Hi redrose – I also loved hearing about your ritual! That’s definitely a hard part of dealing with vaginismus, finding the time and space to work on it. When I was dilating I had a partner but we didn’t live together so some nights I’d do it alone and others I’d do it at his apartment. One thing I will say is that it’s okay for your partner not to be there if it makes you more comfortable, but like Heather said, it’s also okay if he’s around! It can definitely feel weird to have someone see you dilating at first but I got used to it quickly. Most things about sex are sort of goofy anyway when you really think about them or look at them closely.
I’m glad you’ve found patterns that have worked for you – that’s what’s important for having success long term, finding what works and sticking to it.