47 and still suffering

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    Hi I am new to the forum. I always knew from a young age that I wouldn’t be able to have sex. I wasn’t able to insert a tampon and the thought of inserting anything filled me with fear. I met my husband 28 years ago and had counselling in my early 20s which was successful in that it led me to be able to have sex for the first time. But due to it being so difficult for so long I could never relax properly and enjoy it. My husband and I had further counselling in my 30s which helped a bit but I still have a mental block about sex and just can’t enjoy it like other people. I also suffer from an anxiety disorder and i can’t help thinking that the 2 are connected and i am just a bit screwed up. My husband has coped with this for 28 years but every year he blows up as he gets frustrated. We both love each other but it is getting harder and harder. He can’t understand it and I hate to see him so upset. I am going to go back to therapy again but feel so sad

    Dr. Pacik

    I am sorry to hear your difficulties. This long duration of vaginismus is all too common. Though you are in therapy I would suggest contacting Dr. Anita Hoffer aphoffer@earthlink.net. She has trained with me and does an excellent job counseling women. Though she is based in Boston, she does remote counseling for those who are not able to visit with her.


    Hi Duffers. Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post. I am so, so sorry for your struggles with vaginismus. I, too, suffered with it for several years, which included 11 years of my relationship and understand the frustrations that accompany it very well. It was especially hard when my husband, too, did not understand the condition which caused so much tension for both of us. I wanted to share an excellent thread with you. Please know that I am here for you 100%!


    In it, Dr. Hoffer writes:

    “I work with women of all ages and their sexual concerns. One of the most common sexual concerns I deal with is “dyspareunia” which is just a fancy medical word for “sexual intercourse hurts” or “sex feels like it is impossible”.

    A common cause of dyspareunia is vaginismus. The shame and anxiety that goes with this experience is HUGE and can alter the quality of a woman’s life as well as the life of the couple. Very often, women struggling with this condition are happily married to loving partners who are very understanding…….and in a way, this can add to the difficulty because the women feel guilty and, in addition to everything else, they worry that they are letting their partners down. Often they are so ashamed that they keep their problem a secret and therefore feel they cannot ask for help. It is really tragic.

    A couple can experience sexual concerns as well as relationship concerns………and the common assumption is that if you fix the relationship problem, the sex will take care of itself. But this is simply not true as many of you know because your relationship is good but the sex is not equally good…or may even be impossible right now. And moreover, sometimes, even after the physical obstacle to sexual intercourse is removed, relationship and self-esteem problems that arose while you were struggling persist.

    But in fact this is not surprising! Both types of problems need to be addressed. It stands to reason that after years of struggling with vaginismus, the shame and isolation and anxiety that have built up over time take their toll. Sometimes it may take longer than expected to really and truly enjoy sex after the procedure. And you and your partner may be (understandably) impatient for results now that the long period of being unable to experience penetration has come to an end. This is a perfectly natural response but unfortunately the road to a sexually fulfilling relationship does not always occur in a snap once the dilators are easily inserted. This is what Dr. Pacik refers to as the disconnect between physical success (dilators) and needing to catch up emotionally (enjoying the sexual experience now that this is possible).

    That is why I want to say a hearty congratulations to Jessbee and others among you who, recognizing all this, are seeking the advice of therapists and counselors who are familiar with these issues. You are not alone. It can make a huge difference to the success of the journey that you have undertaken with Dr. Pacik’s help.

    I have worked with vaginismus patients in person and also on Skype…..and I am familiar with Dr. Pacik’s work and procedure. If I can be helpful to any of you, I would be happy to do so. Please feel free to contact me at aphoffer@earthlink.net and we can set up a time to talk.”

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