Her Sex History

Q: My 19-year-old girlfriend and I have been together for over a year (I'm 23), and I love her a lot. I would love to make this woman my wife someday, but I think I may be in over my head. When she was 17 she lost her virginity to a 24 year old man who she says forced her physically and emotionally to do it. We have an amazing sex life, but sometimes she gets uncomfortable during sex and just stops for no reason, like she's afraid of me. Other times, when she thinks no one is watching, she seems slightly depressed. I don't know what to do. Is there any hope for us getting through this as a couple?--George

Dr. Susan: There's always hope, George. My concern here is that you seem to be spending a lot of time trying to guess what's in your girlfriend's mind. That's not a great way to nurture a healthy relationship. Her early unpleasant sexual experience might not be the cause of everything that's currently awkward between the two of you. It may be haunting you more than it's bothering her. If your sex life is amazing for you, but you feel she's afraid of you and stops the action mid-way, simply ask her if you're hurting her or if something is bothering her. Even happy couples who have lots of great sex sometimes don't feel in the mood, or a touch that felt good once feels less good at another time, or perhaps you're doing something she doesn't prefer but she's afraid to hurt your feelings by mentioning it. Make it easy for her: Ask. And show her you're open to hearing that all isn't perfect because you want to make it as good for her as it is for you. As for her occasional slight depression: so what? Can't she get a little introspective and quiet at times? Again, ask. "Feeling blue, honey? Is there anything you want to talk about or any way I can help?" Work at removing those emotional barriers and anything is possible.

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