Welcome New Members!

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    Hi Sophie – welcome to the forums! I haven’t heard of the tampon/masturbation technique before but have to admit it seems like the right IDEA pursued the wrong way. A tampon isn’t meant to create pleasure – its purpose is hygienic by design – so masturbating with one seems ineffective. I tell the same thing to people who wonder if they’re supposed to feel sexual pleasure from using dilators. They’re more medical by design, so it doesn’t mean anything if masturbating with them isn’t working for you! If you’re able to insert something the size of a tampon into your vagina, I’d instead recommend getting a small vibrator (they truly come in all sizes and shapes) and working with that to see if you find it relaxing or pleasurable. If you’re able to insert tampons, I’d also recommend you get a set of dilators. Being able to put in tampons is an excellent start, but since penises are larger, getting your body accustomed to gradually larger objects is a better method of preparing to have sex.

    It sounds like you’re doing a really good job of keeping a positive attitude about this, which is rarer than you’d think! Being able to talk to friends is a great resource – even if they don’t totally get what you’re going through, the fact that you can confide in them means you have people can support you as you process the feelings of your experience. I think your male friend has a good point – it can be really hard to determine what you do and don’t like sexually when there’s so much anxiety and pain surrounding certain sex acts. When I was treated for vaginismus I assumed penetrative sex was something I’d tolerate for the sake of stability in a relationship once I could do it, and now it’s something I LOVE. I hope you’ll keep exploring how you feel and what you like with the same bravery you’ve already demonstrated – I think it’ll make your life even better.


    Hi everyone,

    I’m Gemma and i’m 19. I’ve never really joined a forum like this before so I’m a bit nervous.

    For a long time I struggled with inserting tampons and I worried how I would cope with sex. I went to the doctor asking about why I was feeling so much pain when trying to insert a tampon but she told me that I just needed to relax and that she couldn’t examine me because I was a virgin and wouldn’t be able to do an internal examination. She basically gave me the advice of “relax, use lube and lots of foreplay and your first time will be fine” i’m sure a lot of you can relate to this response. As I expected when me and my boyfriend tried to have sex for the first time over a year ago it was near impossible and very painful. After various appointments it was finally diagnosed as vaginismus and i’ve been prescribed the dilators. My boyfriend is wonderful about it and continuously tells me that it doesnt matter that we cant have penetrative sex yet. (We are very close emotionally) However, I know that i’m not his first sexual partner and that he does miss penetrative sex. I often feel very very down about it as I desperately just want to be able to do it, but I just can’t. I’ve watched all my friends have difficult first times but are now having great sex together and its so difficult to not compare and wish you were ‘normal’.

    I’m using the Amielle dilators, and at the moment I’m up to number 3. I find it difficult to build up the motivation to do it a lot. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on this. I don’t know much about botox options so am hoping to learn about them here.

    I’m so glad I found this page. Vaginismus feels so desperately lonely sometimes and its just nice to have a bit of a vent to people who understand!! Thank you to everyone who continues to fight stigma and educate on painful sex and thank you to those who set up this page. I’m going to go read some success stories to try and motivate myself for this journey.



    Hi Gemma, and welcome to the forums! Good for you for joining – it’s can be a really scary thing to do but seeking answers is the first step for sure. And I’m so sorry for your experience with vaginismus – it sounds like the exact combination of frustration and sadness I felt at 19, with a loving partner but no way to give him the sex life we both wanted.

    The fact that you’re working with (and able to use) dilators is huge! It means you’re well on your way to being able to have sex. The key to dilating successfully and seeing results is consistency. You’re right – it’s HARD to want to do this challenging thing every day! That’s why it helps not to treat it as something you feel deep motivation to do but as a habit or chore you do every day, like brushing your teeth. Even if you just try to dilate for 5 minutes every day, you’ll be better off than if you do it a few times a week intermittently. The muscles will get more used to stretching and also you’ll better be able to assess your progress. If you can find a little sliver of time to do it every day (especially if it’s the SAME time every day) you’ll just treat it like another thing to do every day rather than having to talk yourself into it.

    As you get further along with your dilating, another thing that can help is including your boyfriend in the process. You can start by having him watch you put in a dilator, then by having him hold it with you as you insert it, and finally by having him insert it himself – this lets you get more comfortable with ceding some of the control to your partner, which to a degree is necessary in sex.

    As for the botox procedure, it’s what I had because I wasn’t able to insert a dilator – you can read a lot about it on the Maze website, but basically what it entails is that you’re put to sleep under anesthesia, botox is injected into your vagina to curb the spasming of the muscles that make your vagina so tight, and then a large dilator is inserted and left in until you wake up and feel/see it inside you. For many of us this is the first time we’ve ever had something inside of us, so it helps make the connection that our vaginas aren’t broken and we just need to work to get used to penetration.

    Botox is great for people who can’t insert anything or who feel like they can’t progress sufficiently with dilators. In your case I would recommend trying to dilate more consistently first to see if you can make progress that way – especially since that the post-botox treatment plan is to dilate everyday! But botox is always an option if you feel stuck.

    You’ve already been really brave in sharing your story and beginning to tackle this, so remember that as you pursue whatever option for treatment suits you best. And celebrate your achievements along the way (a new dilator, less pain, etc.) – this is a journey and it happens one step at a time!


    Hi Recessivegenequeen,

    Thanks for your reply it was so informative and helpful, I really appreciated it. I’ll buy a small vibrator as you suggest! Glad to hear you recovered from vaginismus, I wasn’t sure that really happened. How long did it take you?

    Thanks again for the strong words 🙂




    I am new here. I live in the UK and finally gathered up the courage to join after finding this forum very triggering because i was still coming to terms with this.

    I cried myself into a frenzy tonight and then decided that no, i can do this. I have seen doctors about this issue but i am still at an avoidance stage and am still super scared of even attempting penetration. Any attempts at peneteration result in me just pushing and resisting my partner because i cannot relax.

    I have been in a sexless relationship for almost 5 years now. I have never inserted anything into my vagina. Not even tampons. When i was seen by a gynae, she was unable to even carry out a proper examination because i jusy started crying and they called it superficial dyspareunia.

    Since then, i have been on Sertraline to help with my sex related anxiety which initially i thought was working but now, i am not so sure.
    My relationship is stable and a great, loving one.. but i find, as most women probably do, that i beat myself up for this way more than anyone else. My partner has never criticised me or made me feel bad, but i make myself feel bad.

    I believe the cause of my inability to have sex is my childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse. My abuser exposed me to violent porn at a young age and used to make me watch them with him and also touched me inappropriately.
    I also used to get beaten frequently as a kid which i believe may have contributed to my anxiety.

    I am glad i finally joined this forum and i really hope that i will be “normal” soon.

    I am going to try vagi-wave and also buying a treatment kit from vaginismus.com. if anyone has tried any of these then please do let me know if they work. Here is to hoping.


    Hi Sam786. Are you still intact? (hymen in its original place?) Your problem sounds similar to one I read about earlier this year in Israel. You may want to ask your doctor to test you for a problem with your hymen, or (since that type of testing can be tricky) just ask for it’s removal to rule that out as the cause. Sometimes the hymen can be very resistant to detaching causing pain and resulting in aversion to sex, exams, and tampons. If your hymen has not detached on it’s own there is a simple outpatient procedure that will safely detach it for you so you can get on with your life. You don’t need to suffer. I hope you will pursue this simple treatment.


    Hi 60isthenewfifty.

    I am not sure whether my hymen is intact or not. I assume it is as i have had no penetration but I have never had this checked. I think my main concern with this would be that it would involve a form of penetration to 1, check the hymen and 2, remove it and this makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    I also don’t think my hymen is the issue for me. I think for me, it is somewhat physical but the psychological issues are what is making it worse for me.

    To add, i dont know if this hymen detaching procedure is something that is done in the UK under the National Health Service.

    Thank you for your response!


    I will take that as a “yes, I am intact.” Detaching the hymen surgically is done under anesthesia, you will never know it happened. Normally, when you have sex for the first time, the hymen detaches naturally. That’s called “losing your virginity.” For some girls it does not happen as it should, the tissue of the hymen is too tight. It is a barrier to the vagina. The surgery is actually a very old procedure that doctors of my generation still remember. I am old, so I am aware of its history. Back in the day, if a spinster (older single woman) happened to get married late in life, her doctor would suggest doing this so that her wedding night would not be painful. (This has also been documented in literature in the novel “Tim” by the late Colleen McCullough, if you would like to read about it from that point of view. Beautiful story.) And, my older cousin married for the first time at age 50. She was still a virgin and her doctor did this for her. She was able to enjoy her wedding night without trauma. Perhaps GYN’s down here in the South are a little more clued-in.

    I will also tell you that I have spent over 40 years dealing with my own GYN anomalies and in 1998 asked my doctor to circumcise me. Why? I needed to take charge of my body. I was 38 at the time and had never had an orgasm during sex. I bet you didn’t know that this was a procedure either, did you? It’s not what is done in Africa, it’s a legitimate procedure to removal the excess clitoral hood covering the clitoris so that sex can produce an orgasm in the woman. It changed my life overnight and all I had to do was ask. My doctor barely blinked, I was home the same day. So I hope this will encourage you to take charge of your body and at least rule out a physical cause that very likely could be linked to your mental and emotional barriers to sex.


    Hi Sophie – I had vaginismus for about 10 years (ages 15 to 25), then got the botox procedure right after turning 25 and was able to have sex 20 days later! I couldn’t believe it worked so quickly, and it still took some time to really get used to and enjoy (probably another couple of months), but now I’m totally pain free and really love having sex! I know how hard it can be to believe when you’re in the thick of it, but it’s possible.

    Sam786 – I’m so sorry for all you have been through, both in childhood and as a woman seeking a sexually active relationship with a partner. I’m really glad you are open to seeking treatment too – a change is possible, as hard as it can be to believe right now! Getting dilators can be a good idea, although they can also be a challenge if you’re not comfortable with any level of penetration. I wasn’t able to use them on my own and ended up getting the botox treatment, which could end up being a really good fit for you. I recommend reading about it more on the website to see if you think it’s an option for you. It completely changed my life.

    I’d also recommend you consider seeing a gynecologist to talk your concerns through or to rule out a physical condition (they can meet with you without needing to do a penetrative examination). Therapy can also help to process the emotions and traumas that affect your ability to have sex.

    Finally, since you mentioned being in the UK, here’s a thread lots of UK women have posted in in case you want to seek treatment there:


    Hi Sam786,
    I am very sorry to hear how low you have been! I am deeply upset and sorry to read what had happened to you in the past.
    It can be devastating not knowing which treatment to choose and what exactly is wrong.
    I am living in the UK and there is treatment for vaginismus available. Do you have a nice GP?
    Just make an appointment with her/him and ask her/him if she/he can transfer you to a close treatment for vaginismus – often associated with a women hospital. There they should be able to prescribe you dilators on the NHS – I think you have to pay 15£ on top – but not the full amount.

    Or you could ask if they could carefully examine you and rule out anything else. Keep in mind instead of panicking at an examination (I have been there – left a couple of times in tears not being able for hours to stop crying) you can just say – stop at any time – I always say now at the beginning of examinations how difficult it is for me – and at anytime I can’t do it I tell them to stop.

    Relate offers a sexual therapy/counselling which you could go to with your partner – but as far as I know they do not specialise in vaginismus. And you might need both physical and mental help.

    I send you lots of strength and I hope you get the help you deserve and please stop beating yourself up its not your fault!


    60isthenewfifty –

    Thank you so much for this advice and I have already added it to my list of things to discuss as options with my doctor. If the NHS or even private healthcare does offer this, then I will 100% do this so any physical cause may be ruled out and to give me some more peace of mind.

    At this stage, I will do anything to help myself, no matter the time it takes or the cost.


    Heliopsis –

    Thank you for your kind words, I truly appreciate them.
    So, I have been to see my GP about this issue, my doctor did try to examine me however this failed and I was unable to allow her to do anything at all. She did then refer me to gynaecology and saw no point in giving me dilators as she felt it would just add more pressure. On examination by the gynaecologist, same thing happened and I was unable to allow her to examine me and she agreed with my GP and thought dilators would just add more pressure as she knew I would be unable to use them due to how stressed and anxious it makes me.

    She suggested taking Sertraline for the anxiety aspect and getting Psychosexual therapy due to the history of sexual abuse and believed that the combination of the two would help me. I went back to my GP, got the Sertraline after basically begging for it and was told there is no psychosexual therapists in my area on the NHS and that I would have to go private. I started the Sertraline which did help with dealing with my emotions however, have been irregular in taking them for a while due to university stress. I did also see an unspecialised psychologist who just had an informal chat with me and suggested some places I could contact (RELATE was one of them but I never did get in touch with them).

    I am going to make another appointment with my GP soon to discuss other treatment options or another referral back to the gynae department. As you know, the NHS is a slow process and everything does take forever so in the meantime I have actually followed your advice and booked an appointment with RELATE, to go to a session with my partner to see what they can offer me. My partner is also buying me the full treatment kit from vaginismus.com and has kindly offered to also pay for the session with RELATE. I have also booked an appointment with a private psychosexual counsellor for tomorrow which I am going to go to alone, to see if she can offer me more support. I spoke to her on the phone and she did mention she would like to get me started on dilators but she wants to initially have a chat with me first to see what needs to be done.
    She also recommended that I go to my GP and swap the Sertraline for Amitriptyline which, in her experience, is a better drug for vaginismus related issues – I will be doing this when I next see my GP.

    With regards to examination and allowing a professional to do this slowly, even then I do not feel that I am ready for this at the moment because my anxiety is so wild and I mentally just cannot relax. I think if I learnt some good relaxation techniques I maybe could but at this stage, going for another physical examination would just traumatise me more and make me feel I am back to square 1.


    I am very glad to hear that you will be meeting with a sex therapist who is informed about vaginismus and can also help you heal your childhood sexual trauma. We do find that sertraline can help when embarking on your dilation/vaginismus treatment journey, but I would recommend speaking with your physician regarding this.
    Also, perhaps your GYN can refer you to a pelvic floor PT? These physical therapists are trained in working with the pelvic floor and can give you guidance with dilation.
    Finally, I know that you’re in the UK, but we do offer a procedure (botox/dilation under anesthesia) that many women with difficulty beginning dilation find very helpful. There are many women on this forum who have had the procedure done. I suggest you read about it on our website. Even if it’s not an option at the present time, it’s important to know that there ARE options and that vaginismus is treatable.
    take good care


    Hi all

    I’m Caroline and I’m 19, I’m new to the forum.

    I was recently diagnosed with vaginismus after years of not knowing what was wrong with me. Some days are worse than others with pain and tolerance, but I’m sometimes able to use tampons. I sometimes have sex as well but I always regret it because of the pain during and afterwards.

    I’m currently working with a pelvic floor PT and I’m working on a lot physically. In addition I’m also working not pushing myself to have sex and saying “no” when necessary.

    I’m hoping this forum helps me feel less alone. I’ve never even heard of Botox or some of the other methods of treatment mentioned on this forum so I obviously still have a lot to learn.

    I do feel isolated and weird a lot, especially with my age. I also am finding that vaginismus is probably more common than one would think, but frequently not diagnosed or talked about. So I’m here with my diagnosis and to talk about it.

    Looking forward to learning with and supporting all

    Love and light xo


    Hello Caroline! Welcome to the forums! First of all, I’m sorry to hear about your vaginismus diagnosis – I had vaginismus from ages 15 to 25 and I remember very well how tough it was at your age. The late teens and early twenties can bring a lot of emotional and physical demands, especially as more people start having sex after high school, so I think it’s a good thing that you figured out what’s going on and are starting to seek treatment – even just the fact that you’re posting here is an amazing thing!

    If there’s one thing you should know, it’s that you are FAR from alone in terms of suffering from vaginismus. It’s been hard to get a good sense of how much of the general population has suffered from it because there’s so much shame and guilt around admitting it, but even these forums can show you that there have been countless other women who have walked ahead of you on the path you’re on and figured out ways of curing themselves and seeking healing, which I hope is a comfort to you.

    It sounds like you’ve been reading about some of the forms of treatment, which is great. I personally had the botox treatment, which is explained in much detail elsewhere on this site but which primarily involves being put under anesthesia, having your vagina injected with botox to keep the muscles from spasming, waking up with a large dilator inside you, and continuing to dilate after the procedure as you work towards (and in 92% of cases succeed in having!) intercourse. There are a lot of ways people end up treating vaginismus, although dilating of some kind of most successful treatment plans. It’s excellent that you’re seeing a physical therapist; I hope that’s helping a lot.

    I think the most promising thing you said is that you’re working on not pushing yourself to have sex when you don’t want to and saying “no” when necessary. That’s something that’s hard for all kinds of women, even those who don’t suffer from vaginismus, and is an incredibly valuable skill worth learning. Vaginismus is a very emotional experience, and learning to deal with the emotional aspects and build up your self worth again is part of the struggle. I think you are off to a great start, and we’re here to help you reach your goals however we can!

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