So many years of aversion, how to change?

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  • #32198
    maryro
    Participant

    After many years of painful and unsatisfactory sex, and my natural reaction to try to avoid having sex or even becoming aroused for fear of pain, I was finally diagnosed with vaginismus and treated successfully (in theory) with physical therapy and dialators. After a long period of sexual inactivity I am very scared to test out my success with my long time partner. His infidelity led us to a sex therapist which helped me get my diagnosis. We are both trying to stay together. The damage to our relationship combined with my fear and reluctance to engage make it difficult to recreate an intimate bond. Does anyone have any similar experience or advice?

    #32210

    Hi Maryro – first of all, let me congratulate you on getting a diagnosis, treatment and now being ready to try intercourse. That is a big achievement, and you should be proud! First intercourse after prolonged periods of abstinence can be intimidating, but there are a few tips that we usually give to our patients:
    1) Dilate prior to intercourse, ideally with a dilator that is one size larger than your partner. That will help ensure your muscles are relaxed and ready for prime time!
    2) Lube lube lube. You can’t use too much.
    3) Your partner is probably scared to hurt you, and it is not uncommon for the man to lose his erection, or have trouble getting one (bc he is anxious, not because you are doing anything wrong!). Depending on age and circumstance, we sometimes recommend he consider a drug for ED such as sildenafil to help prevent this. This is a conversation he can have with doctor prior to first intercourse.
    4) The first time might feel “mechanical” or “technical”. This is normal as you get used to intercourse again. And it will get better with time and practice!

    I hope that helps, Maryro. Keep us posted on how it goes!

    Jackie Giannelli FNP

    #32728
    recessivegenequeenrecessivegenequeen
    Participant

    Hi maryro – I second Jackie’s congratulations for the progress you’ve made physically as well as diagnosing your problem – that moment can bring such clarity. Everything she said about preparing for a physical re-engagement is spot on, but I also want to address the emotional issues at play in your situation. Maybe your sex therapist has helped you to work through your infidelity and the other emotional issues that arise from not being able to have intercourse, but it’s also highly possible that some of these issues will still make themselves present in your relationship or that attempting to have intercourse with your partner will bring up feelings that need to be re-addressed. As someone who has dealt with vaginismus, I can say it made me feel very inadequate in my partnership and I have to imagine that your partner’s infidelity didn’t help any of those feelings you might have been having. If issues arise when you first try to be intimate again, I encourage you to examine how much of those issues could be physical or whether there are still difficult emotions to work through there. You will likely have to relearn trust, desire, and excitement, and that will take work. Be patient with yourself, ask questions, make yourself vulnerable and demand vulnerability form your partner as well.

    Best of luck and I hope you’ve had total success. If not, don’t worry – it’s a long journey and you’ve already come a long way. You should be really proud.

    #33313
    HeatherHeather
    Participant

    Hi Maryro! I understand your feelings 100%! I am so sorry you’re dealing with vaginismus and feeling hurt in your relationship. That is not a fun combo! My husband used to unloyal to me, never physically, but he’d do a lot on the internet that really hurt me and I blamed it on myself and my vaginismus. We’ve been together for 8 years and it took quite a bit of work to recover. We even saw a couples therapist which in my opinion, was very beneficial. Often the problem is the lack of communication. I know, that’s what they all say haha! But it’s true! Your partner needs to hear from you what you need in order to rebuild trust and affection. And your partner needs to help you get there. Congratulations on your treatment!! You should be very proud of yourself!! That is an amazing accomplishment!! You deserve to have a great sex life, with someone you trust and feel safe with! I see it’s been about a month, how are things going??

    #35109
    jonclose
    Participant

    Hi Maryro – first of all, let me congratulate you on getting a diagnosis, treatment and now being ready to try intercourse. That is a big achievement, and you should be proud! First intercourse after prolonged periods of abstinence can be intimidating, but there are a few tips that we usually give to our patients:
    1) Dilate prior to intercourse “8 ball pool“, ideally with a dilator that is one size larger than your partner. That will help ensure your muscles are relaxed and ready for prime time!
    2) Lube lube lube. You can’t use too much.
    3) Your partner is probably scared to hurt you, and it is not uncommon for the man to lose his erection, or have trouble getting one (bc he is anxious, not because you are doing anything wrong!). Depending on age and circumstance, we sometimes recommend he consider a drug for ED such as sildenafil to help prevent this. This is a conversation he can have with doctor prior to first intercourse.
    4) The first time might feel “mechanical” or “technical”. This is normal as you get used to intercourse again. And it will get better with time and practice!

    I hope that helps, Maryro. Keep us posted on how it goes!

    Jackie Giannelli FNP

    Great advice, Jackie! Thanks so much!

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