I really hate the term "sex life."
Although it's kind of hard to imagine what it would be like to have consistently pain free sex, I think that for me it would be like eating chocolate cake. I might sometimes think: "You know what I could go for? A nice piece of chocolate cake!" And if there wasn't any cake in the house that night? I'd probably be a bit disappointed, but I wouldn't think it was tragic. I wouldn't be bemoaning my lack of "cake life." Or fretting about how other people are having more cake than I am. Or wallowing in feelings of lack of fulfillment due to lack of cake.
My view point is probably wildly influenced by my pelvic pain. The physical pain and emotional anguish it causes pretty much leave me with 0% libido. But I DO acknowledge the power sex has to bring you closer to you partner. I can see how pain free sex would be fun, and I understand that it also has a magical way of smoothing over the more minor disagreements you and your partner might tend to have about, say, the way that dirty dishes should/should not be left in the sink. But, as a critical component of your life providing fulfillment and sense of purpose? I don't understand it, and moreover, I think it is a construct of modern media.
Part of wikipedia's definition of the term "sex life" states:
The individual is able ... to have an "area" of his or her overall "life" that involves sex in a way that is somewhat similar to how athletes have an "area" of their lives that involves sports or how musicians have an "area" of their lives that involves music. A person with a secure and constantly developing sex life is inherently able to regard their sexuality as an active part of themselves, and although a secure sex life does not necessarily mean that the person will always feel self-confident or sexually attractive, consistent access to sex and the ability to deepen and broaden one's sexual skills provides a certain psychological assurance of sex appeal that people who do not have a "sex life" tend not to have.
Okay, I am sorry, but sex just does not require the intellectual focus or challenge of music, art, or similar endeavors. And, seriously, just how much physical skill does sex require? Sure, the teenager engaging in his/her first sexual encounter is going to be awkward, and needs to learn a few things here and there. But can you really equate sexual skill with the skills required of most athletes? I think the "skills" required for sex are a far cry from the skills required of just about any sport except maybe... walking.
I think that much of the perceived importance of one's "sex life" for personal happiness and fulfillment is due exclusively to the media. What would our sexual expectations be if we weren't constantly being inundated with sex through every media channel -- websites and news articles telling us how often everyone else is having sex; books and websites offering to improve our sex lives; surveys designed to help us determine just how bad our sex lives are and the negative impact of these woeful sex lives on every aspect of our well-being; comedy shows and movies and books and music that all seem to be INCAPABLE OF FINDING ANY SUBJECT MATTER ASIDE FROM SEX?
Yes, okay, I am angry. And, I know: sex sells. If no one bought this crap, it wouldn't exist. But it's kind of sad, too, you know?
Who cares about how much sex anyone else is having? I mean, how is it even relevant? And by the same token, why should you care what kind of sex other people are having, and where, and with whom? But to sell you stuff, media tells you that you need to be good as the next guy, or better. The media says: you need more sex to be happy. Actually, you don’t just need more sex, you need better sex! More and better! The media says: don't you realize that you have this whole huge component of your life -- your sex life -- which is currently incredibly inadequate? You are you dreadfully behind the 8 ball here! What you really need to do is buy this magazine/book/video/lingerie, etc. If you don’t, you surely are living a pathetic and unfulfilled existence. The media says: you need a "sex life."
And if you and your dysfunctional vagina don’t have enough going on, now you are the unlucky bearers of the double whammy, for now you get to hear from your partner that “other people have sex 2.5 times per week” (or some variation on the theme). Great, now you not only have to try to satisfy your partner, but also satisfy the random expectations created by Company X who just really wants to sell a bunch of God damned magazines.
I have DIV, vulvodynia, and vaginismus. When I have low moments, I often wish for some kind of community of support. For that reason, I have created this blog. I have some posts here about my own experiences, but what I'm really hoping to do is post stories from other women (from YOU!); your story of your diagnosis, your treatment, and your life with DIV (and/or vulvodynia, vaginismus, lichen planus, etc.). If you would like to share your story, please hop on over to my contact form on the home page and send me a note.