Taking that first step
April 1, 2022 at 6:27 am #50440AMT09Participant
I first stumbled upon this forum about 4-5 years ago during one of my desperate attempts to figure out what was wrong with me. Since I first tried (and failed) to insert a tampon as a young teen, I knew something didn’t seem right. After many unsuccessful attempts over the years, I tried to just accept and move on from the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to use tampons, or that it would just somehow work out one day. But once I started dating and developing sexual relationships, I realized I was having more issues surrounding the idea of penetration.
My husband and I started dating in high school and have been together now for 12 years. Whenever any type of penetration was attempted, we always experienced the feeling that many have described as “hitting a wall.” No matter how relaxed I felt in the moment, the outcome was always the same- I would tense up, and penetration was impossible. While I do experience anxiety in my daily life, I never remember having any feelings of anxiety or fear in regard to sex, especially since I’ve always had a partner who has been very patient and understanding. But after many failed attempts over the years, I developed so many negative feelings surrounding penetration, as well as my self-esteem. I felt confused because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was frustrated that something seemingly so easy for everyone else to experience seemed impossible for me. I felt guilty and blamed myself for not being able to experience intercourse with my long-term partner and now husband. Most of all, I felt depressed and completely hopeless about the situation. I was convinced this would be my fate, and I just needed to learn to live with it.
Several years ago, my husband and I learned about vaginismus after doing some google searches. When I found the vaginismus forum on Maze, I couldn’t believe there were so many other women out there with stories and experiences SO similar to my own. When I began learning more about different treatment options, I started to feel just a bit of hope. But I wasn’t quite ready to take any action, as it was all very overwhelming at the time. At a much later date (and with growing feelings of frustration and depression), I was felt it was time to take action. I decided to start with attempting dilation on my own, as I considered the Botox treatment under anesthesia to be a last resort treatment option. Long story short, I was unable to insert even the smallest dilator, and eventually lost my patience with even trying anymore. I felt like I had to be part of the small percentage that couldn’t be cured, and I was back to just accepting my fate.
More time went by, and one night while laying in bed struggling to sleep, I revisited this forum and started reading success stories. I felt really emotional, and started to gain some hope again. I’m not really sure what gave me the extra push and confidence in this moment, but I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and seek professional help for overcoming my vaginismus. I sent a message to request information, and I received a phone call the very next day.
Once it was determined I would be a great candidate for the vaginismus botox treatment under anesthesia, I decided to move forward with the process. The hardest step was making that initial contact. Once I started communicating with the staff at Maze, I couldn’t believe how I instantly felt understood and comfortable. For years I’ve avoided making doctor appointments due to all the anxiety and embarrassment I’ve developed surrounding my vaginismus. After hiding this condition and all the feelings associated with it for SO long, I cannot even begin to describe how refreshing it’s been to communicate with professionals who understand and are very knowledgeable about both the physical AND psychological aspects of vaginismus.
Fast-forward a bit, and I am now just over 3 weeks post-op. I’ve been dilating every day and continue to make progress (even if it feels slow at times). My husband and I have not yet attempted intercourse since the procedure, but I have a good feeling we will be at that point soon! For now, we are being patient and trusting the process. Since the procedure, I’ve gone through waves of feeling such intense emotions- but this time positive ones! For the first time in so long, I can look toward the future feeling hopeful.
For anyone who may be silently struggling, please know you are not alone, and there are different treatment options and resources available to help. My only “regret” is I wish I took this step to seek treatment sooner, but at this point I’m just happy I did! While I still have work to do before considering myself cured, I can’t express in words how grateful I am for everyone at Maze for their amazing support and making this life-changing opportunity possible.April 3, 2022 at 10:20 pm #50473recessivegenequeenParticipant
AMT09 – thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story! It was actually sort of surreal to read your story because it so closely resembles my own experience. I also learned about these forums years before I ever sought vaginismus treatment – I just wasn’t ready yet to do the work that ended up being required. It took me about 4 more years before a partner made something of an ultimatum that I needed to do something to seek treatment or he didn’t think we could be together long term.
Like you described, that first call to Maze was one of the hardest parts of the whole process and really the first turning point in a long journey of pain, shame, and negative experiences with doctors and the medical field related to my vaginismus. Calling the Maze Clinic and finding understanding and knowledgeable professionals at the other end of the line helped give me the strength to take each necessary step forward. I was also like you in that I had absolutely zero success with dilating on its own and had to turn to the botox treatment, but the results I saw were fast and incredible. After just 20 days of dilating I was able to have intercourse for the first time with my partner – something that had seemed impossible after nearly 10 years of suffering and uncertainty.
You should be so proud of yourself for all the work you’ve put in and progress you’ve made toward building a fulfilling and shame-free sex life. I hope that it feels like one of the greatest decisions you’ve ever made – I think you will be so glad that you took the plunge and took back control. I also hope you remember this experience throughout your life as a reminder of the power that resides in your body and the change you can enact in yourself. Best of luck as you continue and let us know if you need anything at all!
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