Very painful to use dilators

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    Hello all, (please forgive any mistakes as english isn’t my first language),

    I’m a very shy person, but I really need advice so I decided to inscribe to this forum. I’m 25 years old, I have severe generalised anxiety and social anxiety. I’ve started dating casually a few months ago which was a big scary step for me and as I had never had sex before, decided to try to insert a dildo in my vagina to see if it “worked” down there. Well, it wouldn’t go in at all and hurt as heck!! I went crying to my doctor, was referred to a gynecologist who had me undergo hymenectomy then gave me the dilators for severe vaginismus. I thought: just my luck! Severe anxiety and now the added challenge of very scary sex, if I can ever achieve it. I really want a husband and kids one day so this was shocking to me.

    Still too scared to have a boyfriend or relationship of any kind… I started using the dilators. The small one went in okay with lots of lubricant. The second one hurt way too much. After a few days it was okay and I tried the third one. It hurts so much it’s like it’s all tearing appart inside. I absolutely hate it and have to force myself to take out my dilator set every couple of days and try again. I always have to start with the smallest dilator and slowly work my way up. Now I’m panicking because how will I EVER be able to have sex?? Will a guy accept me with all these problems?? How do I even talk about it to a guy… :'(

    I don’t know what to do so I turned to this forum in need of help and advice.

    Thanks a lot



    Hi Liv, welcome to the forums! It was brave of you to share the struggles you’ve been having, and I completely understand and sympathize with your pain. I had social anxiety issues as well when I was young, so discovering later that I also had vaginismus felt especially unfair (though I have long suspected that anxiety and vaginismus are sometimes linked for people who don’t have other traumas related to sex in their pasts).

    Even though you seem to be feeling helpless, the fact that you can insert the smallest dilator with lube is a huge deal! The thing about dilating that makes it so hard is that it’s SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable. Not agonizingly painful, but stretching and burning and aching in the muscles are normal. Since dilating is meant to stretch and loosen tight muscles, this is part of the process.

    I think there are a couple things you could do to make dilating more effective. One is to dilate every day if at all possible, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day. This will usually help with the pain issue because it will get your muscles a lot more used to having something inserted so they won’t be as resistant as they can be when they get a break and then have to get back in the game again. The other would be to make sure you’re being patient with yourself and not trying to move up a dilator size too quickly. I get the impulse to want to get past dilating as quickly as possible, but retraining your vaginal muscles takes time and it’s better to spend extra time working with a smaller size until you’re super comfortable before moving to the next biggest size up. That means being able to insert and remove the dilator with relative ease and to wiggle the dilator around a bit while it’s in.

    If you keep working with dilators and still find the pain excruciating, there are other options like the botox treatment (which I received), but the fact that you’ve been able to insert the first couple is extremely promising. There’s an entire area of the forums devoted to dilating, so you may be able to find more information there as well. But please do let us know if you have other questions – we’re always rooting for you and really hoping this is just a quick setback on the road to a better sex life!



    I am based in uk and I am being referred to pyscho-sexual clinic. However I have had pycho sexual therapy years ago, although was not in a relationship at the time. I was told to use the dilators but they looked so scary I didn’t even attempt them as I cannot even insert a tampon. However I was able to insert 2 fingers so can you overcome vaginisum without using dilators, like using your fingers instead?


    Hi Strega001,

    Im in the UK and was surprised to see in your post that you’ve been referred to a pyscho-sexual clinic for vaginismus. I went to my GP recently and she informed me that there was nothing provided on the NHS for this condition any longer. Can I ask if you have had to go private for your treatment?


    Hi endofmytether,

    I know your question about possible NHS treatment was directed at Strega001 but thought I might be able to help. I am also in the UK and was referred straight away to a psycho-sexual clinic on the NHS. I’m sorry that your doctor did not give you the same response – when I first visited my GP about the problem I was also dismissed but when I saw a second doctor a couple of months later I was immediately referred on the NHS so do not believe that there aren’t possible treatments for you on the NHS. My advice would be to visit a different GP if possible and explain your situation, I’m sure they will be happy to help you as mine were with me! All the best of luck. 🙂


    The support people provide to one another on this forum is second to none! Thanks so much, amyct23 – your advice to endofmytether is spot-on and doubly helpful because of your shared geographic location. Since healthcare systems and providers vary so widely, the assistance you all provide one another here is invaluable.

    Whether you are seeking advice, looking for support or sharing experiences, we at Maze salute each and everyone of you!


    Hi, I attempted to used the smallest size from intimate rose last night. I could only use it for a couple minutes. I have a burning sensation this morning, not horrible, but I am worried something is wrong.


    My patients often complain that dilation causes a burning sensation, that sensation is usually muscles stretching beyond where they are comfortable. Like stretching any muscle in your body, the day after you could still feel a lingering discomfort.

    I don’t think you did anything wrong.

    I would keep attempting using the small dilator a few minutes a day. You should find that as you continue with consistent dilation, that burning sensation reduces.

    If you have any other associated sx, urinary urgency or frequency, burning with urination, vaginal discharge, itching…that could possibly point to a UTI or vaginal infection, and you would want to be evaluated.

    But if its just a lingering burning, after dilation, I would watch and wait and see if it goes away with continued work with the dilators.


    Thank you vho20 for sharing. I also have experienced an uncomfortable burning sensation with using the dilators. I will continue to use them, and trust that the burning sensation will be reduced.

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