Your Call: Can I Expect Pleasure If My Wife Is in Pain?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

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Dear Em & Lo,

My wife has a condition that basically when she has an orgasm she has very uncomfortable pain in her chest and coughs for a period of time. Now this is not that she is unable to have an orgasm its that she currently doesn’t feel that an orgasm is worth the pain and discomfort that it will cause.  So obviously that means no sex. This has been the case for the last 3 months. 

I have been patient but I want to feel the connection that sex brings. I am ok with not having vaginal sex so that she doesn’t have an orgasm, but there are many things that she can do with me that would make me feel that same or at least close-to-the-same connection that the intimacy of love-making brings. I have said that I would be ok with just having her lie next to me while I masturbated (she would not even have to touch me) just so I can feel close to her in an intimate way.

So my question is: am I out of line and unreasonable to ask some kind of intimate replacement for vaginal sex from her or should I not expect to have an orgasm if she isn’t as well? I am willing to do whatever she wants and is willing to do in order to achieve the intimacy, but she does not want to do anything.

— Neglected

What advice do you have for Neglected? Leave it in the comments section below.


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8 Comments on "Your Call: Can I Expect Pleasure If My Wife Is in Pain?"

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“she currently doesn’t feel that an orgasm is worth the pain and discomfort that it will cause. So obviously that means no sex. ” I don’t see how the second statement necessarily follows from the first. If she experiences pain with orgasm, I would think that sexual intercourse/pleasure for both of you that simply does not lead to her having an orgasm (or her being close to an orgasm in order to avoid her painful symptoms) is not only reasonable but virtually required ina healthy relationship. “I have pain when I orgasm” leading to “we don’t have sex or physical… Read more »
Has your wife been to a doctor about this? If not, encourage her to do. First – because it could be something serious (see above). Second – because it is not acceptable to allow a physical ailment to completely shut down the sex in a relationship without at least trying to address it. It would be one thing if she had sought help and help had failed her. It’s another thing to hide behind an ailment, which it does look like she is doing (I’m not going to go as far as Johnny and call bullshit on her symptoms). She… Read more »
^ Ah. That clears it up. My diagnosis: total bullshit. Pain in her chest? Coughing? From an orgasm? Unheard of. This is avoidant behavior. She just doesn’t want to have sex. First of all, as you’ve pointed out, there are plenty of variations on sexuality/intimacy that don’t have to result in “painful in the chest” vaginal orgasm. Second of all, women are shameless malingerers – amirite, fellas? Ever notice that a woman’s “health” tends to act up in conjunction with her moods? Like, she coincidentally seems to get a “stomach ache” or a “headache” or a “fever” that a thermometer… Read more »
Like the others, I feel like the letter is missing something. The headline mentions pain, but the letter says nothing about it. I’m going to infer that you and your wife are not having vaginal sex because vaginal sex causes her pain. If that’s the case, there are a lot of other things you could be doing instead, but it sounds like your wife isn’t interested. Is this a recent development, or a long term issue? If it’s a recent development, a little patience is in order. If not, you two need to sit down and talk. No one should… Read more »
I’m confused. This letter seems to be leaving out some pertinent info. But, regardless, the answer is likely to be the same. It’s fair for you to need intimacy from your wife. But, sometimes relationships go through stagnant phases, especially if one person has had she type of injury or medical issue. If she is experiencing some type of temporary medical condition, then maybe you should just give her some more time and take care of your needs on your own. Yes, it kinda sucks that she is checked out. But, pressuring her will only prolong the problem. Let her… Read more »