New here. Looking for hope?
November 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm #23950
I’m 31 years old and just celebrated my five year wedding anniversary last week.
My wife and I have been together for almost 9 years and met when we were in high school. When we first got together we had a very active (and mutually enjoyable) sexual relationship but then purposefully stopped as things got more serious and we pursued spending our lives together. We believe that’s where her vaginismus set in.
Looking back, outside of that first year together back in 2010, the only recollection I have of having enjoyable sex with my wife was on our honeymoon. We’ve had “sex” once in 2018 (her idea and unenjoyable), and twice each year from 2014-2017. I put sex in quotations because it wasn’t enjoyable for either of us. She’s in terrible pain and to put it bluntly, seeing her face grimace the entire time makes me feel like I’m raping her.
I’m so incredibly lost. I don’t feel like I can talk about this with anyone and it’s been eating away at me for years. It’s none of my friends’ business so I won’t bring it up to them. It’s gotten so bad that we’ve lost all human touch with each other. She won’t let me see her naked, we have absolutely zero intimacy (I couldn’t tell you the last time we even made out), nothing.
I love her more than anything and simply want to express that with her. I have not and will not ever even consider cheating on her or leaving her, even though she’s told me she’d understand if I did either. Fuck that.
But this constant feeling of rejection is killing me. My spirit is dead. I smoke cannabis pretty much daily to deal with the emotional pain. She hates talking about it so we rarely do. I have to psych myself up to bring it up because it’s such a painful conversation.
My biggest concern is that it feels like she’s just accepted it and moved on. It doesn’t seem like she thinks about it, cares about it, etc. She tells me I’m wrong, which I probably am. But I just think if the roles were reversed I would do/try anything and everything to remedy the situation.
I’ve tried reading books about it, offering scheduling therapy, going back to high school days and taking it slow, so to speak, etc.. She’s not on board with anything other than waiting. I’m beginning to realize this is the life we’ll have for the next 50+ years and that sucks, but I guess it’s life.
This is the first time I’ve opened up to anyone about this. I’m strongly considering seeking professional help to deal with what I’m finally recognizing as a depression.
I like to think I’ve been as supportive as possible and handled this as well as anyone could. I don’t pressure her or demean her. I just want to feel the love.
Sorry for rambling.November 20, 2018 at 5:41 pm #23962
Jennifer Dembo, LMSWModerator
First of all, I want to thank you for writing. This is tough stuff, and you and your wife are in a challenging situation. It sounds like you are trying to be totally supportive and resourceful, but as you know all too well, your wife needs to be the one to move forward with info-gathering and treatment. Not sure if you’ve perused the Maze website (https://www.mazewomenshealth.com) but it contains a lot of information that you both may find to be useful. There might be several things at play here (physiological, emotional, a combination of factors, etc.) but at the very least, I would encourage you to find professional support so that you have a safe space in which to express your feelings about everything. You may also at some point want to explore couples counseling.
So much of sexual dysfunction can be successfully addressed on a number of fronts, but it can be scary to traverse these waters! Please let us know if we can be of any help. I can assure you that you are not alone, and you have shown great strength by reaching out here.
Wishing you all my best!November 26, 2018 at 7:11 pm #23972
ztk0509, I’m glad you wrote – it’s a brave act, as Jennifer observed, and it’s clear you’re in a lot of pain and suffering.
First things first: this does NOT have to be what the rest of your life looks like. As a former vaginismus sufferer, I understand fully where your wife is at emotionally and why she has walled herself off as an attempt to protect herself from pain, but this reaction isn’t fair to you and to your needs. You’re an equal partner in this relationship; intimacy is something that you deserve and have a right to ask for. You’ve even done the right things by offering your wife other pathways to intimacy other than intercourse and in demonstrating your willingness to seek help in other ways.
It’s clear you’re not happy, and you shouldn’t resign yourself to a situation that makes yourself this miserable (and is extremely likely resolvable!) The first thing I recommend you do is to seek therapy so that you have some stability as you navigate your own depression and can have a space that’s YOURS to explore the painful feelings this has surely summoned for you. I can’t know what your friendships are like, but I would also suggest that you reconsider the fact that you haven’t confided in any of your friends about this problem and that it’s “none of their business” – our culture has a major problem with talking about sex, but that’s also what makes problems like your wife’s so isolating and daunting. If you spend much time on these forums you’ll realize that scores of women have suffered from vaginismus yet never known another woman who’s dealt with the same thing. Talking about issues like these makes them feel less isolating and shameful, and if you open up to a trusted friend or two, you might feel less trapped in your own feelings.
It’s clear you’ve made lots of attempts to communicate with your wife, but I hope you’ll try again (maybe being able to say you’re going to therapy will help her listen to what you learn). Let her know compassionately but firmly that you’re not willing to give up the physical intimacy of your relationship for the rest of your life and let her know how important it is to you. Reiterate all the things you’re willing to try and let her know you’ll be there for her as long as it takes if she’s trying too. Show her resources like these forums to let her know what possibilities exist for her treatment. Remind her how much she’s loved.
I hope that if you do these things your wife will find new hope and join this journey with you. But something you have to remember is that there’s only so much you can do. Your wife has to want that intimacy back. She can choose to trap herself in her pain or she can choose to trust that there’s a better life waiting, take your hand, and stand up. But you shouldn’t settle. This isn’t “just life.” You have the right to a connection with your wife, and even if that connection never involves intercourse again, that doesn’t mean intimacy should be gone with it.
I’m hoping for the best for you. You’re a strong man and I think you’ll pull through. Let us know how it all goes.January 24, 2019 at 3:29 pm #24199
As someone who is new to this forum (and a female) I want to commend you on reaching out. I feel as if I have hit a wall with my husband and he wants out. I am trying to get him to read about all the other partners/husbands on his site to help him better understand where I am physically/emotionally and that I cannot do this without him.February 4, 2019 at 3:25 pm #24286
I wouldn’t suggest bluntly showing him these “supportive husbands’” posts, as it may come across to him as being attacked, and understandably so. If you approach it as “you’re not alone” that’d be the way to do it — I’ve not felt comfortable talking about this with anyone so it’s easy to feel alone.
It’s definitely not easy. My only bit of advice would be for you to make non-penetration sexual advances on him. Let him know you still find him attractive — and if it’s understood penetration is off the table it can still allow for some intimacy.February 4, 2019 at 3:55 pm #24289
I wish that were possible except he has moved out of the house. He left. He needed “time” to think. Now we are almost 5 weeks out and he has made a decision to “start fresh”. He says he cannot see himself “getting over it”. He needs to be “selfish” and think about himself.
I have sent him these forums– I am not sure he has read any of them though.February 10, 2019 at 10:53 pm #24325
anan326, I’m so sorry for your marital troubles and the strain vaginismus has placed on your relationship with your husband. As hard as it is, you can’t make your husband support you or come on this journey with you. It’s good that you’re sending him this material, but the best thing you can do for the both of you is to begin some method of treatment (ordering dilators, scheduling a gyno appointment, calling the Maze Clinic, whatever it may be). If your husband wants a “fresh start,” it could possibly be because he doesn’t see another way out of his situation. If you’re able to show him you’re working on this problem and laying the groundwork for a future of intimacy with him, he may realize he wants to be part of this journey with you.
That being said, the only person you can truly do this for is YOU. If you do it only for someone else you likely won’t be able to push yourself in all the ways you needed to be pushed. To find a way to fix yourself you have to want it – and I know you do. I know you CAN.
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