Sometimes sex goes wrong–and you really need to seek some professional help!

There are times in every married couple’s life where the sexual part of their relationship is a little rockier than usual. Often it’s circumstantial–maybe you just moved, or you’re dealing with a health crisis, or maybe life has just plain-old thrown you yet another curve ball.

While it’s important in those seasons to work hard to reconnect and grow together, that’s not a cause for medical concern.

Unfortunately, though, sometimes sex isn’t just hard to find time for, it’s actually not working the way it should and it’s time to call in the medical professionals. For some people, this can be really embarrassing, but doctors and nurses are trained to help people with very sensitive topics and they really are used to it!

One of my assistants, Joanna, sought care from a pelvic floor physiotherapist after she had her first child and had a lot of tearing that led to pain during sex, and she describes the experience this way,

Having a baby is absolutely amazing, but it’s also a really traumatic experience for your body, especially the pelvic floor, which is the muscles that control urination and which surround the vagina. My pelvic floor physiotherapist was a huge help to me – she was extremely professional and I always felt really comfortable talking with her, even about really sensitive topics. I also found that she was really good at chatting with me as we worked on relieving pelvic floor tension. And the exercises were great and they made a HUGE difference. Genuinely, it was incredibly helpful and I’d recommend seeking care to anyone who has pelvic floor pain, incontinence, or pain during sex.

Seeking help can save you so much pain, so much emotional turmoil, and so many marriage problems!

When is it time to go and get help for sexual problems? Here are my top 10 reasons:

1. If sex is painful

Painful sex due to vaginismus is a big part of my story. Many women experience a bit of discomfort during sex, but it’s relieved by switching to a different position or adjusting the depth of penetration. If, however, sex is painful consistently, or if you feel pain like  a burning sensation in the vulva, you may be experiencing vaginismus (pain during sex caused by involuntary tightening of the muscles in the vagina), vulvodynia (a pain disorder which causes a burning sensation in the vulva), or dyspareunia (pain during sex, broadly).

There are a variety of treatments available, depending upon the cause of the pain you’re experiencing. If your pain is keeping you from enjoying sex, don’t settle for that! You and your marriage are worth doing the hard thing of getting help from your doctor.


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2. If you’ve just given birth

Childbirth causes a lot of stress on your pelvic floor! Lots of women will also experience tearing, which causes scar tissue that needs to be relaxed and stretched. Pelvic floor physiotherapists recommend getting checked out early in the third trimester and after you’ve given birth to help prevent problems and also treat any that come up.

3. If you can’t orgasm

I’ve written lots about how to achieve orgasm on the blog and for many couples, sustained work and attention is enough to manage it. However, for some people, this doesn’t work. It can be caused by psychological factors, by medications, or by physiological changes, especially  in menopause. If you have worked through the exercises in 31 Days to Great Sex, and you still have never been able to have an orgasm, it may be worth seeing a doctor (or, if you think the problem is due to trauma or same, a counselor). 

4. If he orgasms too quickly

Most men can orgasm in 3-4 minutes if they try, but most men can also draw this out much longer with some effort. If your husband ejaculates in just a few minutes, and with minimal stimulation, he could be suffering from premature ejaculation. If you have talked to him about your need for more foreplay or your need to receive pleasure, too, and he’s trying but is unable, then talk to a doctor. There are some treatments, and you can also learn the start-and-stop technique which can be beneficial for helping him last longer, too. 


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5. If you never want sex

Many people wish their libido could be higher–especially women! That’s why I made my Boost Your Libido course for women! In the vast majority of cases, libido is something which you can boost through having a better mindset, better understanding your body, and eating better, all of which are covered in the course.

However, some people have libido issues that go beyond this. If you never have sexual dreams; if you have a difficult time getting aroused; and if you never spontaneously think about sex, you may be experiencing hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Your doctor can help you figure out the cause of your lack of desire and figure out what treatment will work best. A good friend of mine discovered that her lack of libido was caused by low progesterone and found that her doctor’s suggestion that she take medication to correct her hormonal imbalance made a world of difference. Many men on the blog have reported that taking testosterone shots changed their marriages! 

Are you TIRED of always being too tired?

Boost Your Libido Tall 1 - 10 Signs Something's Wrong with Sex--and You Should Seek Help

Do you yearn to actually WANT to make love–and figure out what all the fuss is about?

There is a way! And in this 10-module course I take you through what libido is (it may surprise you!), what affects libido, and how we can reclaim the excitement that God made us for.

6. If he can’t start or sustain an erection

Erectile dysfunction is a common part of the aging process in men. However, increasingly younger men are also suffering from erectile dysfunction caused by porn use. On top of all of this, erectile dysfunction is often a sign of heart issues (which is why it’s common as men begin to age and hearts become weaker). If you are consistently having difficulty maintaining or getting an erection, and it isn’t linked to porn use, please see your doctor! This may be a symptom of something much more severe, and it never hurts to get it checked out. If it could be caused by porn use, then quit porn, get some counseling, and put it behind you once and for all.


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7. If having sex makes you feel sick or very sad

For some people, orgasm causes a variety of symptoms, ranging from headaches to muscle pain to anxiety attacks to depression. There are a number of conditions that can make people feel ill after they’ve experienced orgasm, and if this is something you’re experiencing, it’s important that you speak to your doctor about it. I’ve also written before about the “post-sex blues“, especially among women, which can be caused by the same hormonal imbalance that often causes postpartum depression. Please see your physician about it. In some cases there are things they can do to help you.

God made sex to be AWESOME!

GoodGirlsGuide1 - 10 Signs Something's Wrong with Sex--and You Should Seek Help

I struggled a LOT with that concept early in my marriage. 

But you know what? You don’t need to settle for less-than-great sex! 

8. If you are leaking urine or have the urge to “go” frequently but don’t have much urine to pass

Urinary incontinence is an extremely common problem, especially for women. It’s especially common in pregnancy and as a part of the aging process. If you’re leaking urine throughout the day, find that you have little “accidents” when you sneeze or jump, or have the urge to pee but don’t have anything to pass, ask your doctor about seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist. It’s actually a very treatable condition and with modern treatment methods, you don’t need to keep dealing with the stress and worry that come with incontinence. If you’re a guy, it could also be related to prostate issues, and needs to be seen.

9. If you experience discomfort, itchiness, or blisters “down there”

For women, itchiness could indicate vaginal bacterial infections such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. These are unpleasant and really uncomfortable but are easily treated if you deal with them quickly! As well, this may indicate a urinary tract infection if you’re experiencing burning sensations when you pee (men can get these, too, by the way!).

If you ever notice any sort of blisters, warts, or just general abnormalities in the genital region it is always wise to have a medical professional look at it. If your partner or you has had past partners and never got tested for STDs before you got married, this is especially urgent as it may be a symptom of an STD. Many sexually transmitted infections and diseases can remain in the system without showing symptoms for long periods of time, so it’s always a good idea to see a doctor just to rule it out and figure out what the cause of the discomfort is.

10. If you ever hear a “crack” during sex

I cannot emphasize this enough: if you hear a crack, call an ambulance as quickly as you can. Very rarely, if something goes wrong during sex with the angle a couple is using or if her weight is suddenly being supported by his penis, it can get really badly sprained and it may need surgery.

To prevent this, as a general rule, any sort of position where her weight is at all being held up by his penis is an absolute no-go. Just don’t do it. If he wants to be standing during sex, have her weight rest on a surface like a bed and he can enter her from there. But it’s just not worth the risk to do the positions where he’s holding her up–it can go bad real quick.


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10 things that can go wrong with sex--when to see a doctor, when to get help for sexual dysfunction in your marriage

So there you have it! Those are 10 times you may need to see a medical professional about sexual issues. Do you have any more that you would add to the list? Do you have any experience with treatments that have worked for your marriage? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

SheilaSidebarAboutMe - 10 Signs Something's Wrong with Sex--and You Should Seek Help Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 27 years and happily married for 22! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature "Girl Talk" about sex and marriage. And she's written 8 books. About sex and marriage. See a theme here? Plus she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.
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