Recently became single and a bit anxious…

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    I started having painful sex about 3 years ago and started receiving therapy for secondary vaginismus about a year ago (through psychosexual therapy and dilator treatment.) I really had to use the dilators on my own and my boyfriend of 4 years never had anywhere to have sex comfortably, except for the occasional hotel room, which is what I’m pretty sure started the vaginismus in the first place and made treatment much slower.

    We broke up about a month ago – a mutual and non-sex-related decision that was tough, but the right choice. But it’s scary knowing that I have to face my future sex life with this issue on my own. Although my boyfriend and I were only able to use the dilators together and practise penetration a few times over the last year, he was amazing about it – always very patient and loving and understood when I needed to take it slowly.

    I’m not planning to be in another serious relationship for a long time – I need to find myself a bit after being someone’s girlfriend for four years (I’m only 23.) However I do still want to have sex. I’m not willing to disclose this problem to anyone but the thought of not being able to have casual sex if I want it is so frustrating!! Ideally I’d like to have this problem resolved once and for all before I try to have sex with a new person and I don’t want to have to take it slowly, I don’t want them to realise I have any kind of dysfunction. I’m trying to use my dilators as often as possible and I am making progress – just using the two biggest, and I’m trying to use my own natural lubrication where it’s possible instead of lube – but I guess I’m just feeling frustrated at the thought of being held back.

    Any other single ladies out there who’ve coped with this on their own, especially after a break-up?? I’d love to hear some reassurance.

    Dr. Pacik

    During counseling I tell my patients they should always start with a smaller dilator such as the medium #4, or a finger, to start the dilation process and then move to the larger dilators. It is a mistake to go directly to a large dilator. Hope this will help you.


    Dear Bitesize,

    I am sorry you broke up with your boyfriend of the last 4 years but it sounds as if you made the decision carefully and thoughtfully. Staying in a relationship that’s not working, simply because you are afraid to become sexual with a new person is understandable – but in the long run, probably not an ideal solution.

    I am writing because I was struck by your saying that you were trying to use only your own natural lubrication. I counsel a lot of women about painful sex and am often surprised that they feel they “shouldn’t need to use lube”. There is nothing wrong with using a lubricant. As I believe you may know, there are many excellent choices out there and it is possible to find one that is just right for your body. Everyone should feel free to use lube. We all need it from time to time…and if it makes you feel good, and more comfortable with penetration there is nothing wrong with it.

    Just my two cents!



    Thanks very much for the replies. The treatment I am taking is a little different to that of a lot of the women on here – for example I am using plastic dilators and not glass ones. My psychosexual therapist advised over the last year as I progressed that I try to start practise with larger and larger dilators, and also that it might be good to practise without depending on artificial lubrication, and these steps seem to be working for me. I have secondary and not primary vaginismus and have had a lot of penetrative sex in the past, so this probably makes it a little different! However I am aware that plenty of women use lubricant and that it’s not a bad thing at all, I just like the idea of not needing it all the time!

    Thank you for the replies 🙂

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