Lack of knowledge

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    “Why don’t you write some of your thoughts down on the site”. It was my wife who actually encouraged me to post a text here on the bulletin board after a frustrating meeting with some of our friends. Since I’m her husband, I’m putting it here in the Vaginismus For Men section, but I’m not sure… perhaps it belongs in another topic, mods please feel free to move it.

    The main reason I’m writing this is because both me and my wife have the idea that there is a lot of confusion on what vaginismus exactly is, when pain during sex is to be excepted, when it’s normal and when it’s not. And when it’s not: when is it vaginismus, and when is it something else. This is not always clear to everyone, including many of our friends. Mind you: I’m not a doctor, I’m writing this based on my own experience, but I hope it might help some of you.

    First some background info. I was rather young when I started dating girls, and I had sex for the first time a few weeks before I turned 17. Let me stress that I’m not particularly proud of that period. I always had consensual sex, but I clearly didn’t aim for long lasting relationships, to say the least. I went from one girl to another without any effort. While I was going to college I worked in a bar and I picked up a new girl almost every month. I know my wife hates it when I talk about that time, and I don’t want to brag either, but that’s the way things went when I was young.

    There is a reason why I’m telling you this. Many of the girls I’ve been with, were virgins. I know this sounds incredibly disrespectful, but me and my best mates hated that. Not because those girls were clumsy in bed or didn’t know what to do, but rather because their first times are usually a painful and unpleasant experience. I know this sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. Even when they were excited enough, most of them were tight, it was difficult to get my penis in, they lost blood and were clearly in pain. Sex while one of the partners isn’t enjoying it, isn’t my cup of tea, so that’s why me and my friends hated it so much. But here’s the thing: when I had sex with that same girl for the second or third time, things always started to improve. Gradually the pain went away, their vagina’s seemed to stretch in one way or another and sex became more fun. Note that I said gradually: it usually took a few times before they were pain free. And although some of those girls *thought* they had vaginismus, I’m sure this was never really the case.

    Even when the pain doesn’t go away, it’s not necessarily related to vaginismus. I remember one of my girlfriends was always in pain when we had sex. Literally always, to the point she cried when we were intimate. A year later I heard from her best friend she went to a gyn and was diagnosed with a half intact hymen. It was removed and according to her friend she now had the best sex ever (ouch to my ego). Again: not vaginismus.

    I met my wife when she was 26 and I knew she had some issues being intimate with her previous partners. When we tried to have sex her vagina was so tight I either couldn’t get in at all, or I managed to get my glans in but this resulted in her being in terrible pain while I felt how her muscles were almost crushing my penis. This was NOT normal. She was diagnosed with vaginismus a few months later.

    We’ve often read in the past that people think that pain during sex automatically means they’ve got vaginismus, but that’s not true. Pain is never “normal” but it can be expected in some cases. And there can be plenty of reasons why women are in pain but still don’t have vaginismus! In our case, we informed some of our close friends my wife has vaginismus, and it’s astonishing to hear how little people know about it. My wife had some of her friends saying to her they were in pain too sometimes when they had sex (vaginismus=always painful) and that it hurt them too when their partner went in too deep (vaginismus=impossible to penetrate).

    I think this sums up everything I wanted to say… I’m not sure if I’ve been clear though. Basically I think people should be more educated on what vaginismus really is and what it’s not.


    Hi Patrick,

    Thank you so much for your post.

    I think it is so important that we continue to hear from partners and get their perspective.

    I agree painful penetration is not always vaginismus. And hymenal anatomy for many women can be a big reason for initial penetration pain. I do find that a lot of my patients who develop vaginismus…aslo have very thick, high hymens, that are not easily broken.

    I do encourage women who are experiencing that impenetrable vaginal entrance, to get evaluated for thick intact hymen.
    A hymenectomy procedure can be very helpful.

    I wonder sometimes if that thick hymen starts a viscous cycle of pain, fear response…and the cycle just continues to get worse, the more pain and fear develop.

    Vaginismus is then created from the fear, which makes the muscles surrounding the vaginal entrance spasm and tighten, which makes penetration even more impossible.


    Thank you for your kind words. Again: I’m not a doctor and I can only speak of what I’ve heard and learned from other women, but IMHO there is a general tendency in sex ed to leave out a lot of useful info on the hymen. I’ve already heard people saying that the hymen is a myth, that only a minority of women have a hymen, etc… however: that’s not how I’ve experienced it. Knowing it can hurt the first time you have sex when the hymen is torn, and knowing not all hymens can be easily ruptured, is basic information everyone should be aware about. I totally agree with you that having a thick hymen can become one of the reasons someone might develop vaginismus. Basically it all comes to what I’ve said in my previous post: there’s a lack of education on this subject.


    I’ve written a follow up on this in the general group.


    Patrick, I adored reading your story and I agree more education is absolutely necessary!

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