16 Year old struggling with Vaginismus

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    Hi, I recently went to the doctors because I’ve been struggling with any sort of penetration of more than a finger with my last and current boyfriend. The doctor referred me to the Psychosexual clinic within 5 mins without any further questions when I went to see her, (because no teenager would go to the doctor to talk about sex unless something is wrong, right?). It feels great to finally put a name to what I’ve been experiencing as I went to the doctors previously at age 12 because I couldn’t for the life of me insert a tampon, it ended with me crying on the bathroom floor. I originally figured that it was due to a thick hymen and the doctor took a look at me and told me and my mother that I was fine, that nothing was wrong. I just figured ‘Hey, maybe I just tried with tampons too early, its no biggie, I’ll be able to do it when I’m older.’ But things didn’t get better and by age 14 I’d given up on using tampons all together. I knew that accommodating fingers in my vagina might be a little trying but it shouldn’t be a huge issue and at age 15, my boyfriend found he could barely insert the first 2 – 3 cm of his finger in, not only that but he jerked his finger oddly, breaking my hymen in the process. I bled and hurt for about 10 mins before it went away and thought maybe now things won’t be so bad. I start dating a really nice, respectful guy and when I turn 16 I get condoms and we decide to give it a go. We both knew that I couldn’t manage 2 fingers, yet I convinced him and truly felt like I was ready. But it ended in a matter of a few seconds with me screaming at him to get away and it felt like a sharp, burning sensation and he hadn’t even moved inside yet. We decided to just leave it.
    That relationship ended not too long after, for other reasons than not being able to have sex.

    Meanwhile, I don’t tell any of my close girlfriends about it because I wasn’t sure if it made me a virgin or not and because of the pain I just kept it to myself. I ended up telling my closest friend and crying into her 3 months later. Then started dating my current boyfriend who is very warm and supportive, every time we tried I would end up crying on him, saying that I felt worthless and awful about the whole thing. More of my female friends knew about the pain at this point and those who had already had sex were just asking me the same questions over and over and over ‘Are you sure you were ready?’ ‘Was there enough foreplay?’ Yes and YES. I was at my wits end and started googling my symptoms and found Vaginismus, all of the pieces started to fall into place.

    I was worried that the doctor wouldn’t refer me to the psychosexual health clinic at my age and I felt a bit silly asking for a referral. But I am now on the waiting list for the clinic and I was wondering what Psychosexual therapy entails? Do they do physical therapy with dilators or is it more of a talking therapy?
    Many Thanks 🙂


    Hello Fabelhaftness! I’m really happy to hear you’ve been referred to the clinic and that you’re taking steps to help yourself recover – that’s braver and more impressive than you probably know. I’m glad you found out about vaginismus relatively early in your life (it probably doesn’t feel that way, but if you do much reading on these forums you’ll see swaths of people in their 20s, 30s, even older who have only recently understood what’s happening to them or taken steps to do anything about it). I learned about vaginismus in college but it was another 4 years before I actually sought treatment, and I wish I’d been proactive and less afraid sooner.

    As I understand it (and I haven’t had it myself), psychosexual therapy is more about talking about your feelings and removing some of the negative emotions associated with sex. Treating the psychological is a really important part of the vaginismus healing process – the physical problem is what’s technically stopping you from having sex, but the anxiety around sex that forms is what keeps the pain/fear cycle perpetuating. I suspect the psychotherapist will encourage you to try dilating in addition to therapy and I’d encourage you to try it as well. It’s what will eventually make your body ready for using tampons and having sex. But if it doesn’t work at first, there are other options like the botox treatment. I recommend taking it one step at a time – you have already taken the biggest step of all by continuing down this path toward healing.

    Let us know how it goes! We’re here to support you and answer questions if you ever need it!


    Thank you Recessivegenequeen, it’s really nice to get advice from someone who understands the position I am in. I am definitely looking forward to the talking therapy as I have been through hypnotherapy for my anxiety before so I can imagine it won’t be too difficult to get used to. As dilators go I definitely want to try them out (I almost ordered some off of amazon not too long ago) as they seem to help out for lots of other women.

    When I visited the doctor to be referred she told me to stop doing my Kegel exercises as they tighten the muscles? I thought that they allow you to have more control over the muscles and I can manage 2 fingers now so they must have been doing something. 🙂


    Fabelhaftness, I’m really glad to hear that you have a positive outlook on your treatment and are looking forward to the therapy – this is a great mindset to have that will help you go through the ups and downs of dealing with vaginismus. I do hope you’ll give dilators a try – they’re very useful for tracking your own progress as you’re able to move up to larger sizes.

    That’s intriguing about what your doctor said about Kegels – they’re often suggested alongside other vaginismus treatments. The focus is meant to be placed on being able to RELAX your muscles after tensing them, so maybe she’s worried you’re only doing the tensing part? I hope it’s been helping though!

    Have you started your therapy yet? How is it going?



    This story is very familiar to me, as I knew that I was unable to wear tampons/be fingered comfortably pretty early on in my life. I am SO happy that you found out about vaginismus and found this forum, because I didn’t know what was wrong with me until my early 20s (like recessivegenequeen) and started treatment after college – I really wish I had figured it out sooner!

    I’m also happy that you’re optimistic and trying different things – I know that with your positive attitude and your determination, you’ll be able to get through this, no problem!

    Like recessivegenequeen said, I think psychosexual therapy will try to change the “penetration = pain” mindset that those with vaginismus likely have due to the physical part of vaginismus. I don’t know that they’ll help you with dilators but I’m not sure, and if not you can try dilators on your own and/or go to a pelvic physical therapist to help you with them (I bought dilators but couldn’t use them on my own, but was able to use them with the help of Maze women’s health center) 🙂 Also, about kegels – if you feel like they’re helping you, keep doing them! Everyone’s journey is different, and I’ve read that for some people kegels can be very helpful and are encouraged.

    I overcame vaginismus using dilators of increasing size and going to Maze Women’s Health center every couple/few weeks to help me with the dilators. I think that you might feel comfort in reading my success story, as I had the same issues as you and got through dilation therapy a much more confident and strong person – and it was obviously the hugest weight off my shoulders to not feel anxious and worried about sex – I honestly can’t even describe the relief!

    Here are a couple quick excerpts from my post:

    “This comes from me being a very difficult case – I couldn’t wear tampons from the pain/fear, and the thought of dilating with even the smallest dilator gave me immense fear. The physical portion of the first couple appointments were incredibly nerve-wracking; I was prescribed Xanax to take before each following appointment.

    When I was able to move up in dilator sizes every appointment, I felt accomplished and motivated.

    Just wanted to reach out and share a bit of my story. While there were times of frustration and times I wanted to give up, I’m so glad I went out of my comfort zone to make the first appointment and persevere …”

    My post and another success story from someone who had the botox procedure that is mentioned a lot throughout these forums can be found here:


    I hope this helps a bit, I know firsthand that vaginismus is a lonely thing to go through! Definitely look through some success stories on this forum to show you that there were so many of us in your shoes that were able to overcome this. 😀 and DON’T GIVE UP! With time and patience and determination you can get through this!

    Keep us updated!



    Thank you both for your really nice encouragement, I definitely think I’ll give dilators a try soon and start doing my Kegel exercises again. 🙂 I haven’t started treatment yet as the waiting list for the NHS is ridiculously long.

    I’m not too worried about the talking therapy though, as I’ve had hypnotherapy before for anxiety so I’m sure it won’t be too hard to become quite calm when I go to the clinic for the first time (because everyone is there for a similar reason).

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone and I do often wonder how many people I have met in my life that have Vaginismus or have been effected by it that I don’t know about! I’ve found that just realising that fact has already helped me take a few steps and reach small milestones with my boyfriend (who has to deal with me happy crying afterwards). Thanks to this forum, I know that I can put in the work to overcome Vaginismus and get better!

    Thanks very much! 🙂


    Fabelhaftness, I’m so glad to hear you’ll be continuing to work on your vaginismus! I have total faith in you, and it’s good that you’re feeling ready for parts of the process. I often wonder how many people around me have suffered from vaginismus or some versions of its symptoms, but I have to imagine that it’s way more people than we would expect. I think working on it, healing it in ourselves, and then being able to talk about it helps us be a resource and hsows people that they’re far from alone in this problem.

    Best of luck and let us know how it all goes!

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