The photo used here is by Stephanie Sarley, an American multimedia surrealist artist. If you’re not familiar with her work, check out her website by clicking this image.

I’m linking this post to Molly’s Pussy Pride Project, that has been open since 2011 and has more than 85 links added!

{Content Warning: references to sexual trauma}

I recently had my IUD replaced in mid December. As medical appointments go it was excellent; a fabulous new ob/gyn clinic, lovely staff and doctor, and a relatively easy insertion considering that I have “the most anterior cervix she’s ever seen”, according to my gynocologist. Since then I have had a bit more cramping and discomfort than with my first IUD 6 years ago, but the pain has been minimal and brief when it does strike.

What I wasn’t bargaining for was feeling like a stranger in my own body: since my IUD replacement I am suddenly repulsed by the concept of penetration.

I don’t write this to denigrate IUDs at all, I am still happy with my choice, and I’m choosing to believe that this feeling (a body, but not gender, dysphoria of sorts?) is temporary, because to believe anything else would be honestly a bit devastating. I really love penetration, I always have, and PinV is a staple in my sex life, but currently, just the thought of it makes me anxious and upset. It would seem reasonable to assume that the fear of pain or unnecessary discomfort would be the reason, but it isn’t that. Perhaps the procedure was more psychologically or emotionally taxing than it seemed? I have entertained the thought that perhaps it’s unlocked a door in my brain that is keeping some of my childhood sexual abuse at bay, a topic that is slowly being revealed in therapy. Could the combination of thinking and talking about those incidents combined with a quick but somewhat invasive procedure spark this awful feeling? All I know is that touching my vulva still feels okay-ish, as does masturbating and having non-penetrative sex with partners. I can still achieve clitoral orgasms if I really try, but absolutely nothing is going into my vagina.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressing me out and depressing me. I’ve been in a restless funk for over a week and a lot of it has to do with this unsettled feeling and the anxiety that it will be worse if I engage in anything sex related.  It’s not even the lack of penetration that is upsetting, it’s that I don’t know why it is like this and until yesterday, I hadn’t been able to articulate it to my partners because I felt such an inexplicable shame. After talking to The Evergreens I feel supported, but no less anxious. Luckily, I see my psychiatrist next week and my therapist the week after. I guess I know what I’ll be talking about!

If you relate, or recognize any of these issues or symptoms, please feel free to comment below; I’d be glad to feel less alone.

Violet xo

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Violet Fawkes

Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.