marianne – thank you SO much for all your work around educating teens in Europe about sex and their bodies. Speaking as an American who got abstinence-only sex education, the work you have done is so important and valuable for the health and education of young people.
Even though I’m 5 years out from having received my botox procedure for my vaginismus, there’s still so much I’ve learned over the years since about the best ways to talk and educate about sex and pain and what’s “normal” and what normal even means, and it sounds to me from all my understanding that the way you’ve rewritten the chapter on sexual pain is about the best possible way there is to talk about the topic. Contextualizing the kind of pain that is to be expected for most women and ALSO setting clear and specific parameters around paying attention to when pain ISN’T diminishing seems like a tough line to walk and I’m really pleased to hear it’s gotten such a positive reception. I really hope that the way you’re educating people in your country becomes more prevalent all over the world, especially in places like the United States where this kind of information is sorely lacking.
It’s really interesting that you identify the fact that BOYS often have pain in early intercourse as well. It makes sense when you think about that some teens might not know to use lube (or not use enough) and that so many of them are uncircumcised. Circumcision is way more prevalent in the states so I wonder how the statistics you’ve identified would compare here, but it’s amazing that you’re normalizing this kind of practical, applicable information so teens understand what to do and when to seek help if the pain isn’t lessening. So grateful there are people like you out there doing this work!!!