Thursday 21 November 2019

Dear Mary: I can't tell my boyfriend that I'm terrified of making love

young couple in a bed bored woman
young couple in a bed bored woman

I am in my early 20s and in love with a wonderful man. He has now started talking of getting married and I am so excited – and so terrified at the same time.

You see, I had sex with a boy when I was in Sixth Year and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life. I can't tell you how much I was disgusted by the whole experience and I swore off sex for the rest of my life. I even considered becoming a nun.

Now when I am with my boyfriend he has often tried to start something sexual and I have always put him off. I think he thinks that I am so pure that I refuse to have sex until we get married. He doesn't know how terrified I am.

Can anybody help me? I don't want him to know but it is getting really serious now.

Mary replies:

It is such a pity that your first experience of sex was so bad. I'm assuming that he was around the same age as you were and it was, most likely, one of his first experiences also.

In their rush to 'do it', young people often do not take the time to first get to know each other's bodies and responses, which can result in very negative early thoughts regarding sex. It can be a little frightening for a young girl to actually have intercourse when she may not even have seen a naked man – let alone an erection – prior to that. Indeed, it can be quite uncomfortable the first time she does it, no matter how well prepared the girl is.

However, in spite of all this, girls and guys usually go on to experiment further, gain confidence in the process and really get to like sex, but this did not happen with you. You shut down altogether rather than repeat the initial bad experience, and I can fully understand this happening.

But now you are in a serious relationship and your boyfriend is talking about getting married, so he really deserves to know what has happened to you in order to be of help.

In any case, you can't continue to put him off, as he is only human and will want to express his love for you. But this doesn't mean that you will have to have full sex straight away. After you have told him of your unfortunate experience you should suggest that you start in small steps, just by kissing and gently stroking.

Get him to promise that things will go at your pace and then relax and enjoy the sensations that simple kissing will give you when you are not scared.

Gradually, you can progress to more intimate things and you will learn that sex is not the horrible disgusting thing that you think it is, but rather a pleasure that is very much increased by being in love with the person with whom you are having it.

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