A husbands view. The good and the bad. Advice welcome.
May 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm #9359wtcrossParticipant
My wife and I have been together for nine and a half years. We’ve been married for a year and a half. When she said she wanted to wait for marriage to have sex, I was on board since I had grown up in a religious household. Not being particularly religious anymore, I was even more on board with the notion that we could still be very intimate in a number of other non-penetrative ways. Neither of us have a huge ‘sex drive’. Mine is definitely stronger than hers but I hear that’s normal and thought nothing of it. I love her.
We got married and the wedding was so amazing, and so much fun, that we stayed and partied with friends and family long into the night. When we got home, excited as we were, we fell to sleep straight away. The honeymoon passed and she deflected my sexual advances saying that she didn’t want her first time to be in a hotel (even a 5 star in paris), and while I’ll admit to being disappointed and a little suspicious, I’ve heard the first time can be bloody and thought about an awkward encounter with the service staff. I agreed that I could wait till we got home. We did have a wonderful time and I regret nothing.
About 4 months later she finally ran out of excuses to postpone (I have work tomorrow and am worried about being sore, too tired, not in the mood, headache, too much work to do tonight, ect.), and we finally gave it a try. It hurt her so much. I guess if you’re on this site you know the type of thing I’m talking about. We tried to move past it. We heard the first time could hurt and we were both effectively virgins. We didn’t get anywhere. I couldn’t see her in that kind of pain, real pain, anymore. We stopped, frustrated, with her and I crying. I felt worthless. My inexperience or ineptitude had caused the woman I love to have what honestly seemed like a torturous experience. Either that, or she was so turned off by me that she couldn’t get her body to play along. I am notably overweight and while it has not once, not ever, even for a moment been an issue in our relationship I was certain in that moment that I was a failure in most every way I could be. I was furious, and frustrated, and distraught. Meanwhile, she was crying in pain and no doubt feeling every bit as much of a failure as I was. I am a calm and controlled man by nature and had never been so overtaken with the moment as I was then. I finally came back to our room and apologized. I had been selfish to have stepped away when I knew she was feeling terrible as well. We talked and held each other till we fell asleep. That was probably our lowest moment. A few weeks went by and we figured we’d try again. This time we went slower. We hadn’t even made it past… ahem… knocking on the door… last time, but we figured that maybe we just weren’t lining things up right, inexperienced as we were. This time we had the lights on and very carefully set things in place. She asked me to take lead because she was too nervous. I felt certain that since she was the one in pain, she should be in control but she refused adamantly. Since she was the one in pain I really had no grounds to argue so we tried again. We failed and even the slightest contact between the two brought her to tears. This repeated itself another 2-4 times over the next year.
Finally, about 6 months ago, with physical intimacy at a relationship record low, I started doing some research. Now lets be clear, I love her more than air and did even then. Our relationship was not, in any way based on the physical. She’s amazing and I seem to amuse her enough that she hasn’t realized how lucky I am to have her :). That said, I’ve still got the natural urges that didn’t just disappear and I wanted to help her avoid pain in the future. That’s when I found out about vaginismus. I brought my findings too her and we agreed that it is an absolutely fitting culprit. We had her obgyn take a look (she was advised earlier that one wasn’t needed until she became sexually active… which we couldn’t do… soo….). The doctor agreed with our home diagnosis but was unequipped to deal with it. We read the online literature and asked a doctor friend or two and have been trying some of the early stages and tricks on our own. She swears she wants to fix this and of course I believe her. That said, she does like to avoid difficult situations and I just don’t know how to say “Honey, have you done your homework tonight?” without coming across like the kind of husband I don’t want to be.
Our friends and research have suggested roughly 3-6 times a week we should do some basic stretching exercises by stretching the area in a massaging fashion from the outside. We have done this, though not as often as suggested, with what appears to be mild but visible improvements. The next step was kegles and an attempt with a finger. Lube was purchased and some efforts made. some success even. The problem is that she never seems to do any of these things on her own, thinking that it is “icky” down there. She asks me to do them for her and the literature says that I can best support her by… doing what she says. Then it hurts, and she is reluctant to even try it again for another week to a month. Like I said earlier, I’m a bit overweight and so will not be confused for a personal trainer but even I know that an exercise done only once a month, if that, isn’t going to show any improvement. How can I support her, encourage her, and keep my sanity? Not to pat myself on the back but I think nine and a half years is an admirable amount of patience. I don’t claim to have done everything right that whole time, but I have done my best to be supportive, not pressuring, and generally allowing her to set the pace. I’m at a loss. Sometimes I fear that if she doesn’t initiate some, even just a little bit, of her own treatment, I’m going to become one of those pressuring husbands that will do more harm than good.
I’ve heard it said that you should reflect from time to time. What is it you think about most? Whatever that is, whether you want to admit it or not, that is the thing you love most. I love her. She is my reason to press on. I always try and improve myself, as a provider, cook, carpenter, masseuse, husband, scholar, and man simply because I want to be the kind of man that she deserves. It is killing me that I can’t help her. Advice please?May 31, 2015 at 10:23 am #13779Dr. PacikParticipant
Thank you wtcross for your powerful post. It is a sad story, but one that I have heard often. You are a prince, like so many of the men who have supported their loved ones. Even though most of the medical community is ignorant about vaginismus, there is a great deal that can be done. Too many of my patients wait too long before satisfactory treatment.
I would suggest going to the contact form to get the questionnaires, filling them out and having me review them. Here is the link
The reason for the detailed questionnaire is because the diagnosis of vaginismus is made by history. Most women are unable to tolerate a GYN exam. If they are anesthetized, any spasm relaxes and the diagnosis is missed.
An important symptom of vaginismus is “hitting a wall” This helps differentiate vaginismus from other sexual pain disorders.
I look forward to the suggestions of others.June 3, 2015 at 10:25 am #13782Heather34Moderator
Hi wtcross. Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post. I would love to e-mail with your wife if you think she would be interested. If so, please let me know and I can set this up. I had vaginismus for 11 years, which included the first 5 years of my marriage (06-11). It was so difficult on both of us and we eventually reached the point of not even talking about it because it was so painful. We enjoyed other forms of intimacy but were never able to make love. I was so upset during this time and felt like a huge failure. I would try using the dilators on my own and also completing a workbook and just never ever had success. My husband would try in the beginning to help with the dilators and finger penetration but nothing at all worked. With each attempt, he felt like he was hitting a wall of resistance and I would retract in pain each and every time. It was simply impossible so we eventually stopped trying altogether. In 2011, I found Dr. Pacik and had the Botox treatment in June of this year. It was seriously one of the best decisions of my entire life. I can’t guarantee it will be the exact same for your wife but there is such a both physical and psychological response to this treatment. I woke up for the very first time with a dilator inside of me and this was so important for me personally to know that I was not physically broken and something could be inside of me and not hurt and it was so important for my husband to see this and know I was not in any pain. Thereafter, we practiced dilating in the office and, again, it was so important for both of us and especially my husband as he could see I wasn’t in pain with insertion. The Botox works to eliminate the “great wall” of resistance as he called it and makes inserting a dilator and later my husband now possible. 7 days post-procedure, we were able to transition to pain-free intercourse for the first time ever, something I had wanted to do for our entire relationship and marriage. 1 month ago on Thursday, I gave birth to our first child, a baby boy. Again, another dream of ours that was impossible without this treatment. I would encourage you or your wife to contact Dr. Pacik and chat and work with him in whatever way is possible. And, again, I would love to e-mail back and forth with your wife if she is interested as someone who has gone through what she is going through right now. Sending you both my support!!!!April 27, 2016 at 6:16 pm #19103Heather34Moderator
“She swears she wants to fix this and of course I believe her. That said, she does like to avoid difficult situations and I just don’t know how to say “Honey, have you done your homework tonight?” without coming across like the kind of husband I don’t want to be.
Our friends and research have suggested roughly 3-6 times a week we should do some basic stretching exercises by stretching the area in a massaging fashion from the outside. We have done this, though not as often as suggested, with what appears to be mild but visible improvements. The next step was kegles and an attempt with a finger. Lube was purchased and some efforts made. some success even. The problem is that she never seems to do any of these things on her own, thinking that it is “icky” down there. She asks me to do them for her and the literature says that I can best support her by… doing what she says. Then it hurts, and she is reluctant to even try it again for another week to a month. Like I said earlier, I’m a bit overweight and so will not be confused for a personal trainer but even I know that an exercise done only once a month, if that, isn’t going to show any improvement. How can I support her, encourage her, and keep my sanity? Not to pat myself on the back but I think nine and a half years is an admirable amount of patience. I don’t claim to have done everything right that whole time, but I have done my best to be supportive, not pressuring, and generally allowing her to set the pace. I’m at a loss. Sometimes I fear that if she doesn’t initiate some, even just a little bit, of her own treatment, I’m going to become one of those pressuring husbands that will do more harm than good.”
I would strongly encourage you to contact Melissa at Maze Women’s Sexual Health. I spent years suffering with vaginismus and, while I wanted so badly to be intimate with my then boyfriend (now hubby), I could not get past the “great wall” of resistance that led to the fear/pain response each time we tried any insertion (i.e. finger, dilator, etc.). I ended up having the Botox treatment program and this helped me to overcome 100% as the wall was no longer there (d/t the Botox) and thus, we were able to insert dilators and later my husband entirely pain-free. Dr. Pacik trained the group in NYC, Maze Women’s Sexual Health, and I, again, would recommend contacting them and working with them in any way possible. Melissa, have you seen this same situation from other husbands/partners? What advice do you have for them to help and support while not seeming overbearing but to also continue to make progress as a couple?July 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm #19479Rachel Hercman, LCSWParticipant
I just read your post and just wanted to check in and see if there is any progress on your situation? We are here for you.November 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm #20217Hector123Participant
hi wtcross. i have read your powerful postDecember 30, 2017 at 9:08 am #22293BragibbsParticipant
I have been dealing with Vaginismus with my partner well over a year now.
As a man, I’d like to tell you that you have done such an incredible job man! I am really inspired reading such stories of strong men like yourself. It is hard going through this..it sometimes feels like you’re never gonna see the other side. But as a man also going through this I just want to let you know that you are not alone; I know how lonely it can get!
Please do let us know how things are going! #crossingfingers
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