JAMES and Michaela Reece have been married for nearly 10 years but can’t have s_x.
The devoted couple, who say they are as much in love as they were from day one, are physically unable to have s*x due to a rare and painful condition Michaela suffers, called vaginismus.
While many married couples complain that their s3x life has fizzled after a decade, Michaela, 38, said they were desperately waiting for theirs to begin.
“Imagine being with the one person you love but never being able to have s3x with them,” she said.
“Every birthday, every anniversary, every new year that goes by means I still can’t be with my husband properly and it’s torture.”
Vaginismus (or vulvodynia) is an involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles which makes sex impossible.
Quantifying the number of sufferers is difficult because many women are too ashamed to speak up or seek help.
The couple only found out that something was wrong on their honeymoon because James had been waiting until marriage to lose his virginity.
“The first time we tried ... it didn’t feel comfortable,” Michaela said. The next morning she woke with a painful infection that she kept from her new husband.
“I wasn’t going to let it interfere with finally being with Jimmy and I didn’t want to deny him the chance to know what s3x was like,” she said.
After three years of misdiagnoses Michaela was finally told she had vaginismus, but no amount of medication has helped her conquer it.
“I’ve been embarrassed by it but I’ve reached a point where the loneliness and isolation has outweighed the embarrassment and I just have to talk,” she said.
“It is a hard thing to discuss but I have an amazing guy beside me that won’t give up.”
Navigating a s3xless marriage and countless treatments has pushed the couple to their limit.
“Over the years I have offered to divorce him,” Michaela said.
“I offered everything I could because I felt guilty and didn’t want to stop him from having that experience but each time he was horrified.”
For James, nearly 35, being with anyone other than his wife was never an option.
“Michaela is the sort of person that even without s3x I would rather spend my life with her,” he said.
After visiting every specialist and trying every therapy available in Australia the pair’s only hope is a two-week treatment in New York that has shown promising results.
“Everyone else has made me feel like a freak that I have this condition that can’t be fixed and all of a sudden there is hope,” Michaela said. “It would be lovely if this was the year that we could be together in that way for the first time.”
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