Male partner needs advice
Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.
October 16, 2022 at 6:00 am #56426PerseveranceParticipant
I am a man in my early 30s and my partner suffers from vaginismus. We have been a couple for 5 years, penetrative sex has not been possible. Excuse my bad english please, as its not my first language. Feel free to ask for clarification.
I am writing here today because I realize that the situation in the relationship is driving me into a kind of “isolation”, and I think I really need some advice. I’ll try to be brief: My girlfriend has strong avoidance tendencies. From time to time she satisfies me of hand, but even that happens without any fun or passion from my perspective. Earlier in the relationship we also tried oral sex (her being the active part). She doesn’t vocalize it, but I don’t think she likes it. When it comes to sexual acts, I just ask for it and then it is performed. I sometimes feel she has no sexual need at all. Any action come exclusively from me, i.e. i have to ask/start. “Seducing” her like I have seduced other girlfriends before her just doesn’t lead to anything because she doesn’t “she does not play along” or react. We have a lot of tender physical contact, but in the end we live asexually.
On the one hand, sexual frustration sets in for me, where I don’t know how to meet it psychologically or physically. While the need for sex becomes stronger and stronger, masturbation is less and less sufficient to satisfy my needs. I feel increasingly worse about “asking” for sexual acts, because I always have the feeling I’m asking for something she doesn’t want. On top of that, I can’t talk to anyone about this problem: We share our circle of friends. Of course I don’t want to hurt her by telling common friends about vaginismus, because I think it is all very unpleasant for her. The few friends who don’t know her or know her only a little often react clumsily with statements like: “I couldn’t do that. I would break up with her right away.” There are no support groups for partners of women with vaginismus. All the online articles I have found are about women or how men can support their partners. Please don’t get me wrong: articles like this are important. But I feel overlooked, isolated, and really lonely in a way.
I try to be as supportive as I can. But I’m afraid that she has “come to terms” with the condition. I don’t know how to tell her about my suffering without scaring her or pressuring her with it. At the same time, I feel my need for sex and passion getting stronger. Recently, for example, I often fantasize about going to a sex worker. I would really appreciate hearing your opinions on my situation. Both from men and women. I am grateful for any tips.October 23, 2022 at 2:14 am #56548PersevereParticipant
I am sorry that you are struggling with all this. Being a wife, I can tell you that it is always good to communicate to your spouse about anything that is bothering you. It may be that perhaps she is not aware of what you are going through. I did not communicate things with my husband at the start of our marriage because I presumed he knew that certain things are bothering me and still doing them, but when I told him about them, I came to know that he had no idea about it. So communicate with your wife in a friendly and kind way taking into consideration that being a vaginismus patient can take toll on her.
Moreover, encourage her to seek treatments. You may show her this forum. It took me five months to get cured of vaginismus. She can do that too.
It is also possible that she is suffering from low sex drive. In the past, during a stressful period of time, it happened to me too. Just remember communicate with her kindly and she will understand and encourage her to seek treatment. Good luck!October 23, 2022 at 12:41 pm #56599recessivegenequeenParticipant
Hi Perseverance – thank you so much for sharing your experience and perspective. I am a woman who dealt with vaginismus for nearly 10 years before getting successful treatment, and now that I’m on the other side of the experience, I have a lot more sympathy for the male partners who are placed in a support role for women who are avoiding the problem.
I can only speak for my own experience, but I am not sure I would have ever sought treatment if not for the intervention of my partner at the time. We were in a relatively new relationship, and I had told him early on about the vaginismus, but after a few months of dating he let me know that if I didn’t eventually do something to try and address my vaginismus, he didn’t see a future with me.
At first, this was devastating to hear and hit right at the heart of my deepest insecurities around not being able to have sex, but over time I came to realize that he was telling me this honest thing out of a desire to make the relationship work, not to make me feel bad. He knew himself well enough to know that sex was important to him and he didn’t want to go without it forever, and he also recognized that this condition brought me a lot of misery but I was doing nothing to address it and was taking an anxious, avoidant approach. His words were the motivation to try helping myself, and I’m so amazingly glad that I did it because I healed a very broken part of me in the process.
I tell you all this as food for thought, because you know your girlfriend best and whether she’s likely to avoid this problem indefinitely. Vaginismus can feel extremely big and scary and avoiding it feels like the most viable option as long as she assumes “everything is fine” in your relationship, but your feelings indicate that everything isn’t fine. You’re unsatisfied and your needs aren’t being met.
I think the best next step for you is to tell your girlfriend how you have been feeling, the things you have told us here. This will not be fun for her to hear and will likely hurt at first, but to tell her the truth is to take a step toward trying to save your relationship rather than letting this problem destroy the partnership rather than giving her a fair chance at trying to do something about it. She may not realize just how much this affects you and will find your honesty the motivation she needs to pursue a path of treatment.
Partners of women with vaginismus are in a really tough position because the change has to come from her, which leaves you in a helpless position while still dealing with the consequences of the condition. But I think by being honest with your partner, you are also opening the door to have some important conversations about intimacy and what you two DO enjoy, so that whatever happens with treatment, you can have interactions that are mutual and pleasurable again.
Best of luck to you, and let us know how it all goes.
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