How do I tell my parents?

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    Dr. Pacik

    A frequently asked question is “How do I tell my parents that I am unable to have intercourse?” This is a sensitive area, and especially so in a religious household. I recently spoke to a young woman in her 20’s who has been through multiple relationships, desires sexual involvement but unable to hold on to her boyfriends. She is unable to use tampons and unable to tolerate a GYN exam because of pain. This is a common thread among single women and a hardship for married couples.
    I have found that parents are very supportive and I have had mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins and aunts accompany patients for support with treatment. I have found that these relatives can and desire to support their loved ones both emotionally and financially. Speaking to parents is actually quite easy when one explains that not only is it difficult (or impossible) to use tampons but also that it is often impossible to have a GYN exam. This removes the conversation from the sexual part of vaginismus and emphasizes the lack of comfort during menses and the disadvantage of not having a proper GYN exam. One does not need to discuss sexual involvement.
    I would be interested to hear from the other women how they handled this possibly sensitive topic.


    I actually debated back and forth over whether to tell them. My mother especially tends to worry (as I’m sure most moms do!). And it’s also something that is difficult for me to discuss. Once I scheduled my procedure, though, I did have to explain somewhat, as I have a dog that I wanted to arrange for somebody to watch while I’m in New Hampshire.
    I actually explained it way you (Dr. Pacik) suggest. I left out the sexual intercourse part completely (although they may suspect it, I don’t know), but it was much easier to discuss when just focusing on that as opposed to how sexual intercourse feels. My parents took that much better, I believe, than they would have if I mentioned the sexual problems as well, and it was easier for me to discuss it that way as it felt less emotional.


    I like the suggestion to keep the sexual part out and talk about the menses issues and GYN exam. That’s great. It would make it a lot less emotional, even if I had to discuss (which frankly I didn’t have to worry about as I care for my dad with dementia so no worries there). Although, he was saavy enough to ask me why in Gods name did I have to go to New Hampshire of all places to have “surgery” and wanted to know what hospital! I side stepped the answer but I just said I had a chronic pelvic pain disorder and that it was a study being done, etc. Luckily he probably lost me at “I” but in all seriousness, I have used the “chronic pelvic pain” disorder when explaining to irrelevant individuals and I don’t tend to get too many questions after that… I don’t really mention Botox because then might get the looks… I think most still see Botox as the “wrinkle reducer”.

    I do like the talking about the condition from a functional perspective with parents on other life issues like menses or GYN exams. If a parent tends to be more religious or uptight or in denial then it allows them that “out”…

    Thankfully I’m the type of mom that never wants my daughter to feel uncomfortable talking to me about her body. Yet, she’s only 7 so I will get back to you all later if that changes!


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