Special Issues for Single Women
If you are not in a relationship, you may have reservations about starting one or concerns about finding a partner who will understand your limitations. Feeling that way is understandable, but it shouldn’t stop you from dating if you want to do so. Mature, compassionate partners, who can handle a relationship with someone who has vulvodynia, do exist. Vulvodynia is one aspect of your life, but does not define you. Many women with vulvodynia have found loving partners and enjoy satisfying sex lives.
If you decide to date, or are in a new relationship, here are a few suggestions. (17)
- Dating – Timing and Location If you’re nervous about the unknown aspects of a date, offer to organize it yourself. If you’re meeting for dinner, choose a restaurant that has comfortable chairs. If you tend to feel worse late in the day, suggest a lunch date. If mild activity makes you feel better, meet at a park so you can walk.
- When to Talk About It You are not obligated to disclose your medical history to someone on your first few dates. Let some time pass and get to know one another first. After you’ve developed mutual respect and feel comfortable enough to be intimate, you can choose an appropriate time to discuss your condition. Most importantly, don’t wait until you are in the midst of a sexual encounter.
- Write It Down For any difficult conversation, it helps to write down and practice what you want to say ahead of time. You can practice while looking in the mirror or ask a close friend or family member to role-play with you.
- The Talk Decide when and where you’d like to have the conversation. Allow plenty of time for discussion, because the other person should be able to process and respond to what you’ve said without feeling rushed or pressured. You will probably focus on your own feelings about having this conversation, but also realize that it’s a difficult situation for the other person and anticipate how he/she may feel. Sometimes your imagination can be your worst enemy and the response will not be as upsetting as you feared. If he/she does react negatively, consider yourself lucky, because the last thing you need is an unsupportive partner. If you’ve discussed your condition and both of you decide to move forward with your relationship, you can suggest that your partner visit NVA’s web site, www.nva.org, to learn more about the condition.