My Story

Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.

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    I have suffered from vaginismus for the last almost five years. I first attempted intercourse when I was 20, and felt worse after each failed attempt. I have never been able to insert a tampon, or anything else, it has always brought on severe pain, anxiety, and overall nervousness. Now, at 24, engaged, and with the man of my dreams, not being able to have intercourse is even more painful. My fiance is extremely supportive and understanding, but I put pressure on myself. I feel like intercourse is such a simple thing, why cant i do it? I went to a gynecologist at the beginning of this year to get that question answered, and after not being able to complete the exam, I was diagnosed with vaginismus while the doctor teased me to relax because, “sex can be fun”. Was she serious? I thought while I sat there. Of course it can be fun, and I’d like nothing more than to do it but I can’t. This brought on more frustration. I was prescribed Lorazepam, to be taken before intercourse “for my anxiety”, of course it didnt help and only made me sleepy.
    She suggested physical therapy. I was nervous at the thought, but eventually started an at home therapy. The beginning of the therapy has you answering a lot of questions for/about yourself about your sexual past, past sexual abuse, how you were raised, to see how those things have affected you today. Doing that was informative, and helpful, I looked at and labeled diagrams of my anatomy, and started doing hundreds of Kegel exercises everyday. By the end of that part, I felt pretty good, but was nervous about the next part-inserting the dilators. When I attempted to insert a Q-tip, and found that no form of relaxing, squatting, laying down, would allow me to insert it, I knew for sure I really needed this treatment.
    I have felt so ashamed, embarassed, and discouraged after each failed attempt, and just about this entire condition for so long. I feel like the amount of times I have attempted intercourse and failed is embarassing. I want this to be fixed before I get married, so that the next chapter of our lives isnt overshadowed by this problem.


    Hi Olivia. Welcome to the forum and thank you for your post. I am so sorry of your experiences with the gynecologist. This happened to me in the past as well where they told me to “just relax”, “it’s all in your head”, or even “have a drink.” It was very frustrating and inspires me to want to spread the word and really educate all clinicians and physicians about vaginismus. You also described not being able to insert a q-tip. This was my experience as well in the past. Despite how hard I tried, how much I “willed” myself to do it, or how much I relaxed, it was impossible to do. I honestly was so discouraged as well that I would ever overcome this or ever be able to insert a dilator or my husband. Despite this, we kept searching and found Dr. Pacik. I had the treatment program in 2011 and within 1 week, was able to have pain-free intercourse. It is entirely possible to go from not even being able to insert a q-tip to being able to insert all of the dilators and later your fiancé/husband pain-free as this is what happened for me.


    Obviously we can’t *tell* you how to feel, but, please don’t feel embarrassed at all about your very real, serious, and life-affecting condition. Some doctors I have seen have been nice, others clueless, and for the most part none were truly helpful. As many other people here will attest, there are way too many that are dismissive and either intentionally or unintentionally cruel. I was told at 17 to “relax and connect with your partner”… o_O Well gosh, I sure would love to but I can’t!

    At that point I was still mostly unable to insert anything at all, although over the years I’ve achieved a degree of… penetrability? lol. Not that it’s much better on my part of the spectrum, as the pain can sometimes be excruciating. I remember flying to go visit a guy I had just started dating, and even with the lube I had brought (which freaked him out), insertion almost didn’t happen and then it was very painful, so I started crying (cue more freaking out!). So, I do DEFINITELY understand the embarrassment, but don’t feel totally discouraged just yet. As you will read here, there is a lot of hope and success and joy awaiting you.


    Welcome Olivia! I had the procedure done last year and achieved painfree intercourse about 7 weeks later, this was huge for us!! We dated for 7 years and have been married for another 8 and we just began making love last year. We saw so many doctors and got so frustrated of their reactions, I was ‘the girl that couldn’t have sex’, sometimes they would go out of the room and bring another doctor or doctors just to have me repeat my history to them! I wondered if they were thinking I was joking since I would go away from the appointment with no help from them whatsoever! Today, I can tell you that you are in the right path to overcome vaginismus! Please keep us posted on your progress.

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