Valentine’s day may not be a happy day for you if you’re suffering with vulvodynia or pelvic pain of any kind.
A holiday that sets up expectations of romance, intimacy and sex (with roses, chocolate, and lingerie) can understandably feel like a lot of pressure when sex hurts, or you’re in so much pain you don’t feel like being intimate at all.
It’s not only pain, and fear of pain that are a problem, but also all the other mental and emotional suffering that go along with it…
Like feeling guilty, broken or not good enough, worry that you’re letting your partner down or that you’ll never find a partner if you’re single, or the persistent fear that you’ll end up alone.
WIth a partner or without…..this holiday can exacerbate fears of being alone and never getting better, feelings of being damaged or broken, and frustration that you can’t enjoy sex and relationships the way you want to!
So today I’m sharing my top 5 tips for coping with pelvic pain through Valentine’s Day
1. Take the pressure off!
Are you feeling pressure to have sex, please your partner, find a partner, or relieve your pain? Whatever it is, the best thing you can do to feel better ….is take that pressure off. Stop telling yourself you need to be any way other than you are right now. As best as you can embrace yourself and your life exactly the way it is. That kind of self-acceptance and love is so important to calm your nervous system and allow your body to heal. How can you take some pressure off yourself today?
2. Dive into Self Love FIRST
What can you do to love and nurture yourself now? Valentine’s day is about LOVE, all kinds of love, not only romantic love. And of course, the most important person to love in your life is YOU. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation of all other relationships. Some of my favorite loving things to do for myself (in winter) are… sleep, put on a soft cozy robe, cuddle up under a warm blanket, and fill myself up with love. To do this, just close your eyes, breathe into your low belly and imagine a warm golden light flowing in through your heart and filling every cell of your body. You deserve love, kindness and compassion and you can give it to yourself.
3. Trust Yourself, Trust Your Body.
In other words, DO NOT HAVE SEX OR DO ANYTHING ELSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO. Including… don’t go on a date you don’t want to go on, and definitely don’t engage in any intimacy or sexual activity that isn’t a “hell yes!” for you and your body. You DO NOT owe it to your partner or anyone else, for any reason. I don’t care how loving, and wonderful, and patient they are (if they are actually loving they won’t want you to do something you don’t want to do). That should probably go without saying, but I have too much experience talking with women in pain, to know that’s not the case. It needs to be said. (Here is an excellent article that goes more in depth into the cultural conditioning women struggle with around this: http://theweek.com/articles/749978/female-price-male-pleasure ) Trust yourself and your body. Honor what you do and do not want to do.
4. Focus on Pleasure
This is my favorite and it doesn’t have to be sexual (though it can be!). Allow yourself to explore what brings you pleasure, what feels juicy and delicious. You don’t need a partner, unless you want one. Pleasure can be anything that feels good in your body, from rest and a great book or favorite movie, to a bath, to holding hands and talking. Want more ideas to get you started: Here’s a bunch, along with why focusing on pleasure (when it’s the last thing you may want to do) is such an important part of pelvic pain relief!
5. Speak up.
Share how you feel! With a partner or a friend. Most of my clients are very pleasantly surprised when they let their partners know what’s really going on for them. We are often afraid to speak up about what we need, but when we do it gives our friends and partners a chance to meet our needs…which is actually what most of them want to do. I can’t tell you how many women discover that they are putting pressure on themselves in ways their partners would never want them to. Sharing what’s really going on for you builds intimacy (much more than unrealistic expectations and self judgment)…and that seems like an appropriate thing to do on Valentine’s day.
I hope these Valentine’s tips help you sprinkle some love, joy, and connection into what can be a stressful holiday when you’ve got pelvic pain.
You deserve love, and to treat yourself like the goddess that you are.