Please help!

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    My wife and I have been in a relationship for a total of nine years with our relationship starting when we were 16 and 17. We tried sex before we were married and like many others that have wife’s that have vaginismus, it didn’t work out. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew it hurt. Initially, I played it off as just young lovers. In the years following that, we tried a few more times to no avail. When we turned 20 and 21, we split up for a few months, but eventually got back together.

    Our relationship regained momentum as a result of our time away from each other. We then tried sex again and I was again met with the same disappointing result. We tried lubricant, but that also didn’t work. We went a few more years, trying our best to make it work, but we kept getting the same results. I began to get really self conscious and I felt like a reject. This completely killed our entire sexual life, including foreplay. We’d go months without any action at all.

    After several months of no action, I unfortunately chose to watch porn instead, rather than push her to do anything and it seemed pretty hassle free. She never pushed for foreplay much, so I felt like it was my way to fulfill my need and remain sane. Our honeymoon night came and went without any action. In the last year, we only had three meaningful sexual interactions. To try and spice things up, I trimmed myself up and at the same time I was losing weight. I was hoping she’d make a comment considering I sleep naked every night, but for a whole month and a half she never once even noticed or made a comment.

    Shortly thereafter, I finally emotionally broke. I had been holding in these emotions for so long, but the time came. We were playing an adult board game with family and we had to lie about the number of times we had sex a week. I then for the first time in nine years reached out to a few close friends about it and they were shocked. Asked me how I was even functioning. This then got me super frustrated and angry. I then told her I felt like a roommate and that I loved her, but wasn’t in love with her. At the time, I didn’t know why I felt so disconnected, I just know I did. I moved out of the house and threw out the ugly “D” word (divorce). I thought this is what I needed.

    Flash forward three months later, my emotions finally calmed down and I could think straight. During that time, I had a crush for a short time, but nothing came about it and I didn’t push for it. I wanted to continue to work on our marriage, but she said she couldn’t trust me. I could never figure out what made me lose it emotionally, but after many many hours on Google, I finally discovered why.

    In our nine year relationship, she never ever once told me what the issue was on why it hurt. When she was younger, I knew she had surgery, but wasn’t even sure if it could be fixed, as the surgery was unsuccessful. I never once asked, because I figured if she wanted me to know she’d tell me. I went nine years with no clue in the world, until I discovered this forum. I finally could understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling.

    Needless to say, my wife wants a divorce. She now tells me she doesn’t love me anymore and can’t trust me because I left. She doesn’t understand why I felt the way I did and really down plays the role she had in the whole situation. I feel bad that I left, but if I didn’t leave this might have gone on forever. She even tries to tell me that she tried to talk about it, but I wasn’t interested. You’d think I’d at least know the name of it if she did. She has swept it under the rug for this long and thinks that’s what she can do again. She refuses any joint counseling as well and won’t read or watch anything I send her regarding vaginismus and the impact it has on the male.

    What can I do?? She chose not to tell me about her condition or to get it fixed for nine years. It totally messed me up mentally and she acts like it shouldn’t have impacted me. With nine years of no sex and a year and a half of minimal sexual interaction I think I’ve been through a lot. She doesn’t seem to agree. Signing away our marriage isn’t going to make her physical issue dissappear.


    I should also add a few other notes. I didn’t think that not having sex or any sexual engagement would cause me to become so emotionally disconnected. It just sort of secretly wore on me for awhile and by the time I realized it, it was like I was already brainwashed. I felt like a roommate and my emotions were non existent.

    I also love my wife dearly. I want to make this work more than anything and I fully support her and her steps to recovery, now that I know that it can be fixed and I actually know what it is.


    Hi Briggs – I am so, so sorry for everything you’ve been through. Before I say anything else, I want you to give yourself permission to do one thing: forgive yourself. You’ve been through a hell of a lot and you did your best in the face of impossible circumstances. I can tell that you love your wife and that you did everything in your power to support her without losing your sanity. You have put up a valiant fight.

    I can’t tell you whether you and your wife should get divorced, but I can tell you this: your wife’s vaginismus will never be cured unless she wants to fix it. You can give her all the patience and support in the world, but if she’s not willing to undergo the personal work of working toward a healthy, functional sexual life, you’ll never have that with her.

    What I would recommend that you do is try to figure out if that’s something she’s at all interested in pursuing and discuss a plan of how to make it happen. She likely won’t like this if she’s used to you not questioning her issue, but you two have hit the bottom and it’s time to climb up, whether it’s together or separately. If she owns that she has a problem, that you have needs that are legitimate and valued, and that she wants to work toward a better sex life, then you can begin to cut your way out of this jungle together. If she remains in denial about the problem, refuses to acknowledge your suffering, or resists the idea of becoming more intimate, then you have a choice to make. You have a few options in this case: you can stay in this marriage that will (likely) continue to be sexless and devoid of intimacy. You can talk to your wife about the possibility of an open marriage in which your sexual needs get met elsewhere. Or, you can part ways and seek people that make each other happier and that leave your needs fulfilled. Only you can know the right answer, but you can’t continue to live in the unhappiness you’re suffering through now.

    Please give yourself patience and grace as you navigate whatever choice you end up making. Your desire for sex and intimacy is totally warranted and isn’t something to ever be ashamed of. Your wife’s fear of this problem is understandable too, but that’s not enough of a reason to let it keep your marriage captive. She must choose to rise with you if she wants to keep you.

    Best of luck to you, and don’t be afraid to seek help here. You’re not alone, and those of us who have lived through this (both the women and their partners) know that happiness is possible. It can be yours if you’re brave enough to listen to whatever your heart tells you.


    Hi all,

    My story is very very similar to that of Briggs’. But we are married for about just 2 years and we are already in our thirties. I completely appreciate the empathetic response posted by another lady. God bless you!

    Importantly things aggravate when the partner is in denial and defensive about the issue. It causes more stress on the male partner. Interestingly, personalities play a role in this. “I am not Wrong” personalities make lives miserable even though the other person is compassionate and want a win-win situation.

    Adding to this, in a patriarchal society like that of India, though there are offensive men, objectifying women, “the good lot” of males suffer immensely. this is because, you will be over-judged and misconstrued to be seen in the light of patriarchy prevalent in general society and if ever you say that you have done a favour not being patriarchal then you will be branded on easily. Moreover, now in the transition phase of Indian culture, woman either dominate or overpower and when it is not working can play a victim card.

    When my wife acts in the above mentioned ways, I get really depressed (scientific depression, I am a doctor myself by the way). Its the end of the road, utterly helpless. This point of discord extends to our general behaviour, like what Briggs said, disconnect creeps in. “Not just my vagina, but my mind/thoughts contract when you speak, I cant listen to your shitty ideology” My wife also extends the problem my applying the general attributes of patriarchy or right wing ideology to her problem even though I am reasonably liberal but I am a believer. She is a taciturn who revealed some of her past after few months of marriage. Though it was a shocker, I could cope up as I saw a good human being in her despite the past incidents of abuse or the decisions she made of her life, which are so perplex to decode. but sometimes this suspiciousness pops up because of her taciturnity that she is not sharing what she should and suffering inside.

    Above all, she is very hard working and highly accomplished. All I request her is to navigate through this problem together and give our best and accept the rest. I wish she stops finding my faults of being a regular guy involving in trivial fun, spending some unproductive time, expecting her to reciprocate my kindness and respect my family and friends which currently is not the case.

    Never imagined my life would be so complex!


    Briggs, I’m so insanely sorry about what you’re going through.

    I really appreciate the honesty and depth of your post. You’ve gone through sooo much with your wife, and there are so many on this forum (including me) that can relate to you and your situation. So much mental strength is required for the men, and it can definitely cause doubts, self esteem issues, resentment, pain — all that bad stuff and more.

    I hope you also know that it is important and VERY REASONABLE for your wife, (if she does want to overcome vaginismus and eventually be able to have sex), to take steps to do so! Vaginismus is sooooooo treatable, but it won’t go away on its own. It is important and fair for her to take some action (even if small steps at first) to overcome vaginismus. This could be in the form of: buying a dilator set, making an appointment with a therapist/psychiatrist/psychologist (the effects from her abuse should be resolved), making an appointment with a doctor/women’s health clinic or specialist (Google some around your area), or even starting out by 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.

    You mentioned that you sent her some vaginismus resources – were they all about its impact on the male partner, or did you also send some that can teach her that her vaginismus is *not* a horrible, untreatable thing? (at first I thought it meant something was super wrong with me and I wasn’t ever going to be normal) – vaginismus is completely treatable! 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 Women’s Health for me). maybe sending a link to some great success stories could help (

    But I agree with recessivegenequeen – if she DOESN’T want to overcome this, even after she knows all the evidence that shows how treatable vaginismus is, then you have to make that decision on whether you still want to continue the marriage!

    Good luck and know that a lot of us on here support you and relate to your situation – keep us updated and feel free to reach out with anything you need at all!


    anamika123, the above advice goes to you too! I admire your strength and the fact that you are so knowledgeable and insightful about vaginismus and what’s going on. Keep us updated on your situation!


    Hi all,

    I am a woman with vaginismus. I feel like your story is identical to the story between my husband and myself. My husband has been out of the house since Jan 2nd.

    My husband has left me recently and is determined to have a “fresh” start and move on from this. He feels rejected and emotionally detached from me. He feels that I do not “want” him and I lack “desire” to be with him. None of this is the case. I love him very much. I want to feel like a full woman who can enjoy a sexual relationship with her husband.

    We started to seek counseling but he seems very detached and going just for the sake of going.

    It is heartbreaking because I love my husband very much and I am not done fighting.

    Briggs– What finally made it click for you? That you wanted to go back to your wife? What made you finally realize that you wanted to make it work with her?
    I am trying to give him space, but at the same time I don’t want him to think I am not fighting for him. The more time passes, the more if feels as if he is moving farther and farther away from me. Part of me thinks, he has already moved on with someone else, although he has denied this time and time again. He feels that he cannot chance his feelings again. That I made promises in the past to “fix” this but never followed through.

    I made an appointment at Maze (tomorrow!), but again, he says I should do this for me and not for him. I not doing this for him, but him leaving did light a fire under my ass. I really want to make it work with my husband. He is my best friend. I miss him so much my whole body aches for him.

    Any advice would help!




    Congratulations on taking the huge step to make your appointment with Maze. Just showing your husband that you’re taking steps to get over your vaginismus is huge (he said that you hadn’t followed through in the past, but now you have tangible proof that you’re following through with your promises to get over your vaginismus). Please try not to be discouraged as I know firsthand the first few appointments at Maze can be incredibly stressful and even discouraging – luckily the staff at Maze is super understanding and encouraging!

    So sorry you’re going through a difficult time with your husband, but it might just be good to prove to him that you’re working towards pain-free intercourse (it can take time and shouldn’t be a rush because after you’re able to overcome your vaginismus, you have the rest of your lives to experience and enjoy sex). Maybe let him know that you’re doing this for your relationship, for him, for both of you – and you can’t wait to eventually enjoy sex with him.

    Hope all is well!

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