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The Dreaded VA

No, I am not talking about the Veteran’s Administration, though I could make a whole other post on my Dad’s experiences with their hospitals, but I am referring to Vaginal Atrophy.   Just saying the word atrophy makes me think about something old, shriveled up and ready to crumble at any minute.  Something a paleontologist would dig up from some ruins along with some dinosaur bones.    Here I am using that word with my vagina…. the birth canal that delivered my 2 babies…. the pleasure center for myself and my husband…. atrophied.   I shudder at that word.

I was referred by my PCP to a gynecologist for severe pain and swelling in that area of my body.  Never knowing if I had constant monthly yeast infections or lactobacilli infections….e coli…. I’ve had it all, but it keeps coming back month after month after month since May of this year.   So, I made the appointment to see him.

Vaginal atrophy.   “I can definitely see physical signs of perimenopause during your exam”   Well, finally, someone who will agree with me that I am in perimenopause.  With my PCP, my hormones were always “within acceptable range”   Now, the actual proof.  He said my vaginal walls were thinning out, it was dry in there (I call it the Sahara Desert) and I needed some help.

Vaginal atrophy, also called atrophic vaginitis, is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to your body having less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause, but it can also develop during breast-feeding or at any other time your body’s estrogen production declines.  For many women, vaginal atrophy makes intercourse painful — and if intercourse hurts, your interest in sex will naturally decrease. In addition, healthy genital function is closely connected with healthy urinary system function.  Symptoms associated with his include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal burning
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Genital itching
  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • More urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Discomfort with intercourse
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal

I was  prescribed a vaginal cream called Estrace.   Estrace is a vaginal estrogen cream. You insert this cream directly into your vagina with an applicator, usually at bedtime. Your doctor will let you know how much cream to use and how often to insert it. Typically women use it daily for one to three weeks and then one to three times a week thereafter. Although creams may offer faster relief than do other forms of vaginal estrogen, they can be messier.

So, I start my journey with estrogen cream.  I’ll document it on occasion for those who are interested in how it works for me.   Trust me, I’ve tried OTC Replens (see my article HERE on that fiasco)  Also, please feel free to comment on your experiences, too as well.

spicynutmeg

Oral blessings for him

I was so glad to happen upon an article called Oral Blessings as I was doing some online reading today.   This was a very helpful and useful article!  I know that oral sex is something that my husband really loves…. not only because it feels good, but he is a visual person, so he likes the view…..   I have to admit, even though I have contributed to blogs like this one and Christian Nymphos for over 5 years, I do still have hang ups over oral sex.  I found in this article, it hits on one of my biggest hang ups…. the gag reflex.

The article gives you some great information on how to start if you haven’t or if you have hang ups, how to get yourself into the mindset that it is a blessing for him, and a very giving thing to do for him.  It also has sections on other common hangups, such as the taste of semen, his hair down there, the other areas of the body that are closest to that area, and the owie factor (like jaw pain) .  I found it to be a very good read, and I am bookmarking it for future reference.

Who knows… maybe I should start practicing while he is in the room….  where are those popsicles.  Not only would it be erotic for him, but he will know that I am working on the issues that I have.   :)

What hang ups do you have?   How have you overcome them?  Are you willing to overcome them to bless him?

Candida, Lactobacillus and E-Coli, oh my.

Well, I thought I would throw this out there to y’all and see if you can help me!  (Yes, yes…haha)   Over the past month and a half, I have been on so much medication for the above mentioned things… first I thought I had a yeast infection.  When OTC stuff wasn’t working, I made an appointment to see my doctor (I was horribly sore, red and swollen)  She prescribed me  fluconazole (Diflucan) and sent my swab off for testing.  I also started eating more yogurt, thinking it would be helpful.  Actually, I ended up contributing more to the problem…..

It came back not for yeast, but for lactobacillus.   I had NO IDEA what that was at the time, but Google has become my friend…. good or bad.  Haha.  Evidently, I have an over abundance of lactobacillus, the bacteria that disinfects the vagina.  When there is too much, it is processed into lactic acid, hence the burning and pain I was experiencing.   Baking soda baths and baking soda douching as well.  Went back again after 10 days, and she did another swab.  While it was MUCH better than my original exam, it still showed larger than normal amounts of lactobacillus.   More Diflucan.   To this date, I have had more Diflucan than I care to count.  I also underwent a 7 day in a row regimen in order to get it under control…. then came the E-Coli.

So along with the Diflucan came Sulfa-meth.  I had her refill the prescription when I went on vacation.  I didn’t want to be far away from her and home before it happened again.  It didn’t, but when we came home, it came back.

She is probably going to send me to a urologist when I call her back.  Here is my question…. is there anything I can add to my diet to lower the lactobacillus in my digestive system?  I know of using it in yogurt to help with yeast, but evidently it has worked the wrong way.   Any suggestions?  I always wipe from front to back…. so the E-Coli caught me off guard.   I can feel it coming back again, so I want to be proactive so I don’t have to be medicated again.    It really messes with sex, too.  We go “long” times between intercourse when I have these episodes, and it seems to come back after sexual intercourse.  We haven’t changed lubes… I thought that might be the case, but we’ve used Swiss Navy for a long time.  He doesn’t use a different soap than usual….

If you have any suggestions, I am all open for them!

Is Abstinence training giving Christian sex a bad reputation?

This past weekend, I found this article that I started reading because at first I was in full disagreement with it.  It can be found here.

As I began reading this article, I got a really bad taste in my mouth.  BUT I decided to try to keep my opinion neutral until I read the whole article.  I don’t know much about Relevant magazine, but I read on.

There are parts of it that I disagree with, and there are parts of it that I do agree with, and I thought it was worth taking the time to discuss it.

My husband and I will teach abstinence to our children.  We know FIRST HAND what can happen to a marriage where you did not save yourself for your spouse.   The first 11 years were a BIG struggle, but I let Satan take root in my past and cause so much pain to my husband, BUT my husband was NOT willing to give up the fight for our  marriage over sex.   He was ready to GIVE IT ALL UP for our marriage.   This is what we will include in our abstinence talks with our kids… that yes, you need to keep your purity for your spouse, but when you DO choose someone to spend your life with, that sex can be a wonderful gift, but you also need to realize that it WON’T be Hollywood style sex from your wedding night until death do you part.   It is not easy.  It isn’t always mind blowing.  It is a give and take.   It is a only a part of your marriage, it isn’t the ONLY thing in your marriage.   I am so eternally grateful that my husband valued our marriage over sex.   We could be living a sexless marriage, but a HAPPY marriage if God hadn’t intervened.    Sex is like an experiment.  If you get all the right ingredients in the right proportions, you’ll love it.  If you don’t communicate that something doesn’t feel right… something hurts… something stimulates you in a wrong way…. then it’s like a science experiment that will blow up in your face.

BUT if you have saved yourself for marriage, how do you know what is good sex and what is bad?  It is up to the newly married couple to MAKE it so.    It doesn’t mean that one partner is “good in bed” and the other isn’t.    I loved reading the COMMENTS back to this article, and that is where I got the most pleasure of reading the article.  The people who countered her.

I clicked the link to the article she was basically quoting…. Jessica  Henriquez’ story.  Jessica was 19-20ish when she married.  While I feel sorry for her that she went into marriage with the wrong impression, she, in a way, has the right idea in the end of her article… to a very small degree.  Here’s a quote from it “The key is to figure that out before you find yourself walking down an aisle in a dress that costs more than the family car (my mother has since reminded me). It isn’t the most important thing when it comes to love…  AHA   Yes, there is more to marriage than sex, the key is to really understand what you and your fiance expect.  Find it out BEFORE you get married.   Find out if you are on the same page and are willing to work it out …. Jessica checked out of sex from the beginning of her marriage and misled her husband into thinking she was into it.   She should have started communicating to him what she  needed.  What was wrong.  What could they do to make it better for HER since it was obvious it was good for him.  She ends her quote the totally wrong way though…. “But for me, I learned that sex is important enough not to wait.”

If either of my kids were to ask about my past, I would be truthful with them.  I had too many partners before I met my husband and honestly, he was one of them.   I wished that I had saved myself for him, but it didn’t work out that way.  Communication is the key to any marriage.  Have fun in your marriage bed.  Laugh at your mistakes and try again.   Neither one of you is “incompatible” with the other.  The bond between you, your spouse and your Lord and Savior are all you need to help you with ANY issue that comes up in your marriage.

Here’s my true thoughts.  Save yourself for marriage.  Get GOOD premarital counseling that includes what to expect sexually and how God intends sex to be.  If you go through counseling and DO NOT get counseling in this area, find another counselor!  Choose your spouse wisely.  Talk with your fiance about sex after marriage.  What do you expect?  What does he expect?  How can you work together?  What if there are difficulties in the first few nights?  Weeks?  Months?  Years?  What are you going to do?   Is divorce EVER an option over sex?  I loved the commenter who said that you don’t need “Desperate Housewives” or porn to coach you.   You are NOT incompatible with your spouse.  Incompatibility means that it will never work out…square peg in a round hole.  All issues can be worked out.  God placed you together, don’t ignore that fact.  If Jessica were “incompatible” with her husband at the time, it was by her choice, not by God’s design.  Ignore Hollywood sex.  It doesn’t always work that way.   Find you a good supportive church with people willing to help counsel you.  I would love someday to be a couple that helps counsel other married couples in our church.  In the meantime, I attempt to offer help and guidance here, but mark my words, I will never tell you to divorce over sex.   Marriage is so much more than that.   Be willing to compromise.  Use the Bible as your guide.  The TRUTH is in that book.   If it isn’t biblical, don’t do it.   God wants you to save yourself for marriage.

spicynutmeg

Support systems

Lord, help me surround myself with mature believers who will hold me accountable in all things, including my marriage.

This was a marriage prayer on The Marriage Bed’s Facebook page last week.   Today’s sermon at church got me thinking about this, too.

One of our Elders did the sermon today on 1 Timothy 1:12-20 today.   It was a reminder of the Gospel message, but also a message to Timothy not to give up on his faith.

1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

How many shipwrecked marriages do you know of?  How many couples have given up hope?  How many believers have lost faith in their marriage, their spouse and their God?  This Elder stressed to us that being a part of a church body, we should never have reason to lose our faith.   He was celebrating his 34th wedding anniversary that day he preached.  Another couple in our church had the exact same 34th wedding anniversary day, just a few hours later!  In my church body, there are so many couples whose marriages have stood the test of time.   His point was that marriage is hard.   Marriage is work.  There are going to be bad times as well as good times.  If we come to a point where we are giving up our faith in our spouse, find someone, another married couple, to talk with.   That is what your church body is for.  I have made so many friends of different generations at this church, and we’ve only been there about a year and a half.  It’s home, and I do feel that if I ever had trouble in my marriage or if DH and I needed counseling, there are so many different people to choose from.

This coming Monday, Hubby and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage.  Has it been easy?  No.  I was a refuser for 11 of those.   It was only by God’s grace and Hubby’s patience that we made it through that, and here I am today advising you.    Do you have a support system in your church where you can go for help if you needed it with your marriage?  A couple that you can trust that you may come to find out has been there, done that and got the T-shirt.  And they made it through.   My parents, later this year will celebrate 48 years of marriage.  Isn’t that incredible?  I am so proud of them.  It’s been hard.   It’s been a struggle in the past 4 years with three bouts of cancer, but they have stuck together like glue, and keep trudging forward.  They have given me so much to learn from.

Has your faith been tested?  Have you given up on God?  Just know that he never gives up on you.

1 Timothy 1:15  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

HDS vs LDS

This article drew my attention by just the title.   Contrary to popular belief, the HDS (high drive spouse) isn’t always the husband.   In my household, I am the LDS (low drive spouse).   A lot of what he talked about in the article really rings true.  I know all of those things.  I have heard my hubby say them many times.

Here are the 5 things the HDS feels:

1.  It’s part of who I am:  God created my DH special and unique.  His HDS is a part of that.

2. I can’t just turn it off:  When I went through my refusing years, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just turn it off.  I was tired and didn’t feel like making love.  Why wasn’t he tired, too?  It wasn’t until I realized it was how God created him that I tried to be more understanding and thinking more of what his needs were.

3.  The pain of “no” becomes too hard to hear after awhile:  He’s told me that many times.   I try now to not say no, but say when we can do it…. not in 2015, but maybe the next morning or the following evening.

4. I don’t expect you to be me, I just want you to be “naked and smiling“:   Haha.  This one made me laugh.  He just likes me to be naked…. ;)  Then again, it can’t be a forced smile…

5.  Meeting a sexual need doesn’t always mean intercourse:  he tells me this all the time.  One of these days, I will get it.

How does it work in your household?  Are you HDS or LDS?

#1 Thing Men Want More Of…. answer will surprise you!

Okay, well that is according to this article that I recently read, but honestly, it doesn’t surprise me.   Men say they want MORE communication!   Yes, you read that correctly.

Based on survey results from more than 70,000 respondents, the new book, The Normal Bar, provided a number of surprises. But the most surprising result I read about was when men in unhappy relationships were asked what they want most from their partners that they’re not getting. The authors/researchers expected to find that sex topped the list, but it didn’t make the top two.

Male respondents instead want more and better communication, saying their partners don’t listen to them attentively enough. Coming in second, they wanted more affection. In third place, they said they desired more sex.

Now, honestly, I will have to admit, that I didn’t think #1 was sex, but RESPECT.  I know that respect is HUGE for a man.  If he doesn’t feel respected, it really hurts him.  I know my husband feels that way, but I also know communication can be one of our weak points in our marriage,too at times, so I could see it being an important one as well.

What are your thoughts?  If you posed this question to your husband…”What is one thing in our marriage you want MORE of?” what would he say?   What do you need more of in your marriage?