So Close, Yet So Far

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    Hi Everyone!

    I’m new here. Here’s the background of my story: I officially found out I have primary vaginismus 3 years ago. I’ve been married for 4 years. I had a Hymenectomy 4 years ago in March. In September, I will have been in physical therapy for 3 years. I’ve made major progress in the last 3 years, but feel I’m at a standstill.

    When I started, I couldn’t even tolerate an extra small dilator, but now am able to use medium-large. I also have Interstitial Cystitis and Vulvodynia, which can make treatment difficult at times depending on if I’m having a flare.

    I haven’t really made progress in about a year. I can get a large dilator in, but still cannot tolerate penetration. It is also hit or miss on whether or not I am able to use the large dilator. Any tips or troubleshooting on finally getting past this point? I feel frustrated. I know I’ve made a ton of progress from the start of this journey, but I’m frustrated that I haven’t made progress in a while. There’s a piece of me that fears I won’t be able to get past this point.


    Hi HealthyPlantLady and welcome to the forum! First of all, a huge congrats to you for all the progress you’ve made so far – you should feel really proud of that and not hesitate to celebrate that growth. Vaginismus is a journey more than anything – I got my treatment nearly 2 years ago and still have various things I’m working on around getting comfortable with how certain things feel.

    It’s very normal to have periods of feeling stuck, especially with dilating. One of the things that helped me the most was just dilating every day, even if it was only for 5 minutes. It can be really hard to find the time to do it, but I’ve noticed that when I’m making it a daily practice it becomes less frustrating as well – there are still good days and bad ones but when you commit to doing it every day for awhile, it just makes the progress faster.

    Issues moving from dilating to penetration can also relate to other issues with desire with your partner. Vaginismus causes an enormous amount of strain on relationships and especially for the vaginismus sufferer can cause a negative association with sexual activity. You may need to take a few steps back with your husband and rediscover how pleasure feels. It helps me a lot too to start a sexual encounter without expectations – not trying to have penetration or even necessarily to have an orgasm, but just to do things that feel good and see what energy that creates. Redefining your sexual dynamic can help make penetration seem less scary or failure less painful. I hope this helps!



    I love recessivegenequeen’s suggestion about having sexual encounters without expectations. This is something that has helped me a lot, because the pressure to have successful sex can be really detrimental to the whole experience!

    I’m sorry to hear about your vaginismus and other health issues, but CONGRATS on getting so far with your progress! You WILL get past this difficult point, it just takes time, determination, and experimenting with different things. Be consistent with dilating and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get a certain dilator in. You can try with the larger one & try to put it in (with tons of lube) as slowly as possible and if you can’t get it in – so be it! You tried. Go back to the smaller one and try again another time.

    Have you tried buying a vibrator to use along with the dilator? This can also help you discover your body and what feels good to you which can also help with future sexual encounters with your husband.

    Good luck and keep us updated!


    Such excellent advice, Everyone! HealthyPlantLady, the duality of celebration and frustration is a wonky kind of cognitive dissonance, right? But please do honor your accomplishments, because they are hard-won and well-earned. At Maze Women’s Health, we view non-intercourse intimacy as a passage back to yourself and to your relationship. This is your time to experiment with whatever makes you feel good, and whatever allows you to keep trying. The path to healing is never straight (darn you, Curvy Line!), so there will be detours along the way. Take it slowly, at your own pace. As mentioned above, consistency with dilation and trying new things sexually will help you move forward. Please continue to reach out!

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