Partner is not interested

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    My girlfriend and I have been dating for several months, we started trying to have sex relatively early in our relationship. Obviously, since I’m here, penetration was completely impossible. We tried for about a week, and then stopped entirely. I bought her a set of dilators and a book, but she absolutely freaked out. She cried a lot, she was angry that I had done this, and whenever I bring up sex she gets very upset and is angry with me. Once she said “It’s like sex is more important than me” which is hard to hear because it’s so untrue! If I was only concerned with sex I would leave her and find someone I can have sex with. It’s very hard for me to deal with this because to me it feels as if she is not interested in me sexually and that is why she doesn’t want to try anything to make sex possible. I can’t bring it up with her because she freaks out and gets extremely upset. To be honest I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, what can I do? I love this girl but this has become such an area of pain, disappointment, and rejection to me that I’m ready to give up.


    Dear bs1290,

    What you are describing is so typical of vaginismus patients. They are very avoidant, and will put off treatment for as long as possible.

    I think it is fantastic that you bought her a dilation kit and book and are encouraging her to seek treatment, however, if she is not ready to face the problem and deal with it, then she won’t.

    I do not think that your partner is not sexually attracted to you, more her fear and anxiety about penetration is so great, she can’t over come it.

    Most vaginismus patients can have non-intercourse sex, and still have pleasure and a satisfying sex life, without intercourse.

    Thank you for posting on the forum, you clearly care deeply for your partner and are struggling with this. I think that you should encourage your partner to read our forum, and give us a call to discuss treatment options.


    Hi bs1290 – I really feel for you, as I’ve had compassionate partners during my vaginismus who were understanding of my problem but also felt flummoxed, rejected, disappointed, and confused at what they had found themselves in the middle of. For a long time, I was like your partner: unreceptive to the idea of treatment because my pain and self-loathing were so great. Talking about my problem felt like sticking a finger into a gaping wound. The emotional pain was searing and shameful and I couldn’t stand to look at my problem full in the face for fear it was so big I would never be able to deal with it.

    But I did deal with it, eventually. I’m a year out of treatment and able to have pain-free intercourse with my partner. But the thing that still surprises me is how important my partner was in finally starting that journey. We had been dating for a few months and he knew about my problem, but we hadn’t discussed it much. One night, seemingly out of the blue, he told me that sex with a partner was important to him in a long-term relationship, and that if I didn’t at least TRY to deal with the issue, that we couldn’t stay together.

    This was devastating at the time. It was basically my worst relationship nightmare–the fear that someone would reject me for my inability to have sex–fully realized. But it was what finally woke me up. See, deep down, I did want to fix my vaginismus problem, but like Melissa mentioned, I was wildly avoidant about it. It was so easy, as long as partners were quietly tolerating it, to say “someday, someday, someday,” and hope someday never actually had to come. But someday was here, knocking on the door, and it was time to answer.

    So you’ve done your thing–you’ve knocked. And now you have to see if your partner will answer, and figure out what you want to do if she doesn’t. It sounds like you’re at the end of your rope, like my boyfriend was. As hard as it might seem, you might try what he did (especially because it seems you have no other choice given that a breakup may be inevitable whether you have a tough conversation or not). If sex is important enough to you that you think the relationship can’t exist without it (which, by the way, is perfectly reasonable), you can say, “Partner, I love you and I can see myself with you for a long time. But I need sex to be a part of our life, so I need you to try. I think it’ll help be good for both of us.” This will be hard for her to hear, but if there’s the spark buried in her that wants to overcome this, maybe that will be what causes it to catch flame.

    If she shuts down completely and refuses to even consider treatment, that’s valuable information for you to have. Like Melissa said, some relationships can survive on sexual encounters that don’t involve penetration (I’ve had some good relationships with this foundation) so, maybe that’s an option for you. Or maybe you part ways and find more compatible partners. Or maybe you and this woman get the chance to build something even stronger together. I’m hoping for the last option for you, and I applaud your bravery. Not everyone has the strength to knock at the door.


    I love recessivegenequeen’s answer because it’s probably one of the best/most accurate windows into what it must feel like for your girlfriend! Also – you said you’re ready to give up, so her answer and suggestion (“Partner, I love you and I can see myself with you for a long time. But I need sex to be a part of our life, so I need you to try. I think it’ll help be good for both of us.”) is a good thing to try before giving up.

    This is such a tough situation for you, and I wholeheartedly understand how you feel. It seems like you are very supportive, which is very important, and I hope you can continue to be supportive, loving, and patient. BUT, like recessivegenequeen says, it is also important and VERY REASONABLE for your girlfriend, (if she does want to overcome vaginismus and eventually be able to have sex), to take steps to do so! Vaginismus won’t go away on its own. I think it was actually very sweet of you to help her out by buying dilators, and I’m sorry she reacted in a negative way.

    It is important and fair for her to take some action (even if small steps at first) to overcome vaginismus and her fear of penetration that comes with it. Since she already has the dilators but is unmotivated to try them, this next step could be in the form of: doing the phone consultation with Maze to talk about her struggle/get advice, making an appointment with a vaginismus/pelvic floor therapy clinic or specialist like Maze, or even starting out by just looking through this forum to read all of the success stories to give her the confidence that she WILL be able to overcome this. Vaginismus can be a lonely and shameful thing until you realize there are many others going through the same thing, and SO MANY who have overcome it.

    I know she gets upset when you bring it up, but another suggestion is to somehow let her know that her vaginismus is *not* a bad thing (at first I thought it meant something was super wrong with me and I wasn’t ever going to be normal) and that vaginismus is completely treatable! Has she seen this forum? Many people who couldn’t even get a tampon in (me) were able to overcome vaginismus with the use of dilators WITH the help of a specialist (Maze for me).

    I hope this thread has helped – definitely let me know if you have any questions or concerns… good luck and we are all here for you and your girlfriend.

    I would also feel guilty not mentioning: there is the possibility that her extreme avoidance is coming from something deeper, like a traumatic experience. Even if not, I would be sensitive to that!


    Hi bs1290. I am so, so sorry for what you guys are going through with vaginismus. I had vaginismus all through my 20s and into my early 30s. I started dating my then boyfriend (now husband) at age 25 and he went through this with me through the age of 34 when we overcame. So many of the things you describe, he also felt while going through this. I would love for her to join the Forum too. I would also be so open to emailing with her one on one as well and just chatting about my own experiences with vaginismus or anything at all. If you think she would ever want to do this, please let me know. I, again, can only speak of what helped my hubby and I to finally overcome. We had 9 years of zero penetration (25-34) and ended up finding Dr. Pacik through me researching “treatment for vaginismus”. He offered the Botox treatment program which included the procedure as well as counseling for the 2 of us after and follow-up. The procedure took about 30 minutes total. It was done under anesthesia and I woke up with the largest dilator inside of me. For me, this was the first time that something was inside of me period and it caused no pain whatsoever. My hubby and I were both in shock. Then, we practiced inserting, removing, and reinserting the dilators of different sizes. I felt so weird involving my husband at first but this was so important to do because for the first time, he could see that something was able to be inside of me and it did go in and did not cause the usual crying tears of pain. He needed to see this and it helped him to realize that when we did have sex, he wouldn’t hurt me either. 2 weeks following my procedure, I used the dilator for about an hour and then my hubby removed and inserted himself and we were finally able to make love. After this, we had to do a lot of work together to learn how to feel sexual again. He still had difficulty initiating as he went from never being able to do this to now being able to do it whenever we wanted and we worked through it and went on dates again. Now, we have a 2.5 year old and, again, have to make the time to do these date nights again. While Dr. Pacik is now retired, Maze Women’s Sexual Health does offer the Botox treatment program and the group was trained by Dr. Pacik. I encourage you guys to think about. This was the one treatment that finally worked to help us overcome. Please know that you have my support and the support of the Forum as does your girlfriend and, although it is so difficult now, please know that it will not always be like this and you guys will overcome!

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