Jillian Currie desperately wants to meet The One and fall in love, but every time a guys starts to flirt with her she’s filled with fear.
She knows that any blossoming romance will involve telling someone else about her “problematic” s.e.x life.
The 26-year-old “tears as if she’s giving birth” every time she has s.e.x, leaving her in complete agony – and doctors have absolutely no idea why.
Jillian, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has suffered from a string of gynaecological conditions since losing her virginity, aged 16, and is now bravely speaking out to help banish taboos surrounding vaginal conditions and to let other women with issues know they are not alone.
Shes said: “For the past six years, my s.e.x life has been virtually non-existent.
“There’s a stereotype that women have a lower s.e.x drive than men, but that isn’t always the case. I’ve wanted to do it, but not been able to – then I end up feeling frustrated that I can’t satisfy the other person.
“I can’t help feeling like there is a difference in the way men and women’s bodies are treated in medicine. Woman are expected to just suffer in silence, and a lot of the time, we aren’t even properly taught about our own bodies.
“It’s so hard not to lose faith, but I really want to encourage others out there to be persistent and keep pushing for an answer. You know your own body, so trust in yourself.”
In 2014, when she was 20 and in a relationship, she started to suffer from the horrific tearing of her perineum – the area between the legs – every time she had s.e.x, leaving her in so much pain she struggled to walk.
She said: “I’d be left with a deep cut, right where women usually tear when they give birth.
“It was every time I’d have sex and often it would be so painful that I’d have to stop.
“I was in a relationship at the time, but it obviously had an impact as, not only was I not able to be intimate as much as I’d like, but I also lost all my confidence.”
Alongside the tearing, Jillian was also experiencing extremely heavy discharge, to the point where she would have to wear a maxi pad in her underwear, changing it multiple times throughout the day.
She continued: “I felt disgusting. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, so I basically stopped having s.e.x. I know different bodies produce different amounts, but this wasn’t my normal.
“I know my own body and knew something had changed, but every time I went to the doctor, I was told it was probably simple like thrush or bacterial vaginosis – another common gynaecological condition – and was given medication.”
With prescribed tablets doing little to ease her symptoms, Jillian soon reached the end of her tether – fearing, in dark moments, that she had cervical cancer.
Just 24 then, making her too young for a routine smear test, her situation was so untenable that doctors agreed to perform one early.
Thankfully, cancer was ruled out – but she was found to have ectropions – where cells from inside the cervical canal are present outside it instead, causing bleeding, discharge and pain during or after s.e.x.
In June 2018, she had the ectropions removed – via a cryotherapy where lesions are frozen off – and hoped her nightmare was ending but, five months later, her symptoms returned with a vengeance.
“In November 2018 I had a LEEP procedure, where an electrical wire loop scrapes and burns off the cells, while I was sedated, and, thankfully, that side of things seems to have been under control since.”
On her doctor’s advice, Jillian also came off the contraceptive Pill, as that can cause ectropions – but medics have not solved the problem of her skin ripping every time she has s.e.x.
Now the intimate area has become so sensitive that she battles pain most days, sometimes struggling to use tampons and being unable to wear certain styles of underwear, because it irritates her fragile skin.
“It’s been six years of absolute hell,” she said. “I must have seen around 20 different gynaecologists, as well as lots of other doctors like dermatologists, sexual health and allergy specialists.
Currently single, Jillian still has the unenviable task of telling men she has a chemistry with that she will struggle to be intimate with them before things progress.