I’m proud of our Vaginismus Forum. Vaginismus can be a heartbreaking condition to deal with and the shame around it adds some real salt to the wound. So the fact that we have a place where people can go where vaginismus language is understood, it’s a drink of water in a desert of silence.
Recently, I’ve noticed an increasing number of posts from husbands and boyfriends of women who are struggling with vaginismus. The posts are heartfelt and reflect the cries of a partner who is trying to be caring and supportive but feeling stuck at how to be helpful. After all, it’s hard to watch the person you love be in pain physically and emotionally. And when it adds a layer of stress to the relationship, a gap that can drain a relationship on so many levels, the partner can also experience profound loneliness.
Unfortunately, there are messages in society that portray men as always being self-centered in their quest for sex, and that there isn’t much more to them as people. This notion does a huge disservice to both genders and reinforces a dynamic that lends itself to relationship disconnect and misunderstanding. In these posts in the vaginismus forum from the partners, it’s so clear that these men experience all the same emotions as women do and that their distress isn’t solely about not being able to have penetrative sex, but about wanting to see their partner happy and comfortable in her body and their entire sexual connection be one that isn’t fraught with constant fear.
These days, most doctors don’t ask women about vaginismus. They certainly don’t ask men about it. But it probably would be helpful to; even if the man is too ashamed to talk about it, sometimes just the action of asking a question sends an important message of validation and concern.