Dating without sex

The cocktail menu boasted a tequila drink “known for making your clothes fall off.” My date made a joke about it. I barely remember the rest of the night, but I do remember that I never heard from him again.Up until then, my sex life had been defined by the question “What’s wrong with me? I was diagnosed with endometriosis, vulvodynia, and vaginismus – aka Vagina Problems.Over the years, people have been quick to write off my vaginal pain conditions as me being a tease or as anxiety stemming from past sexual trauma.But who wouldn’t be anxious about having sex when it had been so traumatic every single time I tried?The diagnosis means a lot of things for my reproductive organs, but the main takeaway is that my genitals are often in a lot of pain – inside and out – and especially when penetrated.

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I imagined what it would be like to tell this cute, blue-eyed stranger that no matter how loud he made me laugh or how attentively he listened to my childhood stories, I may never be able to have sex with him. I pushed the thought out of my head, erased the text, grabbed my keys, and walked out the door. As I parked my car, I could feel beads of sweat dotting the back of my neck.

Each match made me panic as I imagined explaining my situation to someone. I could hardly even listen to friend’s stories of sexual escapades without feeling like my stomach was going to fall out of my body.

All I could think about was the disappointment that I would cause and the disappointment that I would feel after yet another failed dating attempt.

I wanted to date and feel normal, but the problem was that I wasn’t normal – not in the sexual sense anyway.

It was a Saturday night, and I had somehow convinced myself to go on another date.

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