My husband’s big penis is destroying our sex life | Life and style

My husband has a big penis and every time we have sex my vulva tears. We use silicone lubricant (water-based dried up too quickly) and avoid certain positions, to no avail. That is the only advice I have ever found online and I am too embarrassed to ask my GP for help. This has only been a problem with my husband, not previous partners. Is there anything else we can do to avoid injury? It has reduced our sex life greatly, as it makes me nervous to initiate anything. My husband is very understanding and gentle, and we do oral or manual stimulation, but I miss the intimacy of penetrative sex. We have been together almost 10 years and the tearing is getting worse.

Stop allowing penetration until you can fix this. The tearing and pain will probably get even worse; in fact you may already be suffering from vaginismus, which is where your vagina fails to become open and lubricated in preparation for sex because previous pain has set up a protective reflex. There are a number of options to make your sex life comfortable and pleasurable again.

First, do not allow the prospect of discussing your husband’s big penis stop you from getting help. You are not alone; many couples have such a problem and fail to receive help for the same reason. You may need treatment for vaginismus or a course of self-dilation – a good sex therapist can help you with this. Most importantly, you must never again allow penetration until you are fully ready and desirous – and confident it can be comfortable.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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