Got rid of vaginismus, but other issues came up… tips and a question

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    I’ve read a similar story here a few days ago and this convince me to write down a few thoughts on this topic myself, since I’m sure there are other people running into the same issues. I’ll try to tell you how we worked on our problems and throw in a few tips here and there… I hope that’s okay for the moderators. There will definitely be some TMI info, I can hardly write this without mentioning some intimate details, so you’re warned.

    I met my husband at the age of 18, I married him at the age of 23 and now I’m 26. It didn’t take too long before we realized something was wrong with me cause my husband couldn’t penetrate me. However, I never heard about vaginismus before, and I think I was over 21 before I finally had the courage to talk about my issue to our doctor. Instead of sending me to a gyn she prescribed me a bottle of lube and added I had to relax during sex!

    It wasn’t until we moved to another town and I got another doctor I really had the feeling I was taken seriously. My vaginismus was so bad I couldn’t even get a finger in so the gyn told me I had to make an appointment with a pelvic floor therapist. It took me about a year and a half before I was able to use the largest dilator and I’m now officially “cured”.

    Oh, one important thing: I want to add that we had a fabulous sex life – yes, that is possible, even with vaginismus. Juicy little detail but I didn’t use the pill so each time I was in the middle of my cycle, I turned into a sex monster 🙂 We had to limit ourselves to mutual manual stimulation, but that didn’t stop us from doing that multiple times per week. I want to stress this because some people seem to think your sex life comes to a halt when you’ve got vaginismus, but that is not (always) the case. My husband could give me orgasms, and I could give him orgasms as well. The only thing I felt bad about is he never knew how it felt to penetrate someone during sex. I was his first, so he never had the occasion to have “real” sex with someone.

    OK so there I was, the therapy was over and I was ready for the “real deal”. My therapist warned me lots of couples run into issues when making the switch from manual stimulation to internal stimulation, and I honestly didn’t know what she was talking about – my vaginismus was gone, I was going to be able to have sex with my husband, what on earth could go wrong? Well… almost everything got wrong!

    When we had the official “go” to have sex for the first time, my husband couldn’t get hard. “No worries, we’ll try again tomorrow,” I said, thinking that could happen to anyone. On the second day I made sure I was wearing my sexy lingerie, but the same thing happened. No matter what we did, manual stimulation, kissing, naught words, more manual stimulation… he couldn’t get hard. Bummer. After all these years we finally could have a go, but each attempt ended in a lot of frustration. But when guys think it won’t work, it won’t work. Wishful thinking, but in the opposite direction.

    One tip I read at on a forum around that time was to make the foreplay longer, so when we had a day off all we did was kissing and teasing, followed by a romantic dinner in a restaurant during which I told him I wasn’t wearing any underwear 😉 Well, you know what I mean, it was basically one long day entirely build out of foreplay. That night was the first time in my life I had sex with my husband. Unfortunately only for a second or two, but I was convinced we could work on that.

    From that moment on, things started to get even worse. Getting an erection was not an issue anymore, but the timing of his ejaculation was completely wrong. And when I say wrong, I mean TOTALLY wrong. The thought he was going to have sex with me was already enough to trigger one. I lost count on the number of times he had to put a new PJ on when I started kissing him in bed. Only kissing was enough to trigger an orgasm, which was something that bothered him A LOT.

    What finally helped us was going back to manual stimulation and not aiming for penetration anymore for a while. After a few weeks we gradually incorporated a few seconds of penetration during the manual stimulation, and we managed to slowly shift towards penetration. Starting from January this year we were able to have “normal” sex and left out the manual stimulation, but we did agree he’d pull out as soon as he felt his orgasm approaching. Doing that helped him determine what kind of stimulation he had to avoid to come too soon, and this brought back control over his ejaculation.

    IMHO the fact my husband was finally allowed penetration put too much pressure on him. Instead of agreeing on a day on which we were going to try to have sex, I think it would have been better (in our case anyway) to to this more gradually to make .

    I’m not sure how representative my story is so I’d like to end with a question to all of you… how common is this? And why don’t you hear more about this? Shouldn’t this info become a be part of the vaginismus therapy in one way or another?


    Hi abby22 – thanks SO much for sharing your story, this is super informative and talks about a part of the problem a lot of people don’t know as much about!

    To start with your question, this kind of thing is VERY common, for all the reasons you mentioned. Men who haven’t been able to penetrate their partners before often have issues with erections when the time comes, sometimes because they just aren’t used to the intensity of penetration and also sometimes because they’re afraid of hurting their partners. It’s an unexpected hangup that often lengthens the journey to penetration and I wish it was more talked about.

    I think this isn’t discussed as much because often women need to be hyperfocused on their own bodies and progress at dilation when receiving treatment – it’s often a time when the male partner generously takes the backseat to support his partner, so any issues he might have are often overlooked until the time to perform comes. When I was doing dilation, my partner at the time had issues for a little bit with having an erection because he was afraid of hurting me, and we also had to deal with a separate issue earlier in our relationship because he could only have an orgasm when it was his own hand finishing him off (which turned out to be because he had gotten too used to his own grip when masturbating).

    I’m glad you brought this up – I bet lots of women are experiencing this right now but have no idea it’s a common scenario when treating vaginismus!


    Thanks for bringing this up.

    To Maze: why not create a section about this on your website and help bringing this out in the open?

    In general: did you know male sexual dysfunctions are even more common than vaginismus? Almost every single guy has issues with sexual dysfunctions at a certain point in his life, but we rarely talk about this (or when we do, we usually laugh about it).

    For most types of dysfunctions (loss of erection, not able to get an erection, ejaculating too soon or too late) special exercises are available you can do with your partner. My advice is to talk about the issues your partner has outside of a sexual context.


    It’s very true! Maze actually does have a separate website for men’s sexual issues, but it would probably be nice to address that on the women’s side too as it can be tied to vaginismus treatment. Here’s the Maze Men’s Health site:

    There’s also a section of the forums about vaginismus as it affects men, but it’s not used very often, which I think reflects the fact that men with sexual issues might feel even MORE stigma seeking help.

    At the end of the day, most men AND most women deal with either painful sex or sexual performance issues at some point in their lives – this should be a WAY more normalized part of our larger conversations around health through adulthood!


    Most women have found a way to get around their vaginismus in their marriage or relation, at least temporarily, and usually the alternative is masturbation (in each others presence or one partner doing it on the other one). And when you’re like my husband and never had sex before with another partner, that means they had NO other way of stimulation besides masturbation, for their entire life. It’s a HIGHLY underrated issue that causes problems in almost ALL couples once penetration is allowed.

    The ejaculatory reflex might be triggered at the wrong moment, causing premature ejaculations or – perhaps even worse – guys having a hard time finishing at all. Sometimes the intensity of stimulation in the vagina is so different when compared to the tight grip of a hand, guys don’t feel enough and can continue forever without ever getting an orgasm. Or they get tired, get flaccid, give up, etc… Others can’t stand the warmth/moist and ejaculate as soon as they penetrate the vagina, or even faster, when thinking about what is about to come is already enough to trigger an orgasm. The entire spectrum is possible.

    My therapist warned me this could happen and thanks to her we were able to work things out, but I’m not sure this is info that every practitioner shares with their clients.


    Hi abby22!
    This is a GREAT thread. And it is definitely not spoken about enough!! Even during my own treatment with vaginismus, I wasn’t informed that my partner could develop a sexual dysfunction. In the beginning, my husband had a difficult time staying erect because he was so scared to hurt me. After seeing my in tears multiple times before. There’s a lot to it, like redrose said, the possibilities and causes are much too large to pin point exactly. I’ve read a lot about premature ejaculation, my friends fiancé suffers this. And just like vaginismus, it’s very treatable. Inconvenient as it is, you have already overcome so much, that this will be a breeze for you two. There’s so many tricks out there you could try at home together. There’s also delay sprays or numbing creams found at sex shoppes. Of course the uses for these products would be temporary, just enough to get him acquainted with sex and build up more of a tolerance for the stimulation. I’ve read that they try antidepressants for PE because it dulls the hormones in association with sex. But those kinds of meds can come with other side effects. I’m so sorry you both have to deal with this at all, but together you’ll over come it 🙂 You both deserve the best sex life together and I really hope this is resolved for you guys soon. Best of luck!

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