17 Years without Sex Inspire Fears of Intimacy

Jean Dohm's picture
By Jean Dohm Conditions: Women's Low Sex Drive Causes: intimacy fear Age: 36 - 55

She went through a divorce 17 years ago and has remained celibate ever since. Now she’s in a new relationship and ready to again have sex. The problem is she’s scared, especially of pain, and her fears are taking away from her sex drive.

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After I got divorced, I vowed to stop having sex. Now that I have found love I see the passion rekindling. But I got divorced 17 years ago, and I have yet to have sex again. Now my boyfriend wants to have sex. I do too, but I feel a bit, well, scared. I’m worried that after so many years, I may experience pain. And the fear of pain diminishes my sex drive. What can I do?


Your vow to remain celibate after getting divorced was likely your way of avoiding future hurt. A lot of women make similar decisions after a traumatic relationship; some want to engage in intercourse as often as possible to prove they are still desirable, while others strive to avoid sex and intimacy at all costs. The 17 years you spent alone were probably necessary for you to come to terms with the divorce and also forge a new path for yourself.
Sexual desire is a process that slowly unfolds. You’ve overcome the past and are ready to start something new for the future. This means you’ve already taken the first step in establishing an intimate relationship. It will thus be easy to assuage your fears with just a few, simple steps.
Divorce and the End of Intimacy
Four out of 10 marriages end in divorce, according to the National Social Science Association. For many, this ending comes after a period of intense arguing and blaming. Intimacy does not flourish in such environments, and sex usually comes to a screeching halt before the marriage itself does.
In the time following a divorce, people struggle to once more identify who they are. Many women must adjust to changes in finances while providing sole care for their kids or learning to live entirely on their own. Women who wanted the divorce also contend with feelings of guilt, while those who didn’t want it struggle with self-confidence.
The cumulative effect of these factors can mean a loss of libido. Over time, that can translate to fear of sexual intimacy. Women who fear sex might push others away or avoid personal relationships altogether. This is disheartening, not only because connecting with others can renew the spirit, but also because intimacy brings numerous health benefits. 
Why Divorce Brings Fears of Sex
Getting involved in an intimate relationship makes you vulnerable to hurt. You already feel shaky and unsure of yourself, and on top of that you’re opening your heart to another person. This is a big step to take after enduring a failed relationship. So don’t diminish in your head the idea of sex and starting fresh; you’re right to be weary.
The other component of your fear is loss of protection. Your husband protected you during the marriage, and your self-imposed celibacy gave protection while you were single. On top of this, your fear of physical pain is probably mingled with a fear of emotional pain. It might therefore help to know the vagina is a muscle designed to expand and contract during intercourse and childbirth. This muscle does not become tighter when you don’t engage in sex. The first time with your boyfriend might be a little uncomfortable, but you’ll quickly find your rhythm and remember the pleasure that comes from intimacy.
Natural Remedies
Avoid negative thinking in this time and concentrate only on positive thoughts. Don’t give in to self-doubt and definitely don’t listen to nagging reminders of the past. You’ll be better prepared for sex and more likely to enjoy it if you are optimistic and hopeful.
To ensure you feel nothing but desire when you do have intercourse, set the scene for romance with candles, kissing and relaxation. Similarly, a blend of all-natural herbs can increase blood flow to your genitals, while a sensual massage will have you longing for more of your boyfriend’s touch. (SEE: Restart Your Sex Drive Herbal Remedy) Remember to keep the mood light and be easy on yourself. The only expectation should be for that of the future pleasure you’re sure to feel.

What to do

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