Your Call: I Can’t Have Intercourse, Should I Let Him Sleep Around?

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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 by leaving your advice in the comments section below. 

Dear Em & Lo,

My husband and I married when we were 17. On our two-year anniversary, we separated for over six years (we’re back together now). The reason? I can’t have vaginal sex. My OB-GYN says that I have a very rare condition where my cells didn’t form a complete vaginal passage and because of that, my vagina is too short and my pelvic bones grew into the wrong place. She says that is why I feel extreme pain during attempted vaginal intercourse (he’s hitting the bone). There is corrective surgery available but my insurance is saying, “No, it’s not necessary for life.”

This has made my husband very angry and one day he blew up at me saying that he missed having vaginal sex (he was sexually active with other girls while we were separated). He and I have oral sex and anal sex, so we are having sex. Needless to say, his comment hurt me a lot. With the way things are going, I may never be able to have vaginal sex. Should I offer to let him sleep with other women so he can get some vaginal sex? Or am I asking for more problems than I’m trying to fix?

— Two Out of Three


  1. Oral and anal, sounds like a lucky guy. Maybe start saving for the operation may help.

  2. A lot of these comments seem to be coming from moral stand points that may or may not be the same as yours, If the idea of letting your partner seek outside intercourse doesn’t bother you, don’t let anyone else tell you it’s wrong.

    That being said there are a few things to consider.
    As human beings, sexual intercourse is generally an emotionally bonding experience due to the hormones released. Which in some situations can cause your partner to fall out of love with you and in love with the other party.
    There are also dangers with Sexually transmitted diseases which should always be considered when bringing other partners into a relationship.

  3. I’m really impressed with all the comments here. I wasn’t sure at first, but it is remarkably selfish for him to blow up at you just because you grew a few bones in the wrong place. I don’t have a penis, so I wouldn’t know, but my male friends have often said that anal is really not that different from vaginal intercourse, and some men even like it better. It seems that you’re making every possible accommodation by offering this, and really, short of enduring excruciating pain, what else does he expect you to do??? I’m sure you’d happily have sex with him if you could, and it’s not easy for you either!

    I’d say… open relationships are a two way street. If he is content with you being sexually involved with people who aren’t emotionally handicapped, then you can certainly allow him to have sex with people who aren’t vaginally handicapped. Your first step should be to ask him how it would make him feel if you had sex with someone else, and make sure you are upfront with how this would make you feel.

  4. Based on all the great comments from everyone else, myabe this should be your course of action: Push the issue with your insurance company. Possibly contact a lawyer to help you with your case. While you are trying to address the issue medically, keep things the same in your relationship. If you take the insurance issue as far as it can go (or as far as you are willing) and you cannot get the surgery, at that point maybe reconsider the open relationship thing. But, only do all of these things if they are truly what YOU want to do with your body and your mind.

  5. Many insurance companies deny all claims that aren’t immediately life threatening. However, if you are persistent and keep harassing them they will eventually cave and allow the surgery/treatment.

    This comes from both my personal experience and my wife working in psychiatry (where many medications aren’t “life threatening”).

    Also, ask if your insurance company covers Viagra. If it does, it almost has to allow your surgery since then are for similar problems.

    Best of luck.

  6. Johnny and “anonymous” both make excellent points.

    I wonder if a doctor would be willing to help you with the insurance issue. Make a stronger case, possibly including the ability to have children.

    If you do decide to allow him to sleep with other women, be very clear about your boundaries and find what set up you could be comfortable with. Communication with this sort of thing is paramount. If you aren’t comfortable at all with the idea, then don’t go for it.

  7. Everyone has made such fantastic comments, particularly Johnny’s. However, I’m tending towards the belief that this man is an asshole. As Johnny said you have been more than accomodating with your husband. I just don’t understand why you got back together if your inability to have vaginal sex was such a deal breaker for him.

    I have vaginismus so I completely understand the frustration this causes both parties. However, not one of my partners ever made me feel inadequate and most importantly none of them would have been happy having sex with me if it meant that I was in pain. Would you be happy forcing your husband to have sex if it meant that he was in pain? Of course not! If your husband is using this as an excuse to have sex with other women then, yes, in my opinion he is a total asshole.

  8. DTMFA!

    He sounds like a douche – making you feel guilty for how your bones formed? Expecting you to have sex that hurts like crazy? That guy is a manipulative ass-hat. You deserve better.

    He realizes that tons of couples (like gay couples) never have penile-vaginal intercourse and they’re just as happy and sexually fulfilled as straight couples, right?

  9. Your insurance company’s answer is interesting. You may want to talk to someone who knows something about insurance law (I do not). Federal courts have recognized that sexual relations qualifies as a “major life activity” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Your condition also probably affects your ability to have children (assuming that is something you and your husband want). Also a “major life activity.” There may be questions as to whether your insurance company reacted to quickly in order to save themselves some money.

  10. Oh yeah, your question – if you hated blowjobs and buttsex, I’d say yes, you’d better open things up to other women. But given how accommodating a partner you’ve been, and are willing to be, no, I don’t think you’re obligated to do that.

  11. You sound really cool. Blowjobs and buttsex are quite an awesome compensation for the lack of vaginal sex(regular buttsex!? Do you have any idea how rare that is for straight couples? How many guys would give a nut for that?). The fact that you’re willing to consider the other-women option shows how willing you are to work with your man on this. Like I said – you sound cool.

    As for your husband – you say he blew up at you “one day.” I’m sure this situation is frustrating for him too, and given the length of time you’ve been together, I’ll refrain from jumping to the conclusion that he’s an asshole – as long as this only happened ONE DAY. People are dicks sometimes. Hopefully he understands that he hurt you and he is sorry.

  12. Would it hurt you if he were to sleep with different women? If yes – don’t allow it.

    Sexuality is by far (as you seem to know) not only about vaginal sex, but about far more. For me, especially when I’m in a relationship, it is the physical expression of my desire for him, to be with him, to be close to him, to enjoy his touches and to let him enjoy, too. To be honest – it is only relatively rarely that we have vaginal sex, because there are so many different ways to enjoy each other’s body. You can be much more precise with your hands and mouth, anyway 😉 Just because you can’t do a certain variety of sex does not mean that something is wrong with you.

    To cut a long story short: If you two are to spend your lives together, you both have to be happy. If you both can be happy with him sleeping with other women, that’s alright. If this would make you unhappy, where’s the gain in it?

    If he just cannot accept you the way you are and if there’s no way to get that surgery (btw.: this insurance sucks! what kind of argument is that, “not necessary for life”??) and if you couldn’t stand an open relationship, maybe you should consider a separation for good. In a loving relationship, you should be accepted and loved as you are. You’re worth it.

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