Content warning: sexuality, self pleasure, mention of vaginal injury.
I have been doing an experiment this past 30 days or so. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a vagina injured by a sexual assault when I was a small child, which has resulted in lifelong pain in that region, coming from chronic inflammation. This is a thing I have to explain at some point to almost every lover I have ever had, and the ones that don’t freak out, get to continue with me.
I was speaking with some other perimenopausal women online, and I forget how the topic came up, but someone recommended self-pleasuring daily for 30 days as an exercise, and it felt right for me to do this. At the time, I was self-conscious about my limitations, and with a fairly new to me lover, want very much to Do Things Differently. That’s been true the entire course of my relationship with Julie, and I am grateful for it, and her. She was very supportive of my new programme, once I told her about it.
Over this month, I’ve focussed on being mindfully present, on touching myself with love in my hands, the way I touch my lovers. I don’t know why it was a revelation that I could make love to myself the way I make love to women I care about, but it was. I set a timer for 20 minutes at first, with an agreement that I could stop after 20 minutes if I wanted to. I never did, so after awhile I stopped setting the timer, but it let me know about how long I need to be satisfied, which is longer than 20 minutes.
At first, I found it difficult to stay present and mindful, and had to keep bringing myself back, like one does in mindfullness meditation. (By the way, mindfullness meditation is scientifically proven to help women with sexual difficulties, I’ll add a link to this later.) As I kept at it, daily, or usually nightly, I noticed some things about my attitude to my sexual places, that I was kind of instrumental, treating them like tools for getting a result, rather than a place to love myself. That shifted. Sometimes I had a big cry after I came, the release of connecting physically with myself after an absense, but as time went on, mostly I just felt warm and loved.
Now I know some of you won’t be able to try this, because there is still a big high-pressure backlog of flashbacks waiting to escape the minute you reconnect. I’m sorry. I know how that feels. Some of you will have vulvadynia so painful that you can’t touch yourself at all. It might be possible to set a timer for a really short time period, like one minute or 5, and just get used to having some light positive loving touch in places that deserve it. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or want to check in about how that is going.
My vulvadynia (a general term for pain you know where) has eased a lot. Through pelvic floor physiotherapy, I’ve learned that there are two muscles near the site of the original injury that get tight, spasmed. If I don’t relax these two muscles before or during being sexual with a partner, then I’m not going to have much pleasure. Those muscles were basically consistently and constantly tight unless specifically loosened.
Now they are not. I don’t know when it happened, but those two muscles are now habitually normal in tone. It feels like a freaking miracle. I have more sensation in general. I have another piece of my body back.
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash