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I had surgery that shortened my vagina significantly; therefore regular intercourse is not an option. My husband died a few months ago, and as I think
about dating again and having sex, I worry about unprotected sex. I think either a male or female condom would slide off. Any suggestions?

Judith Hersh, MD and Melanie Davis, PhD say: We are pleased that you are looking forward to new relationships. The use of male condoms shouldn’t be a problem, unless your partners cannot attain/maintain an erection. Just use silicone-based lubricant to increase your comfort. The FC2 internal condom (aka female condom) is worth trying. We suggest that you experiment with and without the inside ring, and use the fingers of one hand to hold the outer condom ring over the lips of your vulva.
Please talk to your doctor about using topical estrogen cream and vaginal dilators. If medical dilators don’t appeal to you, shop for a smaller, smooth vibrator without any bends or curves. In consultation with your doctor, move to a larger size vibrator once you can accommodate a smaller size comfortably. Dilation will be more comfortable if you use lubricant. Good nutrition, lots of drinking water, and physical fitness will also help with lubrication and circulation.
If you determine that vaginal penetration with a penis won’t be a pleasant experience, consider the wealth of options available to you, including

  • manual or oral genital stimulation
  • penis thrusting between your closed thighs, rubbing against your vulva
  • anal intercourse (with condom, silicone lubricant, deep breathing, and slow progression)
  • body-to-body rubbing
  • sensual massage, baths or showers

…the options are only limited by your imagination.

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