By Deborah Coady, Nancy Fish | June 08, 2012 at 02:33 PM EDT | No Comments
Many of our patients are physically unable to have intercourse due to vulvovaginal pain. It is devastating not to be able to have intercourse whether you are in a committed relationship or are single and dating. Our goal for all of our patients is that they will be able to have painless and satisfying sexual intercourse. But even if you can't have sexual penetration, you can achieve deep intimacy in your relationship.
You need to redefine intimacy and understand that it is not only achieved through sexual intercourse and that you can have a very intimate relationship even if traditional sex is taken out of the picture. In fact, some people who have the most gratifying sex lives can actually have little intimacy in their relationships. Intimacy can be attained in so many ways. The way your partners caresses you or just holds your hand while you are watching TV or a movie can be very intimate acts. When your partner says to you, "I will be at your next doctor's appointment because it is important for me to be there for you," how much more intimate can you be?
Intimacy is achieved when two people care about about each other so deeply an when that partner is there for you not matter what happens in your relationship, then you have achieved intimacy. And if you are single and dating, it is possible for you to find people who can actually care about you and enter a relationship with you and not have intercourse. We have seen many of our patients who are single and find caring partners without sexual intercourse in the relationship. Physical touch, caressing, hugging, mutual masturbation and kissing are all possible even if you can't have intercourse and can create more intimacy than actual intercourse.
We do not minimize the importance of sexual intercourse in a relationship and dating. But all people need to redefine what intimacy means in a relationship. When there is true caring, commitment, and generosity in a relationship, then you have achieved intimacy and closeness. We see couples who haven't had intercourse for quite a long time and although they do miss it, when we see their loving interactions and at times putting each others' needs first, we know we have seen the real McCoy in the intimacy department. So, don't equate intimacy with intercourse -- you can have one without the other.