When my husband and I first got married, I was so incredibly excited to have sex! We had waited until we were married, and it was close to five years in the making! I had started on birth control in March, and we got married mid-June. We were so excited to finally get to do things we had been avoiding that we decided to take it slow, and there was no pressure to have sex on our first night together. We enjoyed being naked and finally sharing a bed. On our second night of marriage, we checked in to a hotel in Miami as part of our honeymoon. We agreed to officially try to have sex! It was incredibly uncomfortable for me, and there was very little lubrication. I also didn't feel incredibly aroused, though I was enjoying being with my new husband. We tried a few times that evening, but it was just too uncomfortable for anything to actually go in. My sweet, loving husband was so incredibly patient and kind. I cried after every failed attempt and felt like a complete failure as a new wife. We made it to our honeymoon destination the next night, and I had renewed excitement to break out my pretty lingerie and try again. I downloaded a book on sex for newlyweds on my Nook and decided to try to brush up on some anatomy to see why things weren't working how I felt they should be. I eventually chalked it up to nerves and decided I needed to try to relax more. We tried massages and lots of foreplay, but nothing seemed to work. It was still painful. We continued to try the next few days, and we were finally successful on Wednesday night (we got married on Saturday). I continued to feel like I complete failure in the sex department and was so frustrated that it didn't feel good. I felt like everything was too tight and hoped that it would eventually get better. One thing was for sure: sex was not near as enjoyable as I had hoped. As a side note, I was not a stranger to enjoying the physical aspects of a relationship. Though we had never had sex or taken things very far, I definitely experienced arousal and lubrication while we were dating. It was actually something I continued to give to the Lord over and over again, as I felt guilty for being so attracted to my boyfriend. So I was extra frustrated that those feelings were not present on our honeymoon. We had sex probably around twice a week after that. I was not feeling any pleasure at all, and it continued to be uncomfortable for me. We used LOTS of lube to make it happen. I started to do some research into whether or not this could be caused by hormonal birth control. My family had experienced "issues" with the pill, but most of it went back to emotional challenges. I read lots of stories of women experiencing loss of sexual arousal while on the pill but couldn't find a lot of medical information about it. About two months in to marriage, my mom gently asked me how things were going, and I told her I thought I might be experiencing some frustrations with the pill. She highly encouraged me to stop and find another alternative- it wasn't worth messing with my body's hormones. Having a baby wasn't THAT terrible. I was in graduate school at the time and knew I really didn't want a baby for another few years, but I also was ready to try anything to actually enjoy the sex I had waited so long for. So I went off birth-control. Two weeks later, my body acted completely as I had expected all along. I no longer had any lubrication issues, sex wasn't uncomfortable, and I was feeling pleasure! It was amazing!! As the years have went by, I have talked to many women in person about my decision to not be on hormonal birth control, and I have found that other ladies have had issues with hormones as well. The hormones make your body think you're pregnant, and many women experience loss of lubrication and sexual arousal/desire while pregnant (I did!). Thankfully, I had experienced this, so I had an inkling that I would have some of this during pregnancy, and I definitely did. But at least it was my own hormones that caused it that time! One of the most frustrating parts has been conversing with gynecologists about this. I have felt pressured by several different doctors to be on some form of hormonal birth control. When I was in graduate school, I went for a yearly physical, and the gynecologist highly suggested I get an IUD since it would be covered by my insurance. I told her I wasn't interested in it because of the hormones, and she continued to push the Mirena and even lied to me and told me it didn't have enough hormones to make a difference. I'm not quite sure how she knew what amount would "make a difference," but I was very insistent that I didn't want one. She continued to try to convince me, and I felt like she wasn't listening to my concerns about hormones. I went home and researched Mirena, and many women have had issues with the hormones in the IUD. When we moved after I graduated, I found a new gynecologist. She asked what I was using for birth control, and I told her I was against hormones. I expected to have to stand my ground and thoroughly explain my position, but she replied, "That's great! I'm glad you know yourself and have found what works for you." She never pressured me or made me feel dumb because I wasn't using hormones, and I fully valued that conversation. I think it's incredibly important to find a gynecologist you feel comfortable with and trust. I continued to see her, and she delivered my sweet baby girl last summer! I think more ladies need to openly share their struggles and frustrations with sex! I felt like I couldn't verbally discuss this with women that I knew. There was so much shame and feelings of failure. Thankfully, I found answers and had an incredibly supportive and patient husband.