As someone who had been feeling completely alone in this for over a decade and totally unable to get any kind of help here, without even understanding why can’t I do something so basic that everyone does, I feel like I owe it to woman all over the world to share my success story, too, and hope it will encourage them to work on their issues and not loose hope.
I’ve been unable to have sex for 11 years. I’ve got my first boyfriend when I was 15. I was 16 when we tried penetrative sex for the first time, and it felt like he just hit the wall. That was just the first out of many many unsuccessful tries that followed over a 9 year period of time. Naturally, over the time we kinda found the way around it and stopped trying to have penetrative sex. I never knew what was wrong. I assumed that my hymen was just too stiff or that I am just not tollerant enough to pain. It did bother me, because I felt like I was born with a defect, but it did not affect my relationship too much, as our sex life didn’t really suffer.
After we broke up, I thought that was it. I will never ever have another boyfriend, as the thought of having to explain that I can’t have penetrative sex with them for the reasons that even I don’t quite understand was even more terrifying for me, then actually trying to have sex.
Of course, you don’t control how you feel about someone, so in December 2017. I started dating my current (hopefully last) partner, and pretty soon I had to start explaing some things. I don’t even know what I told him exactly and of course he didn’t quite understand either, but he understood that I have a problem and that penetrative sex is currently off the table and he respected that. But new relationship was a motivation for me to seek help.
And I did. In 2018, I went to gynecologist, explained the issue, and had myself checked. That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I remember him showing me the tool and explaining that it is the smallest one that exists, and it’s used to examine children, but still, inserting it was not easy. I was so scared and any attempt to relax was a fail. The nurse was actually holding my hand and conforting me, staying that it’s ok, that I can do it. Feeling of shame was the only thing that kept me from running away from that office with my panties in my hands. And I am glad it did, because that day was a breakthrough. After the examination was finished, I felt so proud of myself. And despite it being very unpleasant, I remember thinking that I could actually do it again if needed.
The doctor said that my hymen was indeed a bit too stiff and recommaned removing it surgically, but other then that, anatomically, everything was fine.
I had my hymen removed after 2 weeks. 10 days after that, we had another atempt at penetrative sex, and guess what? Nothing changed. Still couldn’t do it, and I was desperate. My boyfriend was supportive about it, telling me to give it time, that it’ll happen when it happens, but at that point I was ready to give up on it.
And I did. Until in April this year, we decided that we want to start a family. We were going to try for splash pregnancy and have IUI as a back up option. But the more I was reading about pregnancy and examinations, I more I was realizing that I can not avoid having vaginal examinations while pregnant.
So I started Googling. “Painful sex”. “Can’t use tampons”. “Sex feels like hitting the wall”. All search resaults led to vaginismus. I couldn’t understand why would I have it, and why the hell my doctor didn’t realize that I have it, but it was obvious that Vaginismus was a name for my problem. And just giving it a name took away a huge stone from my chest.
This is the point when these kind of forums were a life changer for me. I could not find almost anything about vaginismus in my own language. No studies about it. No experiences shared. Noone talks about it here. I was able to find ONE gynecologist that actually knows what it is and how to treat it, and she was accross the country, so seeing her on regular bases was hard for me to afford. But I kept reading about it in these forum. Successful stories gave me hope. I read about dilators, I read tips on how to insert them, how to relax my pelvic floor muscles in order to insert anything at all. I could not find dilators here, so we improvised. I explained to my boyfriend what is it that I have. He read about it too, and really made an effort to understand what it is and how to help me. And he really did. He helped me practise. I was so terrified fo trying to insert a finger or anything at all that I actually had him do it the first time. This is when trust and support and being able to not feel ashamed in front of your partner mean everything. He was very gentle, stopped every time he noticed I was struggling to breathe, and he listened to my instrucrions very carefully.
Noone was more surprised then me when we got from inserting one finger to him actually successfully inserting his penis within just 10 days. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t great for me in the beginning, but each next time was a little less uncomfortable and a little more pleasant.
I can safely say that today, six months later, we can have succesfull penetrative sex that is pleasant for both of us. It still takes a lot of foreplay and lube is often a must – othervise it can stil hurt, especially at the entrance, and then pain makes it hard to orgasm, but these are really seldom occassiones.
When I look back at my journey now, I think there were a few things that were key points for me.
First was actually learning that I am not a freak, but that I have an actual medical condition that is not that rare, and can be treated.
Then thinking about that first vaginal exam that showed me that something indeed can fit inside my vagina without “breaking” anything.
And finally, learning how vaginismus works helped me understand my body and be able to relax my pelvic floor muscles enough to allow anything in.
Everything after that was just practise.
So to all the women out there who are struggling with this, please know – as hopeless as you might feel – know that this is a treatable condition. Our country does not provode any help nor information for women with vaginismus, we have no pelvic floor terapists here, I couldn’t even buy vaginal dilators here – and yet I made it, with the support of my partner and information I could collect on the internet. So if I was able to do it, you can too. Don’t wait a decade to ask for help, don’t be ashamed of it and please please don’t let anyone make you feel guilty ’cause you can’ t do it. Ask for help, because of YOU. Because YOU deserve to enjoy your sex life and you are not alone ❤️