Welcome to our first "Snuggle Sunday" Q & A series, where our blog authors respond to frequently asked questions and offer advice.
Editor’s Note: To date, we have not centered any articles around comments or letters received from our customers/subscribers. We receive a lot of feedback on Sundays compared to the rest of the week and we felt compelled to respond to this particular letter sent to us via snail mail.
We are keeping her name and address anonymous for privacy concerns.
Dear Le Snuggle,
"I have read all of your blog articles, hoping to latch onto a way to get over my timidness and my inability to have a conversation about sex with my husband.
Funny, I do not mind talking to a stranger about my reluctance to deal with this problem.
I doubt if you will respond, but I am looking for a lifeline right now. I often thought I would just bring up our issues at the beginning of foreplay, but that made my anxiety even worse. I attempted to write a letter but it sounded horrible and made me feel even worse. I burned it.
Then, I thought conversation over morning coffee. So, I did not sleep the night before and got myself worked into another frenzy.
This vicious cycle continues with no solutions that I can see knowing my own stress level about this subject. Please do not misunderstand. My husband is wonderful in every way that matters, with the exception of in the communication department. Obviously, we have the same problem. So many excuses on my part. I will never forgive myself if we lose the intimacy we have had in our marriage for so many great years. All because I cannot put my fear aside!
How can I overcome my fear of discussing our sexual difficulties with my husband?"
Thank you for reaching out to us. We feel for you for your current situation. Having a critical talk with your husband is never easy, but throw in the topic of sex, and both of your anxiety levels are instantly increased!
It is obvious from your letter that you both have mutual respect for each other to have survived so many years together. It is possible that you are experiencing anticipatory anxiety.
Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future. Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety-related conditions, such as generalized anxiety
Anticipatory anxiety can relate directly to our inability to open up to our partners about what is truly causing both parties to back away from intimacy and a satisfying sex life.
We are assuming that you already have a good idea about the issues that exist. For instance, do you identify your own issues such as vaginal laxity, vaginal dryness, or vaginal pain with intercourse? Or for him, are medications contributory to low libido or prostate issues?
Just thinking about discussing a few of these issues can cause anticipatory anxiety.
“In women, there is a thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls and labia due to the absence of estrogen. Less blood flow to the clitoris and lower vaginal causes diminished clitoral sensitivity. This is often accompanied by urinary symptoms and painful intercourse. Fear of pain can cause anticipatory anxiety. Nearly 50% of women experience this but do not share it with their doctors."
Now you are a little closer to being able to articulate the issues when you approach your husband, having identified each problem you want to discuss. Make an old-fashioned list with problems and solutions. As your discussion is ongoing, discuss each possible solution along with both of your comfort levels with the possible solutions.
You can agree to disagree, but do not get angry or accusatory. Doing so can cause self-esteem issues and heighten anxiety further.
Remember, once you open the door to mutual communication, you do not have to solve everything in your heart to heart about sexual issues. Always keep adding to the conversation, but try not to overwhelm your husband. Give him time to listen. Give him time to absorb what you have said and then revisit the conversation again to decide a course of action you both agree with.
There is hope!
You are brave to overcome your fears to even contact us. That is an awesome first step. Please contact us again and let us know how you are progressing.
We would love to hear from you and wish you the best of luck.