How to know if I have vaginismus? Next steps?

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    Hi everyone!

    I’m new to this forum, but I first suspected I had vaginismus a few years ago.

    I got my first period (late) right before I turned 16 and then I went to the beach that summer and tried to use tampons for the first time and felt like I was hitting a wall. I tried for hours and literally sobbed because I couldn’t get anything in no matter how hard I tried. After that awful experience, I researched it and thought I might have vaginismus, so I scheduled an appointment with a gyno. I went to the gyno and she couldn’t even get a q-tip in but insisted that my vagina was perfect and nothing was wrong. After that I thought I didn’t have vaginismus because my gyno said not to worry. I also had grown up planning to save myself until marriage, so I wasn’t too worried about not having sex yet, mostly just annoyed about not being able to wear tampons.

    Now I’m 19 and I still have never been able to insert anything into my vagina. I used to really fear sex and not even desire it, but now I think it would feel good and I want to be able to do it. I went to the gyno for a yeast infection a few weeks ago and she was able to put a q-tip up my vagina no problem, so I was so relieved because I thought that meant I for sure didn’t have vaginismus like I had thought a few years ago. Anyways, tonight I tried to stick a finger up my vagina to make sure I could do it and I couldn’t get anything in at all. I could only get like half of my pinky nail bed in and that was it before it stopped. I then started freaking out that I may have vaginismus, so I tried to put a tampon in (I’m on my period) and I could get it a tiny bit further with the applicator (about a quarter inch).

    I’m freaking out because I really don’t want to have vaginismus in case I want to have sex with this guy I like when I go back to college. He has sex a lot and I would be so embarrassed and devastated if I couldn’t do it. I’m wondering if I just couldn’t finger myself because I wasn’t turned on and maybe I don’t have vaginismus?

    Would it be a bad idea to just try having sex and see if it goes in? Or should I do something before trying that? Would it make my vaginismus worse if I tried and failed or can it not get any worse than it already is?

    I’m also not even sure I want to have sex because I wanted to save my virginity for marriage, but now I’m scared I will never be able to have sex even if I wait and I want to find out if that’s true as soon as possible. But I do think sex would feel good and I think that’s the main difference between me now and 16 year old me.

    Anyways, I just really want guidance for what to do for my next steps. Would it be easier if I tried to let a guy finger me while turned on or to do it myself? Should I drink first? What type of doctor should I see, if any? Any other suggestions!!

    I so appreciate any help!!


    Hi seaturtle! Thanks so much for posting – it is brave of you to share what you’re feeling and I also think it is great you are looking into this now so that you can have as much information about yourself as possible, which will help you make the right decisions for yourself about what you end up wanting.

    For a little background, I had a lot of the same issues as you. I started dating when I was about 16 and from that age, no boy was able to penetrate me in any way – with a finger, penis, or anything else. It felt like that same “hitting a wall” sensation you describe and was just a total nonstarter. I was in college when I had a really negative experience visiting my college campus’s gynecologist and did some research online, eventually discovering that I had vaginismus. I eventually got the botox treatment at the Maze Clinic when I was 25 and my vaginismus is totally cured now.

    I say that to give you the context that I have dated with vaginismus as a teenager, a college student, and a young adult. What you decide to do simply must be your own decision about your body, but speaking from personal experience, I don’t recommend jumping into a sexual situation just hoping it will work if you suspect you might have vaginismus. I have done this in different stages of my life and it ALWAYS backfired on me. It made things way more awkward to realize my body wasn’t doing what I thought it was supposed to and to have to try and explain the situation in the moment.

    I think especially since you are in an exploration about whether you want to lose your virginity before marriage, it might be worth delving deeper into figuring out what might be happening with your vagina before you decide to get into a sexual situation. Knowing how your body works will give you more power and confidence in these situations, whether you decide you want to have sex sooner or later.

    Here are a few things I suggest trying to give yourself more information to work with. First of all, it’s fully possible that your issue with trying to insert a finger was because you weren’t aroused. Do you own an external vibrator or masturbate often? If not, I recommend trying to use a vibrator while inserting your finger to see if you feel less resistance.

    You might also think about getting a set of dilators to work with. They start off very small and can both help you figure out whether you can insert something into your vagina as well as helping you stretch out the vaginal muscles if you do find you struggle with tightness in your vagina. I used this set and it’s great:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that your mind and body are extremely linked in how they respond to things. Feeling anxious or upset when you’re trying to insert something is way more likely to make your body tense up, making your vagina feel tighter. If you do try masturbating or dilating, try to relax as much as possible before you get started to make your body as receptive as possible to penetration.

    If these experiments give you more to be concerned about, consider going back to your gynecologist and talking about all this to see if she has further insights or can diagnose you formally for vaginismus. And if she isn’t familiar with it, consider calling the Maze Clinic. They are always willing to have a free phone call with you and can send you in the right direction.

    I know this is a lot to be going through, but I think you’re doing the absolute right thing by asking yourself questions about what’s happening and being pragmatic about finding solutions. I would have saved myself a lot of pain and embarrassment if I had tackled things head-on instead of hoping they’d just go away. Let us know if you have any other questions and how it all goes!


    Hi! Im 16 and I have been able to use tampons and to have 2 of my fingers into my vagina but I was about to have sex with my boyfriend of 7 months and it was like he was hitting a wall. I researched and saw that I might have vaginismus and now it is like a new insecurity I have. My boyfriend is the best and would never rush anything but I want to have sex. I have read that some gynos do not really help this situation and say that it is fine because I am young but I do think this is a problem. I really beed advice because I don’t know if I can get dilators. This idea that I have vaginismus keeps me up at night and I really need someone to help me through this.


    Hi Olivia,

    First, don’t panic! It can sometimes take a few tries until full penetration is achieved, and that doesn’t mean you have vaginismus.

    I do think trying to get dilators would be super helpful, maybe your boyfriend can order them for you?

    If dilators aren’t an option, I would start with your fingers or asking your boyfriend to use his fingers to help penetrate the opening, and try to massage the muscles and stretch the entrance. Moving them side to side in an attempt to widen the entrance.

    If you can use tampons and get in two fingers, I think the penis is not getting in because of it’s size.

    You might still have a fully intact hymen, which might need to break, and that can also feel like a barrier, but for most young women, the penis can do that with first intercourse, but it can be painful.

    I’d try again with your partner really using his fingers first to open you up before he tries to insert his penis.

    Let us know if you try again and what happens.


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