Understanding Myself

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    I don’t even know how to start this post. I am 30 years old and am only now being able to put verbiage to describe what has been affecting me. It is overwhelming at the moment and I am not really sure how to move forward from here.

    After reading about this condition, it’s symptoms and hearing the stories on this forum I have been brought to tears. Looking back I see the signs, having the experience of hitting a wall when trying to put in a tampon. This is the earliest symptom I can triangulate, I still remember how frustrated and upset I got. When I tired to discuss this issue with close friends and family members I was brushed off. I just assumed I wasn’t doing it right, or everyone else felt the same way and just could bear it more than me. I gave up entirely until I was in my late 20s when I was over the inconvenience and uncomfortableness of pads and just forced the use of tampons (was really not a fun experience to put myself through).

    I have a complicated history with intimacy and relationships that really has kept things of this nature unimportant in my life. I actually for a long time just considered myself asexual and that has been a viable excuse as well. The few times I have tried intimacy, it was painful, I had the same “hitting a wall” problem, and stinging/burning pain. The one and only ob/gyn appointment I ever had the courage to go to in my life ended with me crying in my car.

    Trying to understand why I didn’t have the same relationship with my body as my peers left me confused, and ashamed. It still does. All the advice I was ever given was, you’ll get use to it, it will get easier etc. etc. There is still a very real part of me that is worried I am blowing this all out of proportion, that this isn’t what is happening to me and I just need to suck it up or whatever.

    I find myself at the start of a relationship that I am really excited about. I want to be able to enjoy every aspect of a healthy adult relationship. It is the anxiety about trying to start a more physical relationship with him that started the journey that lead me to this forum.

    In this moment I am hoping for support. Reading about this condition it feels overwhelming to even take a single step forward. This forum has so much information, Dilators, Botox, cognitive behavioral therapy. But there are still so many amorphous difficulties, how would I tell my partner about this, when do I tell him, how do I find any sort of individual support from doctors or family, what would that support look like. How do I possibly move forward from here.



    I think any of the women here can echo what you wrote. (I cried when my GP tried to do a pelvic exam – I’m blessed that this man has been my GP for so long because I got a hug out of it rather than further shaming; I wondered if I was asexual or gay because I couldn’t relax during sex; the confusion when you’d ask for advice in a round-about-way and realize that everyone else could seemingly relax for sex; or have people tell you it’s just the wrong guy and you need a glass of wine.)

    On the man note: I now believe that if a man is worth his salt and he truly, really cares… he’ll support you contingent on you making a real, concerted effort to improve the situation. If a guy flakes out when you don’t have sex… be glad you found that out early. I think this is a complicated one as it’s important to want to fix vaginismus for yourself BUT I think a romantic partner is a fine motivation or impetus to take the leap in fixing it, too.

    Unfortunately: I have tried to figure out why I have / had vaginismus and I think it’s a perfect storm (sex-negative upbringing, body image and self-esteem issues passed down, awful initial sexual activities and then pursuing / dating the wrong men). I think because there’s no standard cause and effect with vaginismus that what treatment should be will vary but a mix of CBT, pelvic-floor physio, and dilators was what I needed.

    However: putting a name to what you are dealing with, acknowledging it, and realizing you need help is the hardest part. The cure rate is high and you can fix this.


    Dear @Autumn!

    I went through the same experience a year ago when even doctors here in my country told me that I was just scared of sex and that it is going to be painful. So many people made me feel that I was exaggerating. However, vaginismus is a real issue. Once you get out of it, you realize how terrible it is for your physical and mental well-being.

    Treating vaginismus may take months. So it is better to talk to your partner about it. His support would also be very helpful to you. About your family, talk to ones who you trust the most and who you know would root for you instead of pulling you down. Regarding the clinic, tell the forum where you are from and I am sure someone will be able to point out some clinic or doctor in your country.

    As @bettyslocombe said, the hardest part is recognizing the problem and looking for solution and you have accomplished that step. Move step by step with the guidance from this forum and soon you will find yourself on the other end.

    Best of luck! If you have any other confusion, just let us know.


    Autumn, thanks so much for opening up and sharing your journey. I totally agree with what bettyslocombe and Persevere have said – it’s an unfortunate truth that so many women have known your struggle and are familiar with so many of the moments on your path that you describe, however painful they have been.

    It can definitely feel overwhelming at first to contemplate all you need to do to address your vaginismus, but I found that it helped to focus on just one step at a time. Just like anything hard you’ve ever done, it happens one day at a time, and you’ll have good days and bad days, but it’s possible to make incredible strides if you keep at it. Working on your vaginismus is hard but it’s also healing, and you will get a lot of autonomy back as you pursue greater comfort in your body.

    It is also absolutely true that any man who’s really worth spending time with will be understanding and supportive – and I think in this aspect the best approach is to share in a straightforward way (once you feel ready) what your relationship to sex and your body is, especially emphasizing the fact that you want to take steps to work on the problem. I think your partner will see the situation in a positive light if he sees that it’s something you acknowledge as a thing you want to be better and are taking clear steps to pursue that.

    If you’re looking for a first step, my recommendation is to start calling the type of professional you think would be most helpful (a gynecologist, sex therapist, pelvic floor specialist, or the Maze Clinic) and ask if they have experience dealing with vaginismus. All you have to do is make a few calls at first, and once you learn more you can make a plan for how you want to proceed, one day at a time. So many women have dealt with this issue and there are treatment providers out there that can help.

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