Topic: painful sex
Q: I am newly married to a loving and caring husband. The problem is I get dry during or before sexual intercourse and I fear it might be a disorder or a problem. Sometimes it gets painful during and after sex. I am worried because I feel I have a major problem that needs a solution and I want to satisfy my husband in every possible way I can. Although he is being understanding, supportive and patient. I don't feel comfortable discussing it with any of my family members or friends. I hope you can help me?
Thank you for asking this question, because a condition like this can affect many different women, and as you have experienced, it becomes difficult, painful, if not impossible to experience sexual intercourse with your husband.
Alhamdulelah, I am happy that your husband is loving and caring and he is willing to help you work through this as a couple.
First of all, to be on the safe side, I would recommend getting a physical examination from your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that are easily solvable. This way you have peace of mind that it’s not something physical in your body.
Assuming you are an otherwise healthy Muslimah, my first hunch says that this is an emotional issue, not a physical one.
When a woman is afraid to be emotionally vulnerable, lacks confidence with her body, feels afraid of potential pain, being “good enough” to please her husband, or has had an experience in her past that was sexually traumatizing* (such as molestation) then it is possible, in any of these cases, and others, that she will not be able to relax mentally.
As a result her body responds to the mental state, and in an effort to “protect for potential hurt or harm” shuts down physically. In this case, you become dry, and sex becomes painful.
Then a cycle begins.
The subconscious thought process might go something like this. “Last time I felt uncomfortable, and sex was painful. What if this time is the same? He will be disappointed, and I won’t be able to satisfy my husband. If he isn’t pleased with me, will Allah be pleased with me? I’m afraid this is a major problem...”
You can imagine that if this background dialogue or one similar to it is taking place in your mind, how a cycle of discomfort emotionally and physically will continue. So first, is exploring what your mind is focused on.
Second, consider asking if your body is turned on at all.
Women often require more time to be physically ready for intercourse compared to a man. The moisture level can be impacted by many things, but one of them is whether or not you are physically aroused. If you haven't been physically touched in a way that arouses you, there is a good chance you will remain dry.
So, ask your husband to focus on arousing your body and satisfying your physical needs before his own. If you don’t have any, or aren’t even sure how to make that happen, then it’s time for you both to explore that together, slowly, and gently, with affectionate touch from him to you.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, (ra) reports in his famous “Tibb al-Nabawi” that the Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade from engaging in sexual intercourse before foreplay. ( al-Tibb al-Nabawi, pg. 183, from Jabir ibn AbdAllah)
Remove the pressure that every physical encounter MUST end in intercourse. Make a decision together to simply enjoy the process, without having a goal in mind over the course of a few weeks. If he is patient, and you are open and honest, slowly, you will find a resolution to this.
Third, be open and honest with your husband about how you are feeling both in mind and body. If you were enjoying your experience with him, and then all of the sudden you noticed you suddenly at “turned off” then let him know gently. Pay specific attention to what is going in your body, and where. Honor your experience.
Fourth, visualize what a loving experience looks like ahead of time, and imagine it over and over again in your head before spending time with him. This way you are training your mind and body to see and feel relaxation in relation to your husband.
With time, practice, and openness, I am confident you will be able to overcome this situation, insha’Allah.
May Allah reward you for your intentions. Ameen.