Currently Trying to Seek Help/Diagnosis

Home Forums Vaginismus Support Group Sexual Pain That May Not Be Vaginismus Currently Trying to Seek Help/Diagnosis

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    So I would say that my symptoms aren’t exactly as bad as the average vaginismus case, but they are still bad enough to the point where I feel I need to seek outside help. I’m a 20 year old with no background of sexual abuse and came from a very open household. My first time inserting a tampon was around age 13 and was horribly painful to the point that I refused to use them for years after. At 17 I was able to insert one with discomfort but it wasn’t painful like before. I now have had a boyfriend for around a year, and we’ve been trying to have sex (with a ton of lube and foreplay that I am very into) and its horribly painful for me. I can’t even get him in passed the tip because the pain gets so bad. It feels sometimes like pressure based pain, and others like a burning and tearing sensation. Either way its be near impossible to deal with the pain, I will say that I did tear once though not to bad, but have never bled from any attempts. I can insert my fingers, at first I had to start with one, but have progressed to two and at times even three. He can also insert a finger without much discomfort so long as we use lube or I’m excited enough.

    I did attempt to talk to the gynecologist about this but she dismissed me and just said to go slow and use more and a better lube. I was able to have a pelvic exam which was painful though fairly bearable. The initial insertion was the most uncomfortable part, she said I was anatomically normal and since the pain of the exam was only initial it was hard to express it to her. She also recommended oil based lubes but never stipulated to use them with nonlatex condoms only. Needless to say the experience made me cry and really made me feel worse.

    My boyfriend is pretty girthy, but I’m wondering if this is a lighter form of vaginismus, vulvodynia, or perhaps that I have a really thick hymen. I just don’t want to feel alone in this because it feels very isolating and invalidating that I can’t have sex no matter how much I want to.


    Hi Patricia,

    It is hard to differentiate and diagnose vaginismus vs. vulvodynia without doing an exam.

    It is possible that you have either, or both. Vaginismus is the contraction of the vaginal muscles that prevent penetration, and vulvodynia or vestibulodynia is pain at the vulva or vaginal entrance. You for sure have pain at the entrance, and that pain could be because the muscles are tightening up. Vulvodynia can also be from hormonal changes, or nerve proliferation at the vaginal entrance.

    It is possible to have a very thick hymen, and when your partner tries to penetrate, you are feeling pain from that tension, and possible tearing of the hymen.

    Most gynecologists are not very experienced in vaginismus or vulvodynia. So as long as they can get the speculum in and complete their exam, they will probably say, “you are fine”.

    Seeing someone to assess the muscles, like a physical therapist, or a specialist in vulvodynia would be my next suggestion.

    Or…try a home dilation kit. See if slow progressive dilation over time helps. If you do have some vaginismus, the dilation should help treat that. And if your partner is very wide, you would need to keep dilating up to a size that is as big as him.


    Hi Patricia – I’m sorry for the pain you’ve been having, and especially that your gynecologist was so dismissive! This is depressingly common even in gynecological medicine even though vaginismus and vulvodynia affect so many women. I agree with everything Melissa has said and think it might be a good idea to try dilating at home. Even though you don’t have as severe of symptoms as some people, working with dilators could stretch your vaginal muscles and get you more used to the feeling of being penetrated. There is a ton of support and information on dilation on these forums, so I highly recommend looking into that!

    Let us know if you have other questions – you were brave for posting here and seeking answers so I hope you’ll keep pursuing a painless and pleasurable sex life!

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