Hi coffeelover12! Thanks so much for posting on the forums – here’s what I’d say in response to your questions.
1) I definitely think Maze could help you (for context, I received the botox treatment at Maze and had an extremely positive experience there with everything from the knowledgeable and supportive staff to their comprehensive knowledge of pain and how to treat it). Maze’s different treatment options work for people with all different levels of vaginismus, whether they’re able to insert some things (but not all) or have such severe pain/anxiety responses that they can’t bear to be touched anywhere near their vaginas. It sounds like you fall somewhere in the middle, so I feel confident they could meet you where you are in your situation.
2) Everyone’s experience of treatment is different, but it doesn’t often take time in the order of years – although it really depends what treatment method you go with. I had severe enough vaginismus that I had to go with the botox method (which you can read about here:https://www.mazewomenshealth.com/painful-sex-vaginal-pain/vaginismus-treatment-under-anesthesia/) and I was able to be penetrated by a penis for the first time 20 days after the procedure, which is definitely on the fast end of things. Other women follow a dilation schedule and take weeks or months to make gradual progress. Talking to Maze (by calling them for a free 10-minute consultation) or visiting their offices is a good way to start figuring out what type of treatment might be right for you. Likely whatever you do will involve some dilation, which can be effortful and uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t describe it as really difficult – and the payoff is worth it.
3) Again, it depends on how you go about it – you can have just a few consultations if you do botox, or you can even do a remote dilation program through videochat, so the clinic is great at working with people where they are in their lives.
4) Early on if you start going to the clinic, you’ll likely just talk with someone at the practice whose goal is to get to know you better, learn about your sexual past, and understand what your priorities are when it comes to treatment. You’ll be speaking with someone long before you have to do anything on an exam table!
5) It can be tricky to find a gynecologist who understands your situation – you might ask your gyno if she’s treated people before with vaginismus or vulvodynia to see if she seems familiar with the conditions (there are a shocking number of doctors who aren’t). You can also try giving Maze a call for the free phone conversation at 914-328-3700 – your health is your priority so you’re allowed to talk to other people besides your gynecologist about if if you think they’ll help! you can always tell your gyno about it after or talk to them before you start any treatment regimens.
I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions!