What's Your Yeast Infection Trying to Tell You?

The things we've suffered, to be touched. 

Those of us who wanted it. Those of us with a natural bend toward lust, those of us who knew somewhere deep inside that sex could be more. Those of us who kept seeking sex, even in this world where overly-male sexuality is the norm and the standard. Even in this world where male sexuality covertly silences female sexuality.

I've had this story in my head, for a long time, that my first time was great. We were in love, and it was beautiful. I was so lucky, luckier than girls that lost it to some random guy. 

Yet my first time hurt. A lot. He was really big; months of fingering hadn't stretched me out at all. He went slow—slowish—but there wasn't much that could be done. I bled, I bruised. 

And to speak to those months before, that time spent touching each other in the dark, usually in his car, reaching across bucket seats. The poking, the too-hard rubbing. Yes, curious and loving, but two kids with no language and no confidence. No courage to say, "Wow, that hurts. Could you rub a little softer?" No concept of lube, beyond jokes about finding our parents' KY Jelly. 

So, all of this is innocent, right? All of this is what we deem normal. 

I want a new normal.

What if we lived in a sex-positive society where teenagers were informed of their bodies, informed of their power over their bodies, informed of sexual health, and how to communicate what felt good, and what felt not-so-good?

What if we went into these first times with a loving knowledge of our own bodies, excited to learn our lovers, understanding that we could pause at any time, switch directions at any time, tell someone "Oh, that doesn't feel good to me. Could you try this?" without the deep embarrassment or shame that seems to envelop both lovers, in our current paradigm. 

What if it was okay to ebb and flow? To follow the moment, even if the moment said, "Stop and lie still next to one another, feeling each others' breath." Even if the moment said, "Cry." Even if the moment said, "Feel rage and anger and beat the pillow next to you until this moment passes." 

What if we allowed every emotion during sex? Instead of pushing for pleasure, even when pleasure is nowhere to be found.

Since I started having sex, over 20 years ago, I've had chronic yeast infections.

There's a pattern. I get them with new partners. I always thought maybe I was allergic to cum, that I have a really delicate pH. These things could be true, sure. 

But what if I get yeast infections because my body wants to protect me?

What if I get yeast infections because my body wants me to go slower?

Because my body is the living memory that associates sex with all those first times, the tolerated pain, the unexpected and brutal intensity?

I never really felt the emotions of that first few months messing around and having sex. I was so gung-ho to get to this thing I wanted so badly, this thing that was going to be amazing. When it wasn't amazing, I just kept hopping right back on my boyfriend's dick. I remember mounting him in the backseat of his car, maybe a week after that first time, with a black and blue vulva. I wanted it to feel good.

I was going to make it feel good, dammit. 

A few months in, my body got used to having sex, and I began having orgasms during sex. Not, of course, without a few yeast infections in protest.

A few years ago, I got another yeast infection. Nothing new. I was in the middle of a long-term relationship, and the infection popped up—due to pushing myself to have sex when I didn't want to. I was seeing a naturopath and she urged me to heal naturally. I went on a candida diet, took yeast detox pills, used coconut oil/tea tree oil/lavender oil suppositories, did charcoal enemas, ate tons of yogurt, you name it. For six months. 

And finally, I fucking gave up. I took 2 Diflucan, my normal course of action. Away the infection went, only to return the next time I slept with a new partner. 

I began to see that I mostly got yeast infections with new partners, and lately I've realized, I get them more often with bigger lovers—more friction. Another thing: there seemed to be a high ratio of yeast infections to "bad boy" lovers. This led me to believe my soul had a say in it, that yeast infections were begging me to choose better partners. 

But here I sit, with my second yeast infection in a month, with a new lover who is decidedly not a bad boy. A super lusty lover, yes, but someone I get insanely wet with. It's quite apparent that my body, on some level, wants me to be here. And he's someone I am attracted to on every level, not just physically.

So why do I have an infection? Is this really my soul saying, "Naw, not this attentive, loving guy?" Can I really not trust my mind, my heart, and my turn-on?

Yes, I can trust these things. After all, this isn't about the man in front of me. This is about the girl inside me. It's about history.

It's become apparent that part of me is stuck in the past. My body, my nervous system, seems convinced that new sex, especially stumbling, first few months, maybe-I-let-him-lick-me-when-it-didn't-feel-that-great-anymore, maybe-I-should-have-stopped-fucking-in-doggy-style-when-my-back-started-to-hurt, maybe-I should-have-actually-asked-him-to-pause-when-my-skin-started-to-feel-irritated sex... my body seems convinced that sex is a painful, tolerated slog, something to protect me from.

It seems my body is begging for healing, to be fully brought on board to 2017, where I make decisions that are good for me, right for me.

The only way I can bring it on board is to speak to it, to feel all the feelings of those disempowered times when I let men take the lead and didn't say when things hurt, and vow to myself that I will go slow and do what feels good for my body, always, in the future

That part of me is begging me to be adult me, empowered me, the woman who is honest about what she wants. Yes, I love having sex with this man. I've never been so turned on, and we have timeless sex for hours.

And yet, there's another part who has only known him a month, who doesn't want to hurt his feelings, who doesn't even really know how to ask for what she wants during sex (which is often pausing, chilling, stretching, dancing, holding one another without grinding or pushing for a while). The part that doesn't know if someone will stay while she pauses and takes a breath.

I desperately want to have sex in a way that's completely, utterly, uniquely me, from moment to moment. How do we do that with a partner, with a co-creator? 

I'm scared as fuck to ask for that sex, to model it, to create it. 

Yet I know deeply it's my only chance at healing, going back to feel these moments: the thousands of moments where I gave my power away, where I let a person touch me in a way that felt painful, teeth-gritting, boring, or irritating, all to play the part of the easily-pleased woman, all to save his ego, all to make sure I wasn't ruining my chances at love and approval.

Going back especially to my 15-year-old self, and holding her through those moments of pain, of confusion, of deep sadness that sex wasn't the thing she thought it could be, the thing she'd longed for. That the expectation and the practice were sometimes so vastly different.

That she had to learn men's ways of fucking, and felt she had to shift into that paradigm in order to have sex with them at all. 

Coming forward to present-day me, and going slow as fuck. Feeling the turn-on. Feeling the moment. And learning to say what I want, learning to pause, learning to let my body and emotions truly pave the way.