Vaginismus in relationships…..

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    Hi everyone, I’m new to this forum (Sher, 26 y/o, excuse my grammar I’m Dutch)…I have been struggling with this topic for the past three years and I’m getting a bit hopeless on what to do, that’s why I started looking to chats and groups where I could share my story with “normal” people instead of all the doctors telling me to do this and that without any change… I don’t see any improvements, on the contrary, I feel like it’s all getting worse, taking over my life and breaking me and my boyfriend apart. So that’s what I’d like to talk about.

    I was wondering if there are people who are suffering from vaginismus and are in a relationship. How do you cope with this? (little background) > Me and my boyfriend are together since 2017. Het is my first. The first time we had intercourse was amazing, I was so in love, it was my first time (not for him tho) and I didn’t hurt at all, we used a condom (I wasn’t on any pills yet). No pain, just a lot of love and we even “peaked” at the same time. It was very caring and lovingly and there was just a lot of trust. Now, I think that the problem of my vaginismus started with birth control.. My GP advised me to have the birth controll that’s a hormone injection and keeps you safe for 3 moths. It was utter horror, you’re supposed to skip your period for that time…with me things were the other way around: I was “bleeding” for 8 weeks of the 12 weeks..So we didn’t had much sex. Then my GP advised me to try it another 3 months “its all about adjusting”, ok…. I did…ended up bleeding for 10 weeks out of 12. So I think things went downhill from there, because of the “lifelong-period” I think my vaginal household got dried out. So Sex started to be painfull because I couldn’t get “wet” and I think that was because of the long term period so the whole PH regulation and whatever was ‘broken’. Then I started with the pill, it seemed to work but I got really depressed from it which took away the libido I had left….So I ended up stopping with that. Sex wasn’t a “fun” thing anymore. So in the Fall of 2017 I enden up taking a Mirena Spiral of copper, so without any hormones. Unfortunately I went through al the pain of placing this spiral in my womb for nothing because it seemed my uterus rejected the spiral, I was in pain for 8 weeks, in the end the Gyno told me my body was in “Labor” for 8 weeks. They ended up taking the spiral out. During these weeks we had sex just a few times, penetration wasn’t painful but the orgasms were because of the contraction of the uterus who had this spiral inside which it didn’t wanted to have. So I stopped sex, birthcontroll, everything. I shut down…
    I gave my body 2 months to heal because is had ben trough a hell of a year… 2018 started. We decided to go to another GY, a pelvic floor physiotherapist and a sexologist. They tried to help me, but I feel like that’s where it all went downhill relationship wise. My bf hates to talk (like most men) but he always supported me with my appointments. He was really understanding and didn’t pressure me at all but the whole “understanding” part only seemed to be there during our appointments….Everytime we would get into the car afterwards we’d get into an argument on our way home. He thought it was all bullshit, he thought it was all in my head and that the sollution was simple: “just don’t be so complicated about it an just have sex, no pain an just fun and love”. He didn’t seem to get that vaginismus needs time and it’s a mentall and physical healing process. He doesn’t believe in mental illnesses…he thinks it’s all in peoples heads and that the sollution is simple. “You depressed? Stop worrying and just smile more..”
    So we had some differences, and his attitude made me insecure, was he gonna leave me if this whole healingprocess would last too long? Was he gonna het mad after every appointment? Was I actually exaggerating? Should I just shut up and have sex…? All these thoughts made it even harder form me to heal because I had now different problems: 1. sex was painfull, 2. We couldn’t talk about it, 3. It had to be fixed fast because he might walk away, 4. I was afraid to say stop and have no sex because it could influence our relationship, 5. He had to give up all his sexual needs for me and that wasn’t good for his way of handeling this situation.
    So….the problem got worse. The doctors told us not to have sex, we didn’t listen untill this one night we had sex and it hurt me so incredibly much that I was bleeding like craze. He was shocked. I even ended up ripping something up in the entrance of my V. We finally stopped. He got more sincere about the situation, he told me more often we would get trough it all toghether, he was patient and we started to explore sex on another level and skipped the “penetration”. It felt like we were doing ok….although, my libido was totally gone so every time we did something bed-related it always came from his side. he started the seduction, and I would respond, or not…I feel like that was the moment his insecurities about my being arroused by him started. He started thinking he was part of the problem, I didn’t get wet and arroused because I wasn’t attracted to him anymore. It wasn’t true but he kinda planted that little seed in my head and it started to grow. But luckily it didn’t grew out to be a tree. Yes I don’t get “excited” and amn’t attracted physically anymore because it may all lead to sex..aka: PAIN.

    So: libido gone, sex painfull, > the relationship is starting to shatter because we don’t talk..
    Last night I gave him a massage, just gentle, not sexual but sweet and relaxing for his back. The day after we had another appointment with the sexologist, I felt like things were going ok, I felt more attracted to him and had some moments my body wanted to have sex (I didn’t because it might still hurt but i have to build up my libido again)…but het felt like shit was going downhill…. ” We don’t have sex anymore and the few things we do in bed are so little and nog very frequent, the past two months we have done things in bed for like 5 times or so….”

    We got in the car, I felt alone, sad…He seemed pissed. I asked him what was going on: het said “I think this whole treatment with the doctor is bullshit! And I hated that massage yesterday because I wanted you to touch me ssexually and you didn’t. I went to bed with a hard dick and couldn’t releieve myself…”

    I shut down. I felt like we were on two different paths..I wanted to heal and reconnect emotionally-phisically in sex, make love not just have a bodypart stuck in your V…
    And he just seemes to loose his patience, he’s been patient for 3 years, always understanding but now I seemed done with it. He was having thoughts about his future…he didn’t want to have to skip sex in his life. Shit had to change…

    This made me feel even more insecure an bad about my condition….It gives me more stress and pressure to fix this…which has the opposite effect…

    Does anyone have any advice on how to cope with this in a relationship? How was it for you girls? Guys?… I want to heal…an have a healthy relationship again…


    Hi Sheertje,

    Firstly I’m so sorry that you’ve had to experience all of this. Are you still in a relationship with this person?

    He is putting pressure on you which is exactly the opposite of what you need to heal. He’s also misunderstanding your arousal response like you say – you can mentally want to have sex with someone but because you associate sex with pain your body might not be in sync with your mind yet.

    I’m guessing from what you’ve written that your therapist has asked you to have massage sessions without touching erogenous zones so that you’ll build up libido and trust/enjoyment in physical touch? I tried to do this with my ex and he was coorporative to start with but then seemed to not want to do it because it seemed ‘forced’ and ‘scheduled’ which apparently didn’t appeal to him (lol!) – but he also complained that he didn’t like having not a sex life. It’s like some men seem to think they can have something without putting the work in or something.
    I’m with a new partner now who is completely amazing – I was really up front about my diagnosis (I think actually text him website about it after maybe our third date?) and he completely gets that sometimes I have to stop because things aren’t right, and not having that pressure means I’ve been able to pretty much have almost ‘normal’ penetrative sex, which to me seemed impossible once.

    Are you using the trainers/dilators? I was skeptical at first but they are a game changer. I’m concerned though that in your other post you say you’re experiencing cracking of the skin – has your therapist advised you to slow down or stop any of your therapy? I wonder if things are going to fast or forced?

    You will get through this! And if not in this relationship – there are men out there who are supportive and patient, and willing to talk about things. (Maybe you should dump him!!!) Communication is such a massive help.

    I’d recommend this book: ‘Come as you are’ by Emily Nagoski – I’ve just started reading it and it’s great!


    Hi Sheertje – I’m so sorry to hear about the circumstances that led to your vaginismus and how it’s negatively impacted your relationship. I have experienced so much of what you’ve described – feeling guilty and put more under pressure because of having painful sex, which makes you dread the sex more, which makes the spiral tighter, etc. I know it will take work to get out of the place you have arrived at, but it’s possible to have pain-free intercourse that doesn’t make you feel guilty and ashamed, and I think you are strong enough to have it!

    First of all, things with your vaginismus will only get worse if your boyfriend doesn’t properly understand the situation you’re in and what you actually NEED to be able to do to fix it. If you haven’t already, your first step should be to sit him down and have an extremely frank conversation about where things stand. Tell him what you told us – how bad the pain is, but also how bad the fear and shame and stress have gotten. Show him these forums or the Maze website or a book about vaginismus so he can understand what’s happening and that there are certain methods of treatment he needs to understand. Make sure that he knows above all that putting more pressure on you will only make the problem worse.

    If your boyfriend can’t come to an understanding about that what’s happening to you is REAL and is both physical and psychological, it’s going to be basically impossible for you to fix this and heal yourself, so you need to figure out if he is on your team or not and proceed accordingly. If he still wants to be with you through the healing process, let him know that YOU need to be the one to decide when new milestones are reached – when to try intercourse again, when to be touched in new ways, etc. – as you need to rediscover your sense of desire and pleasure. The pressure to please a man and to resentfully bow to his desires can be demanding, but he needs to let you rediscover your confidence. You can also talk about things you ARE comfortable doing that can give him pleasure (oral sex, handjobs, massages) if there are any, but it’s also okay if you need to totally go back to square one and find sexual trust with this person again.

    If he’s on board with all this, you can begin seeking treatment for vaginsmus through dilators, pelvic floor therapy, botox, or whatever else is accessible to you. Stress to your boyfriend (and be aware yourself) that there is no set timeline for making progress with vaginismus. There are days you’ll have progress and days you’ll take a step back, but healing IS possible. You have to be patient with yourself and your boyfriend has to be patient with you too, but you CAN get to the place where it’s possible to start working toward a healthy and painless sex life.

    If your boyfriend isn’t on board with all of this, you’ll likely need to reflect on your partnership and whether you can continue to be in a relationship with him. If he isn’t on your team, the vaginismus healing can’t begin.

    I hope this helps and let us know how it goes for you or if you have any questions – you are not alone in this and I can tell you there is a much happier future ahead for you if you want it!

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