so maybe it’s fine to let this happen. Hubby was careful and patient as well when we finally did get the okay from the doctor. A lot of sex before penetration helped me get ready – and I did enjoy it.
The relearning process didn’t end there. Before my endometriosis got too bad I always loved deep penetration, but since the surgery (during which I also lost my ovaries and cervix) deep penetration did nothing for me. I still loved my G spot stimulated, but I didn’t manage to really orgasm from penetration only. My husband had bought a sex toy and I found using this for clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex really helpful. Since then I have acquired a host of sex toys which has allowed me to masturbate more successfully, finding out what works and what doesn’t. It took a while to come to terms with the way my ability to orgasm has changed though.
Better sex drive
Going from no libido to raging libido sounds like a good thing, right? But as my body had to relearn that sex wasn’t painful, so my husband had to realise that I actually wanted sex. For years I had only wanted sex occasionally. My husband and I had come to an unspoken arrangement that he would no longer initiate sex but I would let him know if I wanted sex, no doubt because he was sick of being rejected. Not that I blame him in the least.
But when my sex drive went into overdrive, I became tired of always having to initiate sex. I wanted sex every night. He not so much. Not that he didn’t have a healthy sex drive, but the HRT had kicked my sex drive up an unrealistic notch. Despite the fact that I told hubby that I was horny all the time, this hadn’t really sunken in yet. Also, seeing his wife go from frigid to sex maniac (for want of better words) was a little intimidating. I started masturbating as well – and I didn’t hide it – which is a bit of a culture shock to a man whose wife previously wanted sex once every 6 months.
Communication saved us, although it took us quite a few months to open up to each other. When a disorder gets cured you assume that life will automatically go back to the way it was before the disorder ruined everything. But when you live with this disorder for as long as I had, it becomes part of your life, and changing your habits and the way you look at things can be difficult. Especially when it comes to sex, which is a topic that is fraught with guilt and embarrassment as it is (not that it should).
Now, eighteen months later, my husband has come to understand why I masturbate and his ego is no longer effected by my need for self pleasure and self exploration, or the need for sex toys during partnered sex. My libido has slowed down somewhat so that we are more evenly matched. Our sex life is healthy and robust and I am grateful that after 25 years of pain, I have been able to get rid of my diseased uterus and can enjoy life to the fullest again.
This week’s guest blog is sponsored by the wonderful people at PeepShow Toys. They support me so I can pay guest bloggers and keep this site running, and they also sell a wide range of classic vibrators and other body-safe sex toys. Use the code GOTN10 for 10% off anything on their site.