September 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm #8657desperatedanParticipant
Me (24) and my partner (22) have been together for over 7 years now and our sexual relationship has been virtully non-existant. When we first became sexually active we were having sex regularly but about 3 years ago my partner stopped wanting to have sex. Around two years ago she told she had vaginismus but she has been unwilling to do anything about it. 7 months ago I bought her the vaginal dilators, and at the time she said we would work on it. However she still hasn’t tried to address the problem, she keeps making excuses as to why she can’t.
Whenever I try to initiate any sort of intmate contact she gives me the cold shoulder/makes an excuse not to. Although I would like to spend the rest of my life with her, this whole issue is hurting my self esteem. I know vaginismus is best treated without intercourse but why won’t my partner be intimate in other ways? It’s as though she doesn’t want any form of sexual contact with me and I am becoming to see the relationship as being more like room mates. This is really getting me down and although I would never cheat on her, I can’t go on like this forever!
Any advice would be appreciated.
DesperatedanSeptember 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm #10347Heather34Moderator
Hi Dan. I am the forum moderator and while I truthfully don’t know what it’s like to be a partner/husband of someone with vaginismus, I know how hard it is on a relationship and how much of a toll it can take on both parties.
I came across the following article from vaginismus.com that I wanted to share with you:
“How does vaginismus affect husbands or partners of women with vaginismus?
Sexual problems due to vaginismus can negatively affect all aspects of a relationship. Overcoming vaginismus together can deepen and strengthen couple bonds and bring needed restoration.
Although women experience the consequences of having vaginismus most acutely and directly, it is important to acknowledge that their partners will also experience a wide range of impacts. As the ordeal of untreated vaginismus drags on into weeks, months or years before solutions are found, frustrations mount and the relationship can undergo severe strain. The impacts of vaginismus on men create unique burdens as they often feel helpless and at the mercy of a situation they can’t control. Some typical emotions the male partner may experience are:
• Rejection – “I’m so tired of being rejected all the time. What’s wrong with me that keeps her from wanting to have any kind of sexual relationship with me? First, it was just being unable to have intercourse, but now she hardly wants me at all. This whole thing makes me feel unappreciated.”
• Empathy – “My wife would be crushed if anyone found out about this. I feel so badly for her and I know she is going through so much pain. I believe that she means well and doesn’t intend to hurt me, but her problem is hurting both of us. I really feel sorry for her, and yet I have no idea what to do.”
• Guilt – “I feel so guilty for wanting to have sex at all because I know how painful it is for her. I can’t even look at her when we attempt sex because it hurts her and she is just trying to endure the pain. I have normal guy ‘needs’ and I’m not sure what to do about all this frustration. Is it selfish to want to be with the woman I love? Did I do something that could have caused this?”
• Anger – “I’ll admit I haven’t always been the most supportive of husbands. I’ve been so angry at the situation, angry at people who can actually have sex and just angry in general. It makes me mad when she pushes me away or ignores my advances. When I realize that it is not her fault, I’m not as directly angry with her, but I’m still angry inside.”
• Frustration – “I am trying with all my heart and soul to try and see her side of the situation. But, what about me? I have feelings too! All I want is to feel the emotional connection that sex is supposed to provide. Is that too much to ask?”
• Confusion – “I don’t get it! I always thought my wedding night would be the most wonderful night of my life and then … nothing. Now it is a year later and still no sex. The doctors say there is nothing wrong with my wife. What can we do?”
• Fear – “I don’t know how long I can do this. I mean, I really love her but come on! I don’t want to live forever in a sexless relationship. We wanted kids and now I’m afraid that won’t happen either. What is my future going to be like if this continues?”
• Distancing – “My home life is a mess and I don’t even want to see my wife right now. I might as well put my time into work or spend more time with the guys. At least my friends appreciate me and if I’m busy I won’t have to think about it.”
It is important for male partners to understand that vaginismus is not something the woman intentionally caused to avoid having sex. The tightening of the PC muscle that causes the vagina to ‘clamp shut’ is an unconscious reaction which is involuntary and happens without control or intention.
Even though a woman may very much want to engage in intercourse, there is a ‘disconnect’ between her mind and body which triggers the PC muscle to spasm. There are many emotional and physical factors which may contribute to the development of vaginismus. Emotional factors such as fear of penetration (not common to all types of vaginismus) will impact some women with vaginismus. In these cases it is important for a woman to understand and overcome her fear and negative thoughts about sex. The self-led emotional inventory included in the self-help program helps a woman to get to the root of these factors and override them with positive sexual feelings.
It is not uncommon for men to ‘bottle up’ their emotions and deny the anger, frustration and stress associated with living in an unconsummated relationship. Often men feel like they can’t tell anyone about their situation. They may also be worried about hurting their wife if they tell someone else about their “little secret” so they live with pent-up feelings of resentment and sadness – both for them and their mate.
Sadly, many couples discontinue having times of intimacy because of the pain and the frustration of failure at attempted intercourse. Conflict is common and relationship issues may continue to escalate as the vaginismus remains untreated. Communication breakdown may occur as spouses retreat to their own side of the bed or even sleep in separate beds.
In addition to the vaginismus, a couple may also have to deal with the medical condition, surgery, or assault that possibly triggered the problem, potentially causing further relational strain.
There is a solution
Typically, once a diagnosis has been made and a treatment process initiated, there is a reduction in the overall level of stress the couple has been experiencing. Many couples, after working through vaginismus treatment do find that they are emotionally closer to one another, have improved communication skills, and do not take their sexual relationship or partner for granted.”
I would encourage you to share this article with your partner. I would further strongly encourage her to join this Forum as well and communicate with Dr. Pacik and his staff as they have helped so many couples to overcome vaginismus, including my husband and I. We suffered from vaginismus for our entire relationship and overcame and had successful intercourse within one week of this treatment.
I sincerely hope this helps you and I strongly encourage others reading this to also share advice and feedback here.September 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm #10352NakitalabParticipant
Dan, I have suffered with vaginismus for over 31 years and am so excited to have my treatment with Dr. Pacik in October. When I read your post I felt compelled to tell you how I have felt over the years as someone who suffers with vaginismus. My husband and I have been married for over 31 years. Throughout all of these years I have gone through periods when I didn’t want to be intimate with my husband. And it is not because I don’t love him, it is because of the guilt and shame that I feel having this awful condition. You feel like you are a freak and not a true woman and you feel like you are the only woman who has this, it is truly humiliating. It is a condition that women don’t talk about and what a blessing this website and forum are to all of us. It gives us a voice and a great support system of other women who suffer from the same condition. There have been many times when I didn’t want to be intimate in any way, shape or form because it is a painful reminder of what I am not able to do–make love with my husband without pain. Libido has a tendency to walk out the door when you have these feelings of inadequacy, try and not succeed and have pain. For me I sometimes become obsessed, looking at teenage girls, other women thinking how it must be so easy for them…why can’t it be for me. In fact I have been on anti-depressants for many years. I still can’t believe that my husband has stayed with me for all of these years. He has experienced many “dry spells” all of these years. So please don’t give up hope. Your girlfriend may be hurting so much inside that being intimate in any way, including intercourse, is still a painful reminder of this awful burden that we carry. You had her best interest at heart when you purchased the dilators, but they can be very intimidating. I just stumbled across this website three weeks ago and am scheduled to go in for treatment in October. I can’t tell you what it means to actually feel “hope” again; having gone through so many different treatments, counseling, etc. I had lost all hope. I hope that you and your girlfriend will seriously consider Dr. Pacik’s treatment. It would be an encouragement for her to read all the posts on this forum too. We are all here for each other so please don’t hesitate to post and let your girlfriend know she doesn’t need to suffer in silence anymore. There are so many success stories from women who have had Dr. Pacik’s treatment and that gives me hope and hopefully you and your girlfriend too.September 23, 2012 at 5:58 am #10353Dr. PacikParticipant
Dan, this is a very important post. Many men experience exactly what you describe. There seems to be no good answer until the vaginismus is cured, and even then there may be irreparable damage to the relationship. It is important that your wife complete the questionnaires (you may have to fill them out for her, sometimes women are unable to complete them, too much emotion attached) and that both of you spend time reading the book “When Sex Seems Impossible…” (can be ordered through my office or on Amazon.com). Severe vaginismus is diagnosed mostly by history, women who have the severe form are unable to be examined. Botox is used to overcome the muscular spasm usually identified at the time of treatment. Post procedure counseling is often a must after treatment to overcome relationship and libido lingering effects of vaginismus after treatment. It is not an easy path, but there can a rainbow at the end of all this if both of you are willing to do the work.
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