Vaginismus – Confused how to get treatment

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    I waited until I got married to have intercourse. Before the wedding night my friend who had lost her virginity at a young age was telling me it will be incredibly painful the first time but after that it will begin to feel good and everything will be fine by the 3rd attempt. When it came to the wedding night I think this made me incredibly nervous psychologically and I was expecting pain (because I thought that was just how it was meant to be) and boy was it painful! It was the most excruciating pain I have experience (I just assumed this was normal and was meant to happen). My husband managed to enter the vagina but it stopped at a certain point and he could no longer push further but during the entire time my toes were curling up in agony and I was breathing rather rapidly try bearing it. He was extremely gentle but it somehow didn’t help to make it feel any better.

    The next morning we tried again and it felt nicer and easier and I don’t remember it being painful at all but once again after a certain point he couldn’t push in to me any further (I guess this is the ‘hitting a brick wall’ that you hear about a lot.) It has been 9 months since we have been married and we have only attempted to try having sex a few times (6/7). Each time it’s different and confusing. Sometimes he can’t even get inside. There’s just a complete barrier at the front of the vagina it feels and I can already feel a burning and stinging if he just tries to penetrate so we don’t even bother going any further.

    Then there are times when he can enter much more easily but then he can’t get past a certain point but it’ll be the least painful it has ever been. Then there are times when he manages to get inside but it’s painful the whole time and I give up after a while of tolerating it. I eventually went to a doctor because I didn’t know whether an infection was contributing to the pain as it was always so different for me (with it sometimes being more okay than others) and she managed to do her examination fine. There was a slight bit of tensing from my part and a sharp pain towards the end when she pushed the biggest instrument in but my doctor seemed pleasantly surprised with how easy the examination went but she did say it was confirmed that I had vaginismus.

    (can I just point out I find it strange that vaginismus is split into two categories. Primary and secondary, however I have no idea where I lie as I have had partial penetration (he can’t get all the way inside but he can go halway) and it has always been painful whether the pain is really mild or extremely severe.)

    Anyhow, she recommended KY jelly and a minimum of 30 mins foreplay as I have a narrow vaginal canal (or something) which means I will need to be really aroused in order to accommodate to my husband who is well endowed. We tried once after that using her advice and it went better than any previous attempt but again he couldn’t get past a certain point. However the lack of pain meant I started feeling slightly better. I also orgasmed whilst he was inside (this wasn’t due to hwo good penetration felt but other forms of foreplay occurring simultaneously) and I was hoping this would manipulate my brain into associating sex and having him in me as a pleasant experience and stop my vagina from spasming.

    The time we tried again after that (which was 2 months later) we again spent 30 minutes on foreplay. I could easily insert two fingers simultaneously into my vagina but the second his member came near it I felt the pain again and he couldn’t even get it to slide inside in the slightest. I am finding this so confusing and do not understand what the best course of treatment could be. I felt so frustrated after the last time as I began to finally feel we were making progress only to take 10 steps back. Then the panic started setting in when I began to realise we were not too far off from our first year anniversary. I began to wonder how many more years we wouldn’t be able to have sex. Whether it would stop us from having children (we both want children by the time were 30) and a flood of tears poured out of me. I don’t really like to try having sex anymore because the disappointment of trying and failing makes me feel SO crap and withdrawn that it feels easier to not try and it sometimes almost makes me forget I even have a problem. But I know that if I continue to do this I will never get cured. If anybody can help give some insight please do. I could really do with some advice.

    Yours desperately


    Hi Thumper28. Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post. I am so, so sorry for your struggles with vaginismus. I, too, had primary vaginismus for all of my 20s and into my early 30s up until 2011. Please know that you have found an excellent place of support and you are not alone with this problem at all. Currently, there are over 785 Forum members who have all either had, currently have, or in some way are affected by vaginismus. Together, we can all learn from each other and be an excellent community of support. For all of the years that I had vaginismus, I told none of my closest girlfriends and it was very, very isolating. I currently don’t want a single person to feel like I did back then and, again, want you to know that you have my support and understanding 100%!

    As for tips on treatment, while Dr. Pacik has now retired, he posted the following on 9/6/15:
    “I would like the members of the Forum to know that my retirement date was 9/1/2015. I have trained two different groups in NY who are using my technique of Botox, progressive dilation and counseling. I would be happy to make referrals for those interested.”

    Thus, I would contact him for a referral and I cannot say enough amazing things about him in one post. He is the kindest and most caring doctor that you will ever meet and he actually gets and understands what each of us has gone through having vaginismus.

    I secondly wanted to share information with you on working with vaginal dilators. During my 20s, I tried to use the dilators from along with the workbook and could never make it past the step of being able to insert a q-tip or the smallest sized tampon which did not work d/t burning pain. Post-procedure, I was able to insert dilators for the first time ever and then my husband and also have exams, all things that I never ever ever thought would be possible. I’ve used both the Pure Romance dilator set as well as the Pacik Glass ones and like them both. The Pure Romance ones are great because they’re a softer silicone material and have handles which makes them easier to insert and remove. They also have many, many different sizes. I also really like the Pacik Glass ones because they, too, have the handles and they are shorter in length so you don’t feel them as much and can do other things with them in. I want to share the link for the second issue of the VaginismusMD Newsletter that discusses all-things dilating. Specific topics include: Styles and Materials of Dilators, Getting Started with Dilation (includes information on ordering dilator set), Anxiety Control, Advanced Dilation Techniques, and Transitioning to Intercourse. I also used a combination of Lidocaine/Surgilube as a lubricant on the dilators. I liberally used this and it made beginning insertion much more doable.

    Ok, I hope all of this helps and again want you to know that I am sincerely here for you along your journey of overcoming vaginismus. Sending you support.

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