Ive had sex only once, 20 years ago. It was reading week at university, so I went to London to stay with my boyfriend. Wed been dating long distance for 10 months, and it had taken me that long to feel ready. That Wednesday, after he left for work, Iwalked to the pharmacy to buy condoms and lube. Then Itidied and made the bed, twitching with nerves.
I expected it to be painful and awkward the first time, but it wasnt. We kept whispering to each other about how good it felt and how we should have done it sooner. But when we tried to have sex again, we couldnt: it was as if my vagina had slammed shut.
I was too embarrassed to see a doctor, but Idiagnosed myself with vaginismus, an involuntary clenching of the vaginal muscles that can make it impossible to have penetrative sex. Apparently, its linked to anxiety, but Im not sure what I was so anxious about the possibility of getting pregnant, perhaps, or the fact that, deep down, I knew my boyfriend wasnt right for me. (He later proved it by joining the Conservative party.)
He was understanding, though, and we stayed together for another five years. Perhaps he was secretly frustrated, and perhaps I should have seen a doctor, but we were both having regular orgasms through non-penetrative sex, so it wasnt a priority.
I thought Id meet someone else eventually, and work my way up to a full sexual relationship, but Im almost 40 and it hasnt happened yet. I havent sought out a relationship because I feel as if penetrative sex is expected, very quickly, in modern dating. I dont mind too much: being single means no one ever asks me to sit through an episode of Star Trek. And I still have regular orgasms.
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