Hi Valentine! Thanks so much for posting and sharing your story! There’s a lot to unpack here and I’m glad you laid out everything you’ve been feeling.For context, I suffered from vaginismus for about 10 years before eventually getting the botox treatment at the Maze Clinic in September of 2016. I’ve been able to have pain-free penetrative intercourse for more than 4 years now thanks to that procedure.
First of all, while it’s super natural to feel like you might always suffer from vaginismus (I used to believe this too), it is not necessarily the case – there are lots of treatment options out there (like botox!) that you haven’t tried yet, and you would be amazed how well they can work. Vaginismus can feel like a prison, but there are ways to mitigate if not completely eliminate the pains and symptoms with treatment.
It sounds like you’ve had some success with dilation, which is great. It also sounds like you have a lot of responsibilities in your life between school, work, and other obligations, so you could be a great candidate for the botox treatment. The cost varies depending where you get the procedure done (and I know that in the UK the NHS can make it complicated to get certain kinds of elective care), but we’ve had several women in this thread from the UK get the botox treatment successfully. Here’s a thread where they discuss some of the specifics if you’d like to read more:
The amount of time it takes for botox to work can vary widely between people – I was able to be penetrated 20 days after getting my botox procedure and sex started feeling actively pleasurable a few weeks later (it wasn’t painful before that but was something I was still adjusting to). It takes other people longer, some even less time, but what most people will agree on is that botox (especially how Maze does it) really helps bypass blockages both physically and mentally/emotionally.
Since vaginismus is both a physical response of the muscles and an emotional cycle of pain and fear that cements itself more and more over time, it can also be helpful to treat the emotional symptoms of dealing with vaginismus by seeing a therapist or sex therapist. That might be something to look into as you consider re-embarking on some sort of treatment path.
Also, I think a lot of us feel the temptation over the years to ask ourselves WHY we have vaginismus, whether there was some underlying physical or emotional cause. It’s tempting to feel like the “why” will help us understand and conquer these issues, but for most people there isn’t a clear-cut incident. I think for a lot of people it can happen because of generalized anxiety issues, shame around sex, pressure from partners too soon, etc. Maybe it will make sense in time but it also might not, and that doesn’t stop you from seeking treatment.
I hope this helps – let us know if you have more questions along the way!