Sexplanations: 'I'm 35 and have never had sex'

Sexpert, Christine Webber, advises a woman who's never had sex at 35

Every week we partner with our sister magazine, Woman, to bring you expert sexual health advice from Christine Webber, a qualified psychotherapist with her own Harley Street practice.

The problem

I'm 35 and have never had sex. I enjoy petting and have had orgasms but I'm anxious about full sex as I've had awful pain every time I've tried it. Now I've met a great guy and we're engaged. He says he'll help me get this sorted as we'd like kids. Is there any treatment?

The solution

Yes. And it's great that you've found a lovely man who'll support you through the process. It sounds as if you have vaginismus. This condition causes a woman to tighten up her vaginal muscles into a spasm whenever there's any approach to her vagina.

This spasm makes penetration impossible. And many women with vaginismus can't even use tampons. It's not your fault. You're not tightening your muscles deliberately – your body is just reacting to a deep-seated fear about penetration. You may never know where this fear comes from. But it often happens to women whose mothers have told them that sex is dirty.

So, what can you do? Well, you need help from a woman doctor who's an expert in this condition. Unfortunately, you may not get this on the NHS as there may not be a clinic in your area and the psychosexual clinics that do exist often have long waiting lists.

So, as you're keen to have a family, I'd suggest that you go privately to see a woman doctor who's a member of the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine. Call the Institute on 020 7580 0631, and ask for a list of qualified members. The cost is likely to be about £100 per hour, which is a lot, but with luck you may find that there's a big improvement in as little as 5 or 6 sessions. The doctor will work with you to enable you to relax your body so that you can eventually enjoy sex. Best of luck!

- Read more sex advice from Christine Webber

- There's more advice from Christine in this week's bigger better WOMAN, on sale every Tuesday.
- Is your relationship in need of some sexual healing? Email your problem to Christine on or to us on goodtoknow

Charlotte Gunn
Freelance writer

Charlotte is founder and Editorial Director of The Forty-Five. The former NME Editor has written for, The Face, Red and Marie Claire. With 15 years experience in journalism Charlotte has covered most bases when it comes to content people want to consume.