Persistent Bacterial Vag

Q

I’ve been having recurrent bacterial vaginosis for basically the entire last year. Every time the symptoms appear I see my doctor and he gives me a prescription, the BV clears up but returns a few weeks later and the cycle starts again.

I started seeing someone about 6 months ago and it’s beginning to get more serious.  He’s really great and the sex has been mostly amazing, but the problem is that the BV sometimes gets in the way. In the past I have just said I’m on my period to avoid having sex when I have a flair up, but now that we’re seeing each other more frequently that excuse can’t work all the time. I’m finding myself telling him that I’m not in the mood or I’m tired a lot of the time and I feel like it’s ruining the start of this new relationship and I don’t know how to save it. I have in the past given in and had sex with BV, but it always makes my symptoms worse the next day.

So I’m wondering; how can I decline sex without making my boyfriend feel rejected? And do you have any advice for getting rid of persistent BV?

A

The best way in which you can decline sex without making your boyfriend feel rejected is by telling him the truth about why you’re declining sex.

If you initiated sex with your boyfriend and he declined for a medical reason, would you rather he told you the medical reason, or he told you he was on his period?

I do want to remind you that you can say no to sex at any time for any reason and not have to provide an explanation. Your boyfriend can deal with not getting sex every time that he asks for it.  However, if you do give him a truthful explanation, you’re mitigating the rejection problem by letting him know it’s not about your attraction to him.

‘Giving in’ and having sex while your symptomatic is not something you want to continue doing.  It can definitely make your symptoms worse and prolong recovery, but more importantly, it’s better for you to not feel you’re ever giving in to having sex rather than being an active and willing participant.

If you want this to continue into a long-term relationship, being honest about this now and continuing to be communicative about these matters is likelier to foster a healthy and satisfying sexual relationship between the two of you in the future.

You have a very valid reason not to have sex that has nothing to do with your desire for your partner, so it’s clear to me that you are much better off telling him the truth than having to continually make up excuses. If you’ve had recurrent BV for a year it’s possible that it’s going to be something you have to deal with now and again for a while still, and you’re best equipped to deal with it if your partner is in the know.

You didn’t say but maybe you’re embarrassed to tell your new partner that you have BV? It isn’t a very nice sounding condition, we can all agree that the name is hideous, but it is a very normal condition, which you shouldn’t feel the need to hide in shame, especially in the context of a close sexual relationship. Tell him what’s going on! If he freaks out about you having a common and easily treatable vaginal infection that he can’t catch, he’s not going to be a good boyfriend in the long run anyway. A new sexual partner can be a BV trigger, so it might be partly his fault anyway. So just lay it out simply like ‘hi honey I have a higher than normal vaginal pH and it’s uncomfortable for me to get fucked until it’s resolved’. Then if you want to be friendly you could suck his dick. And I see no reason why you can’t get your titties played with while you masturbate.

In addressing your persistent BV I would go get yourself to a sexual health clinic because it could be that your doctor is misdiagnosing you, or at least undermining how disruptive BV is to your sex life.  GPs are amazing, but not always the best at addressing issues of sexual health. There’s a chance you might be suffering from a different sort of infection (there are different forms of BV and other vaginal infections), in which case you may require different treatment than you’ve been receiving.  Maybe your doctor has been diagnosing your BV based on your description of your symptoms, but hasn’t taken a swab test to check for other infections?

That’s not to say that it’s unusual if you are suffering from recurrent BV. It’s very, very common for BV to recur and you should continue to get tested and treated. A good sexual health doctor can also help you identify if there is something that is triggering your BV to return and help you to try and break the cycle.

Because BV occurs when there’s an imbalance in your normal vaginal bacteria, you should follow all advice to reduce the chances of recurrence. Most importantly don’t try and clean your vagina with douching, soaps or deodorants.  Make sure you wear breathable underwear that isn’t too tight and isn’t washed with strong detergents.  Let your vulva breathe and SELF CORRECT.

Unless this is my old housemate Barbara who ALWAYS had BV – in which case go fuck yourself Barbara, I hope you have BV forever.