Transition to sex not going well

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    I was diagnosed with primary vaginismus about 4 months ago and was very successful with dilator therapy. This week I attempted PIV with my new boyfriend of ~1 month for the first time since diagnosis. The first time we tried, he was able to get in and it wasn’t too painful but by the time I was adjusted he was no longer hard enough for us to be successful. Neither of us got off. The second time was much more successful (according to him) but I still had enough pain and tightness that it was an issue and neither of us got off again. I think my partner is getting frustrated. Is it normal to experience this when transitioning off of dilators? How long does it take before sex becomes successful? I should also mention that both times, we did not use lubricant and I did not dilate beforehand. Perhaps that was why?


    Welcome LPoppy! And thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    First of all, congrats on graduating your dilation program! Secondly, congrats on knowing your body, and being thoughtful as to how to move forward with penetrative sex. In fact, you are so knowledgable that you answered your own questions! At Maze, we always recommended dilating up to one size larger than whatever you chose to insert (ie your partner’s penis, a vibrator, etc). You should dilate with that just before penetration. In your case, you can do it by yourself privately, next to your partner, or with him (this is entirely up to you).

    Additionally, we strongly suggest the use of lube (and you can’t use too much!) during penetration of any kind.

    Another possible factor: you say you’ve only been with your partner for less than a month. It’s not about quantity but quality here – you want to ensure that the person you’re having sex with is supportive and someone you trust. If all of that is in check, that’s great! If not, remember that this is your body and always your choice how, when, where, why and with whom you engage sexually.

    Also take note – it’s not unusual at all for the first couple of times out of the gate to seem awkward and mechanical. Be patient, take things slowly at your own pace.

    If we can be of further help, reach out to us for a free 10-min consult. Take care and keep on keeping on!


    Thank you so much. We’re going to try again this week with dilating and lube. I’m still wondering if it’s normal for the first couple times to be bad for the man too? I was expecting it to be not amazing for me but still decent for him.


    You’re most welcome! And yes, it can be sometimes challenging for men because of their sexual physiology – their penises are accustomed to the rhythms and thrust patterns that arouse them (and maintain their erections). So when those are adjusted or interrupted for your (non-negotiable) comfort, it can sometimes be (temporarily) problematic. If, after a few more trials he’s still experiencing issues, he can contact his doctor (or call the Maze Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Center).


    Hi LPoppy! Congratulations on all your hard work and success with dilating!! I second everything Jennifer said. When I overcame vaginismus and began intercourse, it was odd for a while. Things certainly weren’t hot and heavy haha. Dilating beforehand is very important, and you will reach a point where it no longer becomes necessary, but for now it will help your body prepare for pain free sex! And lube!! Still to this day, 2 years free of vaginismus and having regular intercourse, I still use lube. It certainly doesn’t hurt to make sure you are completely protected against unfriendly friction. What I also found helpful, and of course this is totally up to you, but I found that using a penis ring that has a vibrator for your clit is really helpful! It makes intercourse fun, especially during the beginning of your new sex life! I hope this helps! Keep us updated 🙂


    Hi LPoppy – tons of good advice here that I want to echo. I always use lots of lube and love it and HIGHLY encourage it as you’re transitioning to intercourse – no reason to introduce another potential LITERAL friction point while you’re still learning. And most of all, despite what movies, TV, and mass media tend to like to show us, first time sex with a new person is RARELY good right away, even when nobody invovled has vaginismus! It just takes time to get used to each other’s bodies and preferences, so don’t put pressure on it to be perfect right away. Focus on getting comfortable with each other and the quality of sex will improve over time. Good luck with intercourse and I’m glad to hear you’re starting to get used to it!


    Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement! I wanted to provide an update that my partner and I tried to have sex again this time dilating first and using lube and it worked! It wasn’t the most comfortable, I still felt a little bit of pain but it worked well for my partner and he finished. Hopefully things will only improve from here 🙂

    mmHelen Leff, LCSW

    Hi LPoppy, Glad to hear from you and that dilating first and using lube is helping! I can’t emphasize enough that at first intercourse may simply feel mechanical. Go slow and have lots of communication with your partner. Embrace the awkward! Also, we have found that dilating larger than your partner’s penis is also key in having pain free penetrative sex.
    Take good care and keep us posted,



    Just adding to the supportive words above. You should feel so insanely proud of yourself for all of your INCREDIBLE progress. I’m so glad the lube has helped, and I guarantee things will just get easier and more comfortable the more you try 🙂 Like with anything, practice makes perfect!

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