Had to Have Hymen Surgically Removed. Now Afraid of Sex

Profile picture for user Betty Dodson

Betty Dodson

Dear Dr. Betty,

I'm sorry to bother you, but I have a question relating to sex, and having read through several pages of your website, I believe that you are the best person to ask. I also apologize in advance for the length of this message. This is a serious issue for me and I want to ensure that I explain it fully.

To cut down on the length a little, I'm going to summarize some
important points for you now:

* I'm twenty years old, and a virgin
* the women in my family have all had trouble with their hymens being too thick
* I have never been able to insert more than a finger without extreme pain, because the hymenal ring would never stretch, even after years of trying
* two weeks ago I finally had my hymen surgically removed

My problem now is that I am afraid of sex. I have never been sexually abused in any way, but I feel like I have the mentality of a rape victim. I'm not sure whether or not the whole hymen issue is relevant, because it's a problem that is resolved now, I just thought it was worth mentioning.

My fear is not so much a fear of sex as it is a fear of MEN. I am afraid of being raped, and watching rape scenes in moves and shows makes me cry and shake and feel physically sick. I feel like men don't understand why rape is so awful, and they would do it more often if they could get away with it. I feel like they don't understand how the female body works, and they will happily abuse it without caring whether or not a woman feels pain. And I feel like every part of a relationship, leading up to sex, is just a lie, and that men just pretend to love you to get sex. I want to stress here that I KNOW this is illogical and unfair, and that it can't possibly be true of all men. It's just an underlying fear that I have, and that I can't seem to control.

I am worried that I will never feel comfortable enough with a man to let him make love to me, because so far thoughts of actually taking that step with someone make me upset. I want to, but I'm scared. I have a healthy libido and can climax myself, it's just that I'm so afraid of my body being used that I don't think I'll ever be able to actually have sex.

I wanted to ask you how I can overcome this, and where you think it stems from? I have an idea, but it doesn't fully make sense to me. I lost a lot of father figures throughout my childhood, and when I was ten I was very openly and cruelly rejected by my actual father. He severed all contact with me for no reason, but not with his other child. This caused me a lot of pain, and I had to have help from child psychologists for a long time because I developed a severe anxiety disorder and started having panic attacks. I know this must be where my fear of men stems from, but this trauma had nothing to do with sex, so I don't understand how it can be affecting me in this way.

Do you think my fear of sex is due to my issues with my father, or do you think it's more likely that I have suffered so much vaginal pain because of my hymen that I have become afraid of penetration?

I cannot see a psychosexual therapist about this, because I live in Britain and there is a year long waiting list. I have already been on the waiting list and was assigned a therapist, but she was offensive and cruel, and I don't feel comfortable seeing her anymore. Therefore, to see another therapist I would have to start all over again and wait a year or two before being seen. Will I be able to overcome these issues on my own?

Thank you for reading this far, I hope you have time to reply.


Dear R,

I find it very interesting how many of my questioners answer their own questions very correctly. Indeed we are often our own best therapists and doctors.

"Do you think my fear of sex is due to my issues with my father, or do you think it's more likely that I have suffered so much vaginal pain because of my hymen that I have become afraid of penetration?"

I would answer "yes" to both of these issues. As long as you feel fearful of having sex with a young man, then don't do it.

Carlin and I have been comparing notes and both of us had a minimum of sex with boys in our twenties. She was going to law school and I was studying art. We were both very serious students. She was actually married and I was having my mini monogamous love affairs.

Many young men in their twenties are not schooled in the art of lovemaking. It not their fault. We really don't offer any decent sex education that deals with sexual pleasure. For now, my recommendation for you would be to learn about your own body by exploring masturbation including vaginal penetration. We have all the available information on the website. There is no rule that says a young woman MUST have sex with a partner until she feels like it. So chill out and have a love affair with yourself.