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February 19, 2019

My ex-girlfriend hated my touch

Hi Valentine,

I read your column regularly and I need your help. I had a girlfriend with whom I broke up with recently after 10 months of dating. The reason we split is because everytime we began having sex, she complained of feeling pain and forced me to stop, sometimes pushing me away. I have never enjoyed sex with her to my satisfaction. I thought maybe if I prolonged our foreplay it would help, but it didn’t. In fact she discouraged it and asked me to stop immediately I touched her. I complied but again it didn’t help. I know she loves me and I still love her but last Thursday, we came to an agreement to terminate our relationship after considering the fact that if we move to marriage with this problem, troubles may arise. I thought should seek your advice even though I maybe too late.



Michael I am so sorry for your loss. Break-ups are tough and I think one of the things that makes them tougher is that the people around you do not always acknowledge that you are in pain.

We honour the sorrow of widows and widowers, and we recognise that people grieve after divorce but after a break up you are sometimes offered generic advice like ‘get over it!’ or statements that dishonour your whole experience of the person like ‘there are other fish in the sea’.

There are other fish, but you wanted this one and you dreamt of spending your life with her and having kids with her. To further complicate things, your relationship has not ended because either of you treated the other badly, or have shown yourselves to be cruel people. Instead it is a sexual problem. So what to do?

Painful sex might be a product of several things. The most obvious is vaginismus, where the vagina contracts so tightly that it will not allow a penis in. This is treated with lubrication and the systematic insertion of larger and larger dildos into the vagina – from a narrow two inch long one until you get to about 6 inches in length and about 4 inches in girth. Women and girls in this country are at high risk for rape and sexual abuse and your partner might be a victim. The transition from victim to survivor is a difficult process involving counseling. The fact that your girlfriend rejected foreplay suggests that she does not like receiving pleasure. It makes most of us feel vulnerable and exposed. Many of us have issues receiving affection and love – from basic compliments on how we look, to gifts from loved ones and physical touch.

We could keep guessing but it is clear that you love this woman and despite your conversation last week, you are not ready to let her go. I suggest you go to the Amani counseling centre together.

They offer free therapy and this should benefit not only your sex life but also your communication as you both get to know yourselves and each other better.


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