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Hi Perseverance – thank you so much for sharing your experience and perspective. I am a woman who dealt with vaginismus for nearly 10 years before getting successful treatment, and now that I’m on the other side of the experience, I have a lot more sympathy for the male partners who are placed in a support role for women who are avoiding the problem.

I can only speak for my own experience, but I am not sure I would have ever sought treatment if not for the intervention of my partner at the time. We were in a relatively new relationship, and I had told him early on about the vaginismus, but after a few months of dating he let me know that if I didn’t eventually do something to try and address my vaginismus, he didn’t see a future with me.

At first, this was devastating to hear and hit right at the heart of my deepest insecurities around not being able to have sex, but over time I came to realize that he was telling me this honest thing out of a desire to make the relationship work, not to make me feel bad. He knew himself well enough to know that sex was important to him and he didn’t want to go without it forever, and he also recognized that this condition brought me a lot of misery but I was doing nothing to address it and was taking an anxious, avoidant approach. His words were the motivation to try helping myself, and I’m so amazingly glad that I did it because I healed a very broken part of me in the process.

I tell you all this as food for thought, because you know your girlfriend best and whether she’s likely to avoid this problem indefinitely. Vaginismus can feel extremely big and scary and avoiding it feels like the most viable option as long as she assumes “everything is fine” in your relationship, but your feelings indicate that everything isn’t fine. You’re unsatisfied and your needs aren’t being met.

I think the best next step for you is to tell your girlfriend how you have been feeling, the things you have told us here. This will not be fun for her to hear and will likely hurt at first, but to tell her the truth is to take a step toward trying to save your relationship rather than letting this problem destroy the partnership rather than giving her a fair chance at trying to do something about it. She may not realize just how much this affects you and will find your honesty the motivation she needs to pursue a path of treatment.

Partners of women with vaginismus are in a really tough position because the change has to come from her, which leaves you in a helpless position while still dealing with the consequences of the condition. But I think by being honest with your partner, you are also opening the door to have some important conversations about intimacy and what you two DO enjoy, so that whatever happens with treatment, you can have interactions that are mutual and pleasurable again.

Best of luck to you, and let us know how it all goes.