Overcoming vaginismus at the age of 35
June 28, 2021 at 5:06 am #45039kiala2021Participant
My name is Kiala, I’ve turned 35 this week and I live in the UK.
I’m not sure writing down my story here is a good idea (since I’m someone who’s not THAT open), but I think/hope others may find some inspiration in what I have been through. Besides, I’ve read a similar story here on the board a few days ago, so I’m sure there are other women who have been through this as well.
I have never been popular at school, never had many friends and even at university, no one seemed to be interested in me. I did had a few (male) friends, and I fell in love with some of them but the feeling was never mutual. I wasn’t a-sexual, I really WANTED to have a boyfriend, but things just never worked out. When it came to self exploration, I tried out a few things while fantasizing about potential boyfriends, but I never had an orgasm and I certainly wasn’t a big fan of inserting things. I always found that a weird idea – and that’s the same reason why I never used tampons. I really couldn’t get it why someone would put something in there that wasn’t supposed to be there. Stupid but that’s how I thought.
At work, most of my colleges were female, and I wasn’t really someone who went out during weekends, so there weren’t a lot of occasions to meet potential boyfriends. And when I did find someone attractive, they were either married, had a girlfriend or weren’t interested. After a few years I gave up, bought a house, got myself a dog and I kind of got used to being single.
I think I was 25 or 26 when my doc asked me when I had my last PAP smear. I told him I kept on delaying that cause I wasn’t sexually active, but he insisted I got checked up cause PAP smears were “ultra important”, even if I was still a virgin. I even remembering telling two of my friends (who were virgins at that age too) they needed to schedule an appointment as well.
My gyn appointment was on a Friday afternoon, I still remember that day vividly. Instead of telling her this was the first time I had a PAP smear, I didn’t say a thing cause I was too ashamed to admit I kept on postponing it. On the inside though, I was dying. Not only because of the exam, but also because I felt like a complete idiot not knowing how to sit down on the exam table. And on top of that, I felt uncomfortable cause this was actually the first time someone else besides my parents saw me nude. What would she think when she saw my stretch marks, my belly, my vulva… those things kept on turning in my head.
I SCREAMED when she forcefully pushed the speculum inside. I felt the cold metal rubbing against my vaginal wall whilst she was trying to push the thing inside. Everything seemed to be on fire down there, it was the most painful thing I’ve ever been through. I still hear her saying: “Relax, relax! If you don’t relax I can’t do my job!”. Somehow she did manage to take the PAP smear, and while I was still drying my tears while getting dressed, she told me I wasn’t “the easiest patient”, that I needed to learn to be less stressed, and more stuff like that. When I got home I found blood in my panties, and I cried for the rest of the day. During the next years, I was too scared to go to another gyn and I became even less motivated to touch myself down there.
Things finally changed about two years ago, when I started seeing a psychologist cause I couldn’t cope with the loss of my mom. I was struggling with myself and I knew I absolutely needed to get a new PAP smear, especially because my mom had cancer, and I really wanted to stop putting my head in the sand. So I decided to talk to my psychologist about what happened during that terrible pelvic exam. Turned out that was a fantastic decision, cause she told me she had vaginismus and that my symptoms looked a look like hers. She gave me the address of her pelvic floor specialist. Turned out I was so tensed during my first appointment, she couldn’t even insert a q-tip.
What followed was a super intense period of self-discovery, self-appreciation, sexual awareness and dilation, with combined therapy from my psychologist and my pelvic floor therapist. I had to learn myself again how to get sexually excited, I needed to discover what turned me on, I had to learn to touch myself and at the same time, use the dilators. Not because I wanted to have sex, but because I wanted to feel alive again. And because I absolutely wanted that PAP smear as well. In case you’re in the same boat: my pelvic floor therapist told me I’m not the only single patient she’s got.
I’ve trained with the dilation set every single moment I had, and I even took the box with me when I had to travel for work. I don’t know if this is something other women will recognize, but the moment I could use the largest dilator, I felt immensely proud, especially since I was able to get that one in without extra lube (thanks to me fantasizing about a hot guy I met at the bar, I admit).
Last week I had an appointment with a gyn that was recommended by my therapist. This time I told her about my situation, and she was careful when she inserted the speculum, but I honestly even didn’t notice it. I was SO proud I closed the door behind my back with a smile on my face. The therapy isn’t over though. While I did learn to masturbate in the mean time, I always had to be careful not to reach an orgasm, so now that this is allowed, I’m going to work on that. In the mean time, I’ve also added my profile on a dating site. It’s finally time to take my life into my own hands again!
I’ll be checking our the forum regularly, you never know, I might be able to help some of you guys out.July 15, 2021 at 2:19 am #45311recessivegenequeenParticipant
Hi Kiala2021 – thank you SO much for sharing your powerful and vulnerable story. As someone who ended up finally seeking treatment for my vaginismus (after years of suffering) because I knew I’d lose my current partner if I didn’t, I’m so impressed and inspired that you pursued treatment as a single patient. I am fully pain-free now and am glad I can have intercourse with my partner, but I would recommend seeking treatment to anyone suffering from vaginismus whether they have a partner or not. One of the biggest gains for me was feeling NORMAL after so much time holding onto shame and pain. The great thing for you is that you have put more control and power into your hands as you re-enter the dating world. The story of your vaginismus is totally up to you to share with a future partner if you want to (or to keep to yourself), but you aren’t being limited by vaginismus anymore. Best of luck to you in your dating and further treatment endeavors, and please let us know how things go!July 19, 2021 at 4:03 pm #45419HeatherParticipant
Your story really hit me right in the heart. What a powerful story, I am so thankful you felt safe enough to share it with us here. You are an incredibly strong, resilient woman and I don’t doubt that you will help others as well! Please please, don’t be shy! There are always posts coming in with questions! I am so sorry you had to endure any of that! And I am so sorry about the passing of your mother. Keep on going!! You’re going to move mountains with that force!
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