Dilating for yourself

Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.

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    Many women come to us after years of not having been able to have intercourse at all, or it was very painful and unpleasant if they were able to at all. They discuss how difficult it has been for them to maintain relationships, and how vaginimus often makes them feel like a “failure” at relationships. Single patients often ask if it is “weird” that they are getting treated for vaginismus without a partner. Absolutely not! They have made the decision to get treatment for themselves, and are not in a race to be “ready.” Their success rated with treatment are just as high as women with partners, and the success if just as rewarding.


    I think this post is so relevant, regardless of what makes you want to cure your vaginismus! Women with vaginismus seek help for so many reasons–some have partners, some are single, some want to enjoy intimacy and sex, and others desperately want to have children–but I’m sure what almost everyone can agree on is that one of the greatest gains when we cure our vaginismus is the self-confidence it gives us. Having vaginismus can feel like living with a secret you’re ashamed of people discovering. Getting to feel normal is such a gift, whether you have a partner or not.


    From this forum and from knowing what it’s like to be single with vaginismus, it seems like a lot of single patients lack confidence – in meeting guys, relationships, themselves – because of the failed attempts and the fear that they may be rejected by men who know they can’t have sex. Going through treatment and gaining that confidence seems like an INCREDIBLE reward and HUGE “weight off your shoulders” for a single patient. I think getting treatment while single is an amazing, rewarding decision.


    I love this thread so much Nicole, RGQ and SKS. I especially love that you wrote single women “have made the decision to get treatment for themselves, and are not in a race to be “ready.” Their success rates with treatment are just as high as women with partners, and the success is just as rewarding.” I met and hung out with an amazing girl who came for treatment with her cousin back in July of 2012 and she wrote such a great post on her perspective of being treated for vaginismus without a partner. She wrote:

    “I had my surgery in early July 2012. My cousin attended with me… and after surpassing the initial nerves, I felt comfortable and great in NH during and after the procedure. Getting used to the dilation process was interesting… and stressful in the beginning, but I was determined to make progress and follow through on Dr.P’s program. I was dating someone casually before going NH and chose not to burden him or us with talk of vaginismus… prior to my trip, I was very “loose” and escaped any opportunity to get extremely physical with him. Prior to going to NH, I was also unable to insert a q-tip in, and had what Dr.P prescribed as stage 4 vaginismus, that I believe was/is largely due to abuse when I was younger and my own anxiety… all of which resulted in never having been able to achieve penetration.

    Upon returning from surgery, I was determined and continued with the program. I got purple in, pink and got blue in only a few times with lots of difficulty. My muscles were extremely tight and Dr. P mentioned that it would take me a while to stretch them out with dilation. A little less than a month after surgery, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the guy I was seeing and although I was nervous (about vaginismus, not about him) I pretended that “it’d had been a while” and I wanted to take it slow. He totally understood and we were able to achieve penetration on our “first” physical night, with little pain, lots of excitement and a lot of fun! Since then, it’s been getting better as I’ve learned to understand what I like, feel less nerves and become a bit more open with myself… he still has no idea about my struggles with vaginismus, and every now and then comments on how much better it is “now that we know each other”. I sometimes dilate a bit before I see him, but sometimes I don’t if I don’t have much time. He likes it because it feels “tighter” and I am able to now enjoy the experience either way…

    While in NH I had the opportunity to see two great husbands with the patients that were sharing my room… they were concerned for their wives and doing everything to help them. I have also heard of wonderful partners that have gone through a lot to support their wives and girlfriends through the struggle – I think that is amazing! In some ways, I think it’s really very difficult for single women to enter into that surrounding without the same support… after all, all women are there because they want to be loved (pun intended 🙂 and when you don’t have that directly by your side, it’s hard not to feel self concious.. jealous… or even stressed. Regardless though, on the flip side, I think that in some regard, there’s an advantage to being single – you don’t have to tell any new prospects in your life about your struggles with vaginismus (if you don’t want too) and there is a bit less pressure to perform. You move at your own pace and do what’s right for you… and in some ways, that’s very freeing and liberating.”


    They have made the decision to get treatment for themselves, and are not in a race to be “ready.”

    Depends on the person. I’m hoping to resume trying to conceive via IUI in January, and I’ve definitely felt a push to make faster progress because of that. A romantic partner isn’t the only factor that could make someone be in a hurry to overcome vaginismus.

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