Sexual Healing…Don’t have to wait to Operate!
- by Wendi Vaughn
When the doctor diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease, I truly had no idea to what extent it would change my life. Over the last six years, there’s been a big shift in how I live: “pre-Crohn’s” and “post-Crohn’s”. Crohn’s Disease (CD) is a digestive system disorder contributing to symptoms like bloating, cramping, bloody stool, diarrhea/constipation, depression, chronic fatigue, and weight-loss. There are many drugs on the market that doctors prescribe to manage these symptoms; unfortunately, they all create side effects that can also be quite devastating. Prednisone, a steroid which is extremely effective in the short-term treatment of inflammation, caused me to gain weight in my face and neck as well as grow hair in strange and unusual places. Going through the “post-Crohn’s” changes made me feel supremely “UN-sexy”!
Sex, getting close, dating, hanging out—literally anything that required being close to a man was just uncomfortable. I didn’t know when I’d have to make a dash to the nearest restroom! I never had a clue when my energy would dissipate to nothing. I turned down invites and engagements, one after another, until finally, people just stopped asking me to do things with them. I didn’t know how to get back to the “pre-Crohn’s Wendi”— a social butterfly who enjoyed her youth. At the age of 25, I was stuck in a bed, with, as my doctors said, “Cells of a 70-year-old”! Would I ever marry? Maybe sex just isn’t important anymore.
A Sex Life with Crohn’s Disease:
In 2009, I finally teamed up with doctors who helped me get better. I eagerly re-entered the land of the living with joy and excitement. In addition to being able to work, exercise, go out and socialize with my peers, I was also able to start dating again! Oh no, but wait?! “Houston we have a problem!” How do I explain the scars I’ve obtained from my fight with Crohn’s? Would a man even find me attractive? Even though times were better, it was clear I was living in a “post-Crohn’s” world, and dating would now take on whole new dimensions because of it.
The next relationship I got into was a dream, mainly because my boyfriend listened and really wanted to understand what I had gone through. He reminded me of how beautiful I am and embraced my issues as his own. I slowly started to feel that I could still be sexy with Crohn’s.
For people in my situation, there are ample resources online that give tips on how to experience healthier sex lives. I was ready to write off sex completely because of my condition. However, sex brings many physiological and psychological benefits. According to studies dealing with overall health and sexually frequency, these benefits help symptoms like depression and aid in weight management by inducing various beneficial hormones to be released and providing the energy for exercise. I didn’t want to miss out on any of this. In fact, I didn’t want to miss out on anything because of Crohn’s. When getting closer to a romantic partner, I just have to communicate exactly what I need. As long as this communication occurs, there is normally a pleasurable experience.
Educating myself has been key to my liberation. Learning more about ways to have a healthy sex life and why it is important really gave me the courage to venture into relationships again. It is obvious that there are some differences between my “pre” and “post Crohn’s” life, but feeling like less of a woman isn’t one of them.A singer, writer and educator, Wendi is the daughter of musical legends Wanda Vaughn, lead singer of the Grammy Award-Winning sister trio, The Emotions, and Wayne Vaughn, composer/songwriter of songs like, “Let’s Groove Tonight”, by Earth, Wind, and Fire”. Her talents have allowed her substantial recognition in the music/entertainment industry. A producer of numerous projects, one especially dear to her is “Just Believe”. This anthem was written for those suffering with Crohn’s Disease, which Wendi has lived with for nearly a decade. Along with her passion for entertainment is her love for education. Wendi has worked as a teacher throughout the Los Angeles County since 2003, and during this time has identified the need for more dynamic ways of getting proper information out to the masses. Through the “Be Liberated Foundation“, Wendi, her family, and staff work in unison to build partnerships with organizations that provide coaching, financial literacy, health/wellness workshops, and higher education opportunities for both academics and trades.
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