SexlessInSeattle, it’s REALLY hard to talk about. I’m almost 5 years out from going through vaginismus treatment and eve though I haven’t had painful sex in a long time, it’s still something I can find hard or embarrassing to discuss with some people. Unfortunately as a society we just have a LOT of stigma in talking about sex in certain ways. Something I felt very acutely aware of was that in college, it was customary to go to breakfast on a Sunday morning and sit with my friends as they regaled us with hookup stories, but at the same time it felt IMPOSSIBLE to broach the topic of NOT being able to have sex or that sex being really painful. There are certain ways we’ve brought sex out into the open (when it’s working) but other ways we shut it into darkness (when it’s complicated or hard).
If you have friends you are really close to who normally support you emotionally, you may just need to be more direct in asking for support or a listening ear because even compassionate people sometimes just don’t know how to communicate about this stuff. Also, this is a sad fact but the older you get, I think you’ll start to encounter more women who have other types of experiences with pain (even if it wasn’t early-onset vaginismus) – many women struggle with sexual pain as they’re going through menopause or after they’ve given birth so you may find yourself less and less alone in this. I hope you have a community that can encircle you in love – you deserve that, and sometimes we just need to show people how to talk to us about what matters.