The Emotional Weight of Having an STD

The Emotional Weight of Having an STD

Sad Woman Crying

As an OB-Gyn physician one of the most frequent difficult discussions I have with women is about STDs – sexually transmitted diseases. You can find lots of information about STDs from many sources – your doctor, school sex education, medical or health websites, etc. You can see pictures of the physical effects, read about the symptoms, and find out what treatments are available. But almost nobody talks about the emotional weight of having an STD.

Within just the last few weeks I’ve heard from women carrying an enormous load:

  • The young wife who thought she had escaped getting the herpes her husband has, but just tested positive and can’t get rid of the “dirty” feeling
  • The young mother wondering if there will ever be an end to the procedures she will need for the HPV (human papilloma virus) on her cervix
  • The recent divorcee whose ex-husband is telling everyone about the herpes she developed prior to their marriage decades ago
  • The recently retired wife still holding the hurt of a chlamydia infection years ago, knowing SHE had never gone outside her marriage for sex
Continue reading...
7 Ingredients to Rebuilding Trust Between You and Your Spouse

7 Ingredients to Rebuilding Trust Between You and Your Spouse

A long-haul truck driver called our radio program. He worried about his wife every time he left home. It wasn’t that she couldn’t take care of herself, but that she might be taking care of herself too well. He wasn’t certain she was cheating on him, but it concerned him. He didn’t trust her.

Seven years into their marriage Jasmine’s heart nearly stopped when Clint said one night, “I need to talk to you.” Visions of terrible things went through her mind. The truth wasn’t as bad as she at first feared, but it was bad enough to shatter her illusion of a perfect marriage. Clint had been gambling away their bank account over the last six months and they were now broke. How could she ever trust him again?

Trust is the lubricant that makes a marriage run smoothly. It’s precious, relatively fragile, and it can be broken in a moment. The most vulnerable areas where trust can be broken are money, addiction, and sex. The hiding becomes as bad or worse than the actual acts. Feelings of shame on one side and betrayal on the other signal perhaps the biggest challenges any married couple can face.

I’m not here to draw a line on what constitutes a big enough breach of trust to end a marriage over. That’s another topic. Here I want to outline the necessary ingredients that might allow a marriage to recover once trust has been broken regardless of how small or large the specific act(s) was that broke that trust.

Continue reading...
What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

Three years ago the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy became a publishing phenomenon. And 10 days ago the movie version made a box office splash. Christian bloggers, speakers, and talk-show hosts have offered strong criticism decrying the graphic portrayal of sexuality and male-female roles in a way that they find offensive.

But Christian woman have been reading the books and watching the movie. And at least some of them have felt dirty, guilty, or otherwise uncomfortable afterwards. If you’ve watched or read and feel in some way guilty after watching 50 Shades, then this post is for you.

Our society provides many opportunities to become desensitized to ungodly things. Messages relating to both violence and sexuality are present all around us. Perhaps one might think, “Why not become familiar with what everyone is talking about? Then I can engage intelligently. And surely there’s redeeming value even in what seems somewhat negative. I’ll focus on the good parts.”

And then you read. Or you watch. And something in you changes. If you read the entire book (or series), you undoubtedly had a more difficult time reading the first explicit passages, and things became easier as you continued. Just that experience alone should demonstrate to you how easy it is to become desensitized.

If there’s something in you that feels uncomfortable after engaging with 50 Shades of Grey, that’s a good thing. That demonstrates you are not closed to the Holy Spirit’s tug on your heart. I encourage you to listen, to follow that discomfort, and hear whatever God might want to tell you.

And let me point out that if you’ve struggled to justify watching or reading this material, that very fact should remind you that something in you knows it’s not OK with God.

Here are a few suggestions about what to do with the discomfort you may be feeling:

Continue reading...
Enjoying Sex After Menopause

Enjoying Sex After Menopause

Some men complain their wives lose interest in intimacy around the time of menopause. Some women complain they can’t enjoy sex the way they used to. These changes can put a lot of stress on a marriage. But sex after menopause can be meaningful and satisfying.

A woman’s sexual response is a very delicate and interconnected thing. Physical discomfort, hormonal changes, stress – all that and more can affect her desire and ability to engage in intimacy. It may often be difficult to decide exactly which factor is most important.

As a gynecologist I’ve helped women with these problems for many years. And I know menopause does not have to be the end of desire: it can be the beginning! I will always remember one lovely lady I saw as a patient who married for the first time at age 56. She and her husband quickly enjoyed a healthy and enjoyable sex life. I believe you can too.

Here are some things you can do to maintain and even improve intimacy with your husband during and after menopause – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You can enjoy sex after menopause.

Physical Intimacy

Continue reading...
How to Enjoy Sex With Your Husband

How to Enjoy Sex With Your Husband

Bedroom conflict is at it again. Husband wants sex with wife and she doesn’t want to give it. Wife wants husband to show interest in intimacy with her but he doesn’t. Both men and women feel lonely, unwanted, frustrated, and sometimes desperate and angry. It leaves some wondering, “Could I have married the wrong person?”

And then there are plenty of women who wish their husbands would just leave them alone. Perhaps sex is physically uncomfortable. Maybe it takes too much energy and you’re tired. You might not feel close to him at all right now, or even like him very much. Sex may bring up unpleasant or painful emotional feelings, perhaps from the past. Or maybe you feel like his request or “need” for sex in an intrusion into the life you really wish you could have.

A woman’s sexual response can be affected by many different things. If sex causes physical pain her brain will naturally try to avoid it and she will find it difficult to respond sexually. Unwanted memories may intrude and prevent her body and mind from responding. Busy-ness, worry, fatigue, or fear will shut her down. A woman usually responds best when she feels safe, close, and connected. For women, sex is a great deal more in the mind than anywhere else.

So how’s a woman to go about making this part of her marriage pleasant, or even enjoyable?

Here are some things that will help you enjoy sex with your husband:

Continue reading...