Previous: The Gender Map
Next: Sexplanations Quiz Show: Animals, Erections, and Pubic Hair



View count:107,944
Last sync:2021-10-30 04:15

You can support Sexplanations directly by going to and subscribing. You can choose a monthly contribution, a one-time contribution, or just subscribe for $0 to show your support.

In an answer to a question, Lindsey talks about what miscarriages are, how they make people feel, and how to begin the road to emotional and sexual recovery.

Go to to get your very own Want/Will/Won't Poster:

You can ask Lindsey Questions at:

Host: Dr. Lindsey Doe

Directing/Filming/Editing: Nicholas Jenkins

Titles: Michael Aranda

Executive Producer: Hank Green

I got your message.

"My husband and I had been trying over a year when I became pregnant four months ago. Unfortunately, something went wrong at conception that lead to a miscarriage and an eventual D&C.  Since then we haven't had sex. We've tried, but I just associate my vagina with pain and loss.

My question is: how do you overcome a painful or traumatic experience and return to a healthy sex life?"

I'm gonna answer your question, but first I want to explain to others what some of the terms mean.

Conception is the fertilization of an ovum, or egg, by a sperm, and sometimes includes the implantation of this combination into the walls of the uterus.

A miscarriage, also called a spontaneous abortion, is a natural death of an embryo or fetus.

D&C is short for dilation and curettage - it's a medical procedure to evacuate the uterus. Dilation refers to dilating the cervical os, or opening to the uterus, so that medical instruments like curretes or cannulas can get in to pull out the contents so they don't decay and make the patient fatally ill.

These are the clinical meanings. I imagine that the person asking how to overcome a traumatic or painful experience and return to a healthy sex life would say:

Conception is when my husband and I realized our dreams of becoming parents.

Miscarriage was the beginning of trauma.

It encompasses feelings of inadequacy, devastation, loss, despair, grief, anger - all of the bad ones.  The name itself is part of the trauma. Mis - carriage, as if I mis-carried it.

Think about that prefix. Wrong, ill, incorrect.  You wanna know my definition of D&C? Protocol.  

The question you asked me is: how do you overcome a painful or traumatic experience and return to a healthy sex life? You're already well on your way, asking for help. This is the case for any kind of trauma or pain.

You deserve praise for trying to recover! Huge praise! Now to help, these are some suggestions:

1. Ouvre la bouche.  [whispering] It means open your mouth. That would be a solution to vagina troubles, but that's not what I meant. I mean talk, sign, write. It's incredibly important for people to connect with someone who shares their experiences. Someone close to your age with a similar upbringing - maybe the same goals and the same outcome.

This can air out the shame. About one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage.  I don't like that word; let's go with spontaneous abortion. Yeah, it makes me think that the embryo just took off like, "Imma go now."

One in five pregnancies; that's fifteen to twenty percent, and those are just the ones we know about. Plenty of people get pregnant, trying for a year or trying to avoid it, and end up aborting pregnancies they didn't even realize they had.

So you can start talking to friends. Let them know what you told me, and then ask them if they know of anyone who's had a similar experience that you can talk to more.

There's also the way of anonymous online forums! A great resource for the twenty-first century. Search: miscarriage forum, spontaneous abortion forum, trauma-of-any-kind forum. Sexual abuse, infidelities, herpes, erectile challenges, ehhhh forum - it's there.

2. A very important mantra: take what you like, and leave the rest. Your friend, your friends' friends, your new online forum - they may have things to say that don't fit with your new "get my healthy sex life back" vibe.

Take what you like, and leave the rest. That includes my suggestions too.  

3. One of the most meaningful exercises that I suggest of my clients is to write a letter to their genitals. For you, this would be the vagina you associate with pain and loss.  

Dear Vagina, We're not getting along. I know. You've become a grave-site for my baby and my family dreams. I actually kind of hate you right now and really feel disconnected. The thought of your pleasure seems impossible. Like there is no reason for us to be friends because of how disappointed and pissed off I am. Except for my unwillingness to go on feeling like this. I hate hating you. I hate blaming you, and I want things to be better. I'm just not sure how to get there.

Let your vagina write back. Maintain the dialogue until there is a favorable solution - a nice bath would help, where we could soak without any expectations.

4. How do you WANNA feel about your vagina? Accepting? Loving? Sexy? Connected? What do these look like as actions? Practice them. Act your way into better thinking.

If it seems like too much to go from negative to positive - like, tar pit vagina to lotus flower vagina - then go from negative to neutral - like, tar pit vagina to anatomical vagina. Wipe it from front to back, rinse it with water, dress it in clean white cotton, and pat it once in a while to say hello.

When it's time, you'll go from neutral to hot sex. First step first. Connecting in healthy ways to your body doesn't mean that you have to move on from the pregnancy. It simply means that you're making room for your vagina to be more than its past - just like you!

Whatever your trauma is, it isn't weak to ask for help. There are professionals who can guide you from your pain to your pleasure. Just as you would seek help for a toothache, rather than pulling it out with pliers, let the professionals do their jobs. There are links to finding these resources in the description.

Stay curious.