Finding my way

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    Hello, I’m a long time reader and first time poster.

    My sex life has been virtually non existent for the past year or 2. After one year of being with my (now ex) boyfriend, we had sex for the first time and it was great – despite the fact that I was initially scared. A couple of months went by and things were going well, and then I started to have dreams where I had sex with other men – which was absolutely traumatising for me! I began to feel a lot of guilt and started to fear having sex and intimacy with my partner. He was very supportive when I mentioned what happened, and encouraged me to see a therapist for my anxiety (which I did and this helped me a lot). A few months went by and I was able to get back into things no problem.

    Our 2 year anniversary came around and we obviously decided to have sex. It wasn’t painful for me, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. All I could feel was movement and nothing else. I’ve never had an orgasm, and it sucks that I could not enjoy it the way that he could. From there on I felt that fear creeping back in over time and I just started to avoid it altogether, which was incredibly frustrating for him.

    We tried again about 3 months later and I remember making him stop because it was painful for me, and at the time I thought nothing of it and that it was down to nerves. My partner told me that I needed to do something about this or he wasn’t sure that the relationship could work for him. I went and saw a “sex” therapist that my original therapist sent me to, and she was terrible. She told me that she was not sure if she could help me, and told me to basically accept that women are not meant to enjoy sex.

    Fast forward 8 months later I found myself no better off, still with no sex. My boyfriend started to push me again to work something out because he was getting frustrated. I went and found a new therapist who has been absolutely fantastic in helping me work through my issues and encouraged me to get dilators. I can use the 4th size with no pain almost straight away. She also has encouraged me to go to physical therapy to help with the pain.

    Unfortunately the disconnect created by the lack of intimacy for him and the anxiety surrounding it led me to ending the relationship. While he always tried to be patient, he never made any effort to try and support me and empathise with how I was feeling. He never tried to make any suggestions or do any research on how he could help. I was never pleasured enough by him in other areas of our sex life, but I always prioritised making him feel good. I feel a bit deflated knowing that I stayed with someone who took a back seat. We were together for 3.5 years.

    A month after our break up I can feel that I have grown as a person, but I am yet to get back into dilating. I have paused my therapy sessions temporarily to work on myself independently, but mentally I am still feeling quite damaged.

    My question here is, how do you ladies get through the mental side of things? How big of an impact can a supportive and understanding partner have? I know that I can handle the physical side of this as I’m not afraid of my dilators, but I am concerned that the mental aspect will always hold me back. I want to be free from this anguish, and I know it will take time. I’ve never had an amazing sex life when it was active, so I suppose that is an issue too.

    I’m so glad that this group exists because I have nobody that I can talk to who understands what I am going through.

    Thank you 😊


    I’m sorry to hear about your troubles! I suffered with vaginismus for 10 years, so I understand your frustration.

    First off, CONGRATULATIONS on dilation and taking all these steps with therapy and physical therapy, that is a really big step and it sounds to me like you’re very determined to overcome this.

    I think that dilation is very important. Take your time with it, watch a movie, get comfy and be gentle with yourself. Listen to your body and don’t push your body past it’s limits.

    And I think you can do this solo. The only support you need is from yourself. And the end goal is amazing! When I first had sex, after overcoming vaginismus, it took me months for the sex to start feeling really good. It took dilation, and physical therapy, and kegels, but it happened for me and it will happen for you!

    Since you are alone, I think it’d be important to get in tune with yourself sexually. Find out what you like, learn yourself. Have fun with it. And whenever you may find yourself messing around with a guy, you can tell him exactly what you like, that way you can be happy too!

    If you’re really determined to have enjoyable sex, then you can absolutely do it! You’re already so far ahead of the game. Keep dialating, and continuing your therapies and just be kind to yourself and you will get there without a doubt!

    You have every right to enjoy sex and have an incredible sex life. It shouldn’t be painful and it doesn’t have to be.


    Heather put it so beautifully – be gentle with yourself. I think it would be very helpful to find a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help guide you through dilation as well as a sex therapist with whom you have a good connection. Healing sexual pain is a journey and it’s always beneficial to receive good support (from both a physical and an emotional perspective) while you’re working through it.
    And please do keep us posted!


    Hi Polkadots, and welcome to the forum! I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through on this journey – you’ve gone through a lot of emotional anguish that’s familiar to so many of us, though I’m really glad you seem to be in a clearheaded place now of seeking treatment and answers.

    Heather’s advice was very good – the first step physically of working toward a better sex life is in discovering what you like through self-pleasure and exploration. It helps you to understand how to tell future partners what you want and like and what to expect in terms of how to have an orgasm.

    However, in my experience the key to really having better sex was in deprogramming the idea that you describe here: “I was never pleasured enough by him in other areas of our sex life, but I always prioritised making him feel good.” This is true of so many women, even those who don’t deal with vaginismus! For some reason we learn that the point of sex is to make a man feel good at all costs, which could not be more wrong and is very damaging. Thus part of the work of having better sex is in truly believing we deserve it.

    This article helped me to understand how screwed up this dichotomy is and I highly recommend reading it:

    Keep exploring both your body and your emotions – a therapist you trust is so helpful in this, but so is just opening up to people in your life, journaling your feelings, or whatever else you do that helps you process things. We’re here to help you and address questions you have, so please let us know how it goes!

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