Hi annelies – I’m so sorry to hear about your sexual experiences, I understand well the feelings of pain and shame you’re describing.
First of all, rabbit is totally right in that a LOT of women will suffer from vaginismus over the course of their lives – sometimes like with you (and me) it will be something that’s happening the first time they try to have sex. Other times it happens later in life to women who were previously able to have pain-free sex (sometimes after childbirth or because of other issues). But the crazy thing is that if you aren’t one of that percentage of women who has experienced vaginismus, there’s a good chance you don’t know it exists! One of the most frustrating things about it is that our culture does not communicate well that vaginal pain in women isn’t always happening because you’re “not relaxed enough” and that there can be other physiological reasons in play like your experience of vaginismus. Since there’s so much personal shame attached to the diagnosis, women who experience it are often secretive about their situation, so their friends and family don’t have any idea of what they’re going through (or that vaginismus exists). Chances are your mom had no idea vaginismus was a thing and just assumed you’d be able to have a normal sexual experience, which is unfortunate since you relied on her advice – which would have been good if all had gone to plan!
Your other experiences around arousal and how you pleased your partner are super normal. Some people with vaginismus can still be aroused and have orgasms as long as they’re getting pain-free stimulation – you’re just averse to the parts of the process that are painful. And unfortunately younger men who have less sexual experience are operating with the same lack of information that you are, so they likely don’t know that the pain you were having isn’t normal. The older you get, you’ll hopefully meet more experienced partners who care about your pleasure and will work with you to stimulate you in ways you enjoy.
There are a lot of treatment options out there for vaginismus, so if it’s something you want to work on, you have choices of processes that can work for you. Let us know if you have any questions – I’m glad you’ve learned about what’s happening and don’t have to be so in the dark!