Hi vialeoncino – I want to start by recognizing how brave you are and how hard you’ve worked to get to this place of hopefully exploring intercourse with someone soon, but also just in understanding the problem you have and working toward a solution that gives you what you want. That’s a huge thing that deserves celebrating.
I think in resuming dating, a few things will help you. First of all, just getting further along in the dilating process will give you more confidence. Dilation is an extremely gradual, day-by-day process that has gains and setbacks, and it sounds like you still have some work to do in terms of gradually weaning yourself off of needing alcohol to insert larger dilators. If you’re able to get in smaller ones without alcohol, I recommend going back to an earlier size and working your way without having alcohol in your system. You know these dilators can be physically inserted because you’ve done it before, but you’re giving yourself a more stable footing so you don’t have to be dependent on alcohol to be penetrated down the line. This may take time to gain some of this ground back, but it is worth putting that control back in your hands, and there’s an abundance of information on these forums about techniques for relaxing and distracting yourself as you work through the dilator sizes.
I think that Heather is right in that ultimately it will benefit you to be up front about your situation with potential new partners, but I think how well this will go depends a lot on how this information is delivered. I say this knowing it’s VERY much easier said than done, but I recommend faking confidence and casualness in addressing sex. Before you even get into a bedroom situation (maybe if a new partner comes over to your place but before you start getting intimate, consider saying something like, “hey, just so you know I have a condition that’s affected my vaginal functioning so I’m still working on some stuff, but I’m really into you and can’t wait to explore stuff we both like.” Start from a positive place (that you’re attracted to this person) and that you want to do sexy things with them and then start to explore what you each like. This is something you may want to think about how you handle, but I just want to say I don’t think it’s strictly necessary for you to tell new partners that you’re a “virgin” (an unhelpful, patriarchal, and outdated concept anyway!) While it’s important to disclose sexual health issues like whether you have any STDs, what you tell new people about your sexual past is your decision. I know the temptation is probably to present your situation as a serious, negative issue (because that’s how it feels to those of us who suffer from it for years), but if you present it as negative, the people you tell it to will probably take it in a negative way.
You are a whole, complete person and you deserve love, affection, and intimacy. Sometimes we have to fake the confidence we don’t have yet to build the love that will GIVE us confidence, but I know you can do it. You were brave enough to get this far and have worked hard. You can get the love you want if you let yourself.
Let us know if you have questions about anything at all – so many women have been where you are and have gotten to the other side! You have that power too, and I hope you get exactly where you want to go.