"Sex Hurts" – Piece from the New York Times

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    Wanted to share this great piece from the New York Times written by a medical practitioner from California.



    Thank you for sharing this, Nicole! Really interesting to hear about this from a doctor’s perspective – it was validating to hear that she is frustrated like I am at how few people understand sexual pain or believe it’s really happening! I hope many more doctors out there learn from her and are more able to provide information and diagnoses to women who come in complaining about pain. So many of us go to several doctors before we even figure out what’s going on, and it can delay treatment by years!


    YAY New York Times! That was such a great read.

    Very importantly, I bet that there are several women who think there’s something wrong with them *down there* that saw the title, read the article, and are now relieved they’re not alone, or are much less concerned/embarrassed 🙂 maybe it’ll lead them to Maze’s website/this forum!


    Hello! New to this website and I absolutely loved that I clicked into this forum as well. I just read the article and here’s the best part in my opinion:

    “If sex hurts, many women begin to anticipate the pain, which increases the pain response and diminishes lubrication and libido. If every time I offered you the finest chocolate in the world I hit you with a hammer at your first bite, you would soon learn to dread and fear chocolate. You may also reflexively flinch at the smell of chocolate, or even when I walked into the room, and lose your taste for chocolate altogether.”

    This is exactly what’s happening right now. After several painful attempts to have sex, none resulting in actual penetration, my mind and body now anticipate pain, even if I’m willing to try. So, I went to my gynaecologist, where she confirmed it was vaginismus, and in the process of trying to diagnose/examine me, I spread my legs open on the stirrups, I took several deep breaths, my body started tensing up, my leg muscles were tight as they tried slowly closing, my breathing became heavier. She paused and I tried to relax everything again. And once she tried to enter, the pain was just too unbearable I jumped back up in the chair and I started crying so much.

    I’ve noticed my libido used to be so high before I really felt like/noticed something was wrong. Now, I feel like my libido has diminished really significantly. I still find my partner insanely irresistible, but this low libido and low confidence/self esteem has bled into how I see myself too. I don’t feel beautiful, sexy, attractive, and most importantly, as confident as I used to. I don’t even masturbate a close percentage to how much I used to. It’s left me self destructive to how I feel about myself. I find it hard to love myself anymore.



    I’m heartbroken to hear about your difficulties with sex and the gynecologist exam. I know firsthand that vaginismus can be isolating and definitely damage confidence/self-esteem. I can also relate to the lower libido – once I realized I wasn’t able to have sex, I also felt that my libido was diminishing.

    I think you found the right place, though – many people on this forum had vaginismus and were able to overcome it or are in the process of overcoming it. For me, I went to Maze Women’s Health and used dilators of increasing size. It was a slow & steady process for me, but eventually I got to the largest size dilator and “graduated” from dilation therapy! Maybe you’ll feel comfort in reading my success story from over a year ago & another one from someone who had the botox procedure & overcame their vaginismus:


    Sofia101, do you plan to try dilators or anything else to help overcome your vaginismus and regain that confidence & libido?


    Sofia101, welcome to the forums! We’re glad to hear you here! Like Sks823 said, I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you’ve been having – they are EXTREMELY familiar to me. I was the same way when I came to the Maze Clinic after years of suffering from vaginismus – couldn’t insert anything at all, would jump off the table before I’d let a gyno examine me, spiraling into panic attacks at the mere thought of a doctor’s visit, etc. None of us want that experience for you at all.

    I’m sure if you’ve read much around these forums, you’ve seen people talking about various treatments for vaginismus, which I highly recommend doing once you’re ready. I had the botox procedure and it changed my life completely, but other women on the forum have had great success with dilators as well. The ability to have sex has greatly enhanced my life and my relationships, but the biggest change was in the fact that I regained my confidence again.

    You mention your libido is low – I COMPLETELY understand why, especially after reading the part about the article that resonated with you. One thing I highly recommend is to try breaking yourself out of the feedback loop of being stressed about sex when it isn’t going well, which makes you MORE stressed, which makes it go WORSE, and so on and so on. Take yourself back to the beginning with your partner and don’t worry about sex at all. Just try kissing, or touching, or non-penetrative stimulation. Create situations where there is no stress about failing at sex and just enjoy your partner as much as you can. Taking the stress of achieving sex out of the equation can really help you rebuild trust with your partner and increase your desire to interact with them in that way.

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