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March 11, 2020 at 3:24 pm #27016mroberts307Participant
Welcome to the forum! I too was terrified of dilators at first. I ordered a set and they say unused for over 6 months. Occasionally I would open up the box and look at them, freak out, and put them away. I saw multiple gynecologists, was never able to endure an internal exam, and meanwhile my relationship with my husband was suffering. I finally went to pelvic floor PT and this was a game changer for me. If there is someone in your area that specializes in this, I would definitely go in and see them. For me it is almost like a combination of physical therapy and talk therapy. My PT is phenomenal- I went in on day one with NO intention of taking my clothes off. I didn’t know what to expect but I was not getting into that gown, no how no way. I just wanted to find out what she thought she could do to help me. In 30 minutes she made me feel so comfortable and NORMAL that when she asked if she could try just doing an external exam, I felt like that was something I could handle. She did a test to see if I could endure light touch to the vaginal lips, and when that went okay she suggested we try just setting the tip of the dilator there to get used to the idea. She put just a very light amount of pressure on the dilator, showed me where my tight muscles were causing problems, and talked me through some breathing exercises. After a few minutes I said “it feels like it kind of went in a little bit!” She chuckled and a second later I said “Wait, did it go in a bit?” She was just smiling and then I said “How far did it go??” and she said “Oh it’s all the way in there!” I started BAWLING- in 1 hour this woman had broken past a wall I had not been able to get past in 29 years. And I had NO pain. A tiny bit of discomfort but nothing un-managable. Granted, this dilator was tiny- thinner and shorter than a middle finger, but ti was SOMETHING. I will be honest, without her I probably would have never done this on my own. We’ve made more progress since then and even though we are currently a bit stuck with progress, I am still so grateful for finding her and taking that step. If this is at all a possibility for you to see a pelvic PT, I would highly recommend it. We’ve been able to narrow my issue down to the muscles at the vaginal entrance and a high sensitivity level of the vulva lips, and knowing this has completely changed how we work. You can do this! You’ve got a whole forum of women here rooting for you. And one tip- when you try the dilators for the first time– use a LOT of lube, trust me 🙂March 12, 2020 at 9:43 am #27018Sam786Participant
It has been a while since i posted on this. The last time i posted on this was in May 2019 when i was absolutely in despair and had lost complete hope of ever getting over my vaginismus.
Today, in March 2020, i can say that i am not completely over the psychology of my vaginismus but i have had successful, painless, vaginal-penetrative sex 3 times since being able to start having penetrative sex with my husband at the end of Feb 2020 and i am elated.
I have been with my husband for almost 5 and a half years and we have been married for just over 7 months. I think it is really important to note that we got married at a stage where my vaginismus was still present, i could get nothing in and we both knew that it could be a reality for us to have a sex-less marriage… but he still married me. So to any woman in a relationship having struggles or having anxiety about relationships, there are many many people out there who will love you no matter what your sexual capability and even make a lifelong commitment to you, despite the issue.
Now, to how i overcame my vaginismus:
It took me YEARS. 3+ years to get to where i am today. 3 years of emotions, stress, depression, self-hate, distress. It has been a rollercoaster.
Long story short, most of my progress happened over a period of 4 months, starting December 2019, but getting to that point was slow and very emotionally painful. Even when i was making progress, it was still very stressful and emotional and there were a lot of tears and pure frustration.
I have been having psychosexual therapy for just over a year now, maybe. The therapy is a huge reason why i am where i am. I have also been on anti-anxiety medication (sertraline) for almost 2 years now.
The combined therapy and medication has helped me but it was in no way quick or easy and was still a huge struggle and also very expensive for me as i paid privately for all my therapy as i could not get it on the NHS.
The main turning point was a visit to the doctor. I had recently moved and signed up to a new surgery. I was constantly angry about my vaginismus and my husband kept encouraging me to go to the doctor to seek out more treatment options. Me and my therapist had spoken about dilators to which i outright said no, i cant do it and it is never going to happen because i hate the idea of it.
Anyway, back to the doctors appointment. I was dreading it. Having to speak about it all again. But i sucked it up and went. I ended up breaking down and almost begging for something. The doctor eventually prescribed me 5mg diazepam tablets to take as and when, i.e before attempting penetration.
At this point i already had dilators just sitting at home and i was adamant not to use them because the medicalisation of penetration made me feel awful about myself.
So i took some diazepam, made a nice environment for me and my husband and when he got home we tried to have sex. Of course, this was never going to work. You cant go from 0 to 100.
Eventually he persuaded me to use the smallest dilator. Lots of lube and a lot of bravery later, plus the diazepam helping me relax my muscles, (i also bought some xylocaine spray and sprayed it externally to numb the external area), i managed to just get the tip of the dilator in.
I was esctatic. I sobbed. I cried so much and i just couldnt believe it.
This gave me a lot more confidence and over the next few days i managed to get all of the smallest one in. It was super emotionally draining. Dilating is. Dilating is very mentally exhausting. Challenging your mindset on that level is extremely tiring.
Over the next week or so, i soared up to number 3.
And then i hit a brick wall.
Number 4 dilator was a no go. I couldnt for the life of me get it in. I was so angry. I hated my body again for failing me. I would be in absolute fits of rage, which made my husband distance himself from me during dilating because he hated it causing arguments. Eventually we had a chat about it and i agreed to try and appreciate the progress and not focus on the negatives but inside i was still annoyed at not being able to get number 4 in.
I spoke to my therapist about it and this information was so vital for my dilating. He asked me if i am turned on when i am trying to insert number 4. I said no, i work up to number 3 and then try to put number 4 in. He told me to stop doing that. He said that i am teaching my body and my vagina to forcibly accept something inside it when i am not mentally or physically aroused which can become a dangerous and damaging habit. He also reminded me that no female would be able to stick something that big inside of them without being aroused and it would cause pain for them too, no matter how much sex they had had.
He explained that the vagina opens up and lengthens with arousal and therefore i needed to make my dilating sessions, my temporary sex.
From then on, i was encouraged to look at dilating as sex and not as dilating in order to get past the plateu i had hit. My therapist advised it is doable with the smaller dilators but as you get bigger and longer, arousal is a necessity.
Despite taking all the advice on, i still couldnt manage number 4. In the end my husband bought me a dildo in the size between dilator 3 and dilator 4. This made it a lot sexier, as it was a sex toy rather than a piece of plastic. I spent some time using this to dilate my vagina. Around this point i used to do a lot more dilating on my own as i felt more comfortable and could go at my own pace. I could get the dildo in, but even when i was feeling aroused, i struggled with the length. My therapist insisted that length insertion would come with time so i started to not focus on it and instead focused on width.
I still struggled with number 4 and 5. I never did manage to actually complete the dilators set before i started having sex.
The road to sex started with my fingers. Although i had been dilating for some time, the idea of finger insertion still made me feel a bit cringe and it was something i struggled with. Then, one night, my husband encouraged me and said to give my fingers a try. I was super scared even though my finger is close in size to the smallest dilator. I braved it and did it and it was another barrier that i had overcome. I enjoyed using fingers but having done so much of the vaginal insertion myself i now needed to start building that trusting relationship with my husband again, whereby i could feel comfortable to give him the control when it came to vaginal insertion.
Again, this started with fingers. I would initially feel super scared and nervous. His fingers are bigger and longer than mine (he is 6’2 and i am 5’2 so his hands are a lot bigger). I would start by using my hands to insert just the tip of his fingers and then i would let him do the rest. It took a couple times to get used to it but actually it helped in getting us to sex as it was just us and felt more intimate, no toys, no dilators, just my husband and me and his fingers. I could only let him use one finger inside me. Oddly enough, even now having had sex, i do prefer just the one but i havent let myself worry too much about that.
Now, onto the actual sex. I enjoyed being fingered by my husband so we did this as foreplay in order to get me fully aroused and increase the chances of inserting his penis. Once i was fully turned on, we both lubed up further and we tried insertion. It was painful mainly because i was quite nervous and was tensing a lot. My husband helped me to relax by taking it very slow. The first time, we managed to get half his penis in. No thrusting. None of us finished. I was just letting myself get used to the idea of having a grown man adult penis inside me. After about 10 minutes i was mentally drained and we stopped. That was our first time.
It wasn’t like a movie. It wasn’t hardcore. It was still tough and it took many positions to get comfortable but we had successful penetration!
The next time we had sex, it was very hit and miss. It took a lot of time to find a comfortable position, i was still nervous and scared and it still hurt a little as i was tense, and i wouldn’t say i overly enjoyed it but i didn’t hate it either. That time we did get full insertion of his penis but it was very slow and everything was calculated. Anything that overly hurt me, we didn’t do… so, for example, thrusting quite far in and out was not something i could tolerate because it made me tense so i told my husband to move in and out ever so slightly without pulling out too much. If it persistently hurt, at any point, we decided we would stop.
I started to get more comfortable with the idea of sex and was starting to relax more about the idea. The last few times we have had sex, it still takes time. We found a comfortable position for insertion when there is pain caused from being tense. This involves my husband being on top with his chest at the same height as mine, him resting on his hands with his arms straightened, my legs up and then inserting almost down towards the spine (best way i can describe it, sorry).
From the back is also quite comfortable for me personally as it allows me to use my vibrator comfortably at the same time and that relaxes me even more.
As i said, it is still slow. We aren’t having wild sex or anything crazy like that. I still struggle with thrusting, so we always start slow and once i am more comfortable i tell my husband whether he can go in and out further. Sometimes i still get anxious which causes pain. Sometimes we struggle to get his penis properly in the first few tries.
It is an ongoing process but for all the women on here, it is possible.
I never ever ever ever thought that i would be here writing about having vaginal penetrative sex with my husband. There were days, weeks and months where i lost hope. I didn’t want to live. I told my husband to leave me and be with somebody else because i didn’t feel worthy of being loved by him.
I hated my body. I hated my vagina.
This has been a long, gruelling process. Vaginismus is not easy to get over. I still struggle. Every journey is also so different so there is no right way which makes it even more frustrating.
But i promise, you will get there and even if you don’t… love your body. Your body is worthy of love and affection. YOU are worthy. And i hope from the bottom of my heart that wherever you are in your journey, whilst reading this, that you can fully heal one day. I really do.
Vaginismus ruined me and now vaginismus is also the reason why i feel so liberated, having started to overcome it.
Love to you all. It does get better and you are so, so strong.March 12, 2020 at 2:37 pm #27029
In case you missed it, please check out our very own Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus’ Live Facebook chat from last night! She answered bunches of questions about vaginismus, and we hope you find it helpful: https://www.facebook.com/drbatsheva/videos/139847767383875/March 22, 2020 at 4:05 pm #27089recessivegenequeenParticipant
Mroberts307 and Sam786, you should both be extremely proud of your progress! Taking the first steps is by far the hardest part, and I think what’s notable about both of your stories is that the help of a professional helped to unlock new growth and trust. With something like vaginismus, we can want to have pain-free sex so badly, but wanting it isn’t always enough when what we need is sometimes someone with expertise to help us take that next step forward.
Both of you have also shown the importance of taking the process one step at at a time and keeping going despite the setbacks. It’s very normal for the road to a new sex life to be long and winding, and to involve steps back along a longer journey moving forward. YOu should be so proud of yourselves! Please continue to keep us updated with your progress and your victories!April 26, 2020 at 9:24 am #28192Sks823Participant
plantmama2000 and cattydoll,
I went through the same feelings that you two (and recessivegenequeen in the past) are going through. I felt absolutely hopeless my first session or two when I went to Maze Women’s Health and was so incredibly fearful of the dilators and treatment; I was even prescribed a small amount of Xanax to take before each following appointment. Maze also offered the help of a therapist whom I also ended up seeing on my own (outside of Maze).
Sessions at Maze with dilators got increasingly easier and I eventually “graduated” and overcame my vaginismus. It IS possible, it just sometimes takes sooo much effort and optimism – no giving up! If something (like your PT sessions) doesn’t seem to help, try something else.
cattydoll – “Don’t lose hope, we’re all in this together <3” that kind of optimism and drive is what helped me get through the treatment! I think attempting vaginal valium / botox is a good idea if it’s what your doc recommended :)!
And remember there are other tools to help with the emotional issues such as therapy, meditation, medication, etc.! But small steps, like reading the success stories on this forum, are a great idea to help you learn more and understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming vaginismus but it is incredibly treatable and you WILL recover 🙂April 27, 2020 at 9:12 am #28290sunnywilson09Participant
Nice to know there are other people out there having the same problem I thought I was aloneApril 27, 2020 at 10:26 am #28335Jackie Giannelli, FNP-BCModerator
Sunnywilson09 – you are most certainly not alone! Vaginismus is an incredibly common condition, and it is very treatable! Please don’t hesitate to share your concerns here on this forum. It is a place to learn, heal and grow. The nurse practitioners and therapists are also happy to address your personal questions, if you have any! Feel free to reach out, anytime.
All the best,
JackieApril 30, 2020 at 9:36 am #28459May 4, 2020 at 12:47 am #28675GrahamParticipant
Hi everybody! I just found by case this forum and subscribed as I (male) face a problem with Vaginismus (most likely). I’m in my 3. marriage, have 4 kids and I’m 59. My wife is 42 and has no kids. We are now 2 years married and sexual intercourse was all this time not possible as the seems to be completely closed. Penetration is impossible. I’m Caucasian and my wife is Asian. I tried to motivate my wife to go to a gynecologist but she refused. A frustrating situation. As I could read, this forum handles exactly such problems and I hope to get some advise. Thank you!
GrahamMay 4, 2020 at 10:45 pm #28838anonymous09Participant
hey guys 🙂 it is so nice to see everyone coming together and being so open about this topic.
i am super young and don’t know if i should be here but it feels like i have no one to talk to and i really need some help.
So i am 14 and a virgin (i think) . I have never had a problem with getting a tampon in and have been using them since i was 12. A few months ago i tried to have sex and wasn’t entirely sure if i wanted to or not but we ended up trying. This may be a bit too detailed but it went less than half way in until i got the feeling like a literal sword was down there and it was really painful.I don’t think that my hymen is broken so i don’t even know if i have lost my virginity but i know that it really hurt. I’ve known for people to say that loosing your virginity hurts but i don’t think that it should hurt as much as it did. I read somewhere that sometimes when you aren’t ready to loose your virginity you vagina tenses without you knowing but i don’t know if there is really something wrong down there or if i just wasnt ready???
*also, i have never put anything up there except a tampon so i’m not sure if it was just shocking or me just not being used to it.
i am open to any advice:)May 5, 2020 at 3:52 pm #28885
Hi anonymous09 – welcome to the Forum and thanks so much for sharing your story with us. All of this can be very confusing for sure!
I’m so sorry that you experienced painful intercourse. It is difficult to tell you exactly why (and you wisely named a few possibilities). While it’s true that sometimes first intercourse can be uncomfortable, you should not have to tolerate the painful sensations you described.
If this continues to be a problem, I recommend you seek medical advice from your pediatrician, a midwife or obstetrician. Planned Parenthood is a terrific resource: if you search the main website, you can look for a location near you: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-care
Please let us know if you need any other resources, and take good care!July 2, 2020 at 6:02 am #31246NatalieK3Participant
Hi all! I am new here, and I didn’t expect that a lot of people have the same issue like mine. Have a nice day!September 1, 2020 at 10:06 am #33273
Hello and welcome to all of our new members! You’ve joined an amazing community of support, education and encouragement.
Wanted to put pelvic floor physical therapy in the spotlight today. A lot of our patients find it to be very helpful. They are often surprised to learn just how many muscles are connected to others, and why proper alignment and flexibility of your abs, hip flexers, etc. are critical to overall pelvic floor health.
Have any of you seen a PFTP, and if so, what was your experience? We’d love to hear about it.November 10, 2020 at 9:25 pm #35811Jane91Participant
Hello. I was so glad to come across this page. I have felt like I have been alone in this journey of vaginismus.
I became a Christian when I was a teenager. I was taught that sex was a good thing but only within a marriage relationship. I decided to be abstinent until I got married. Flash forward to a few years ago on my wedding night – sex was not possible for us. My mind was saying yes but my body was saying no, and this was very confusing for me. That part of my wedding night was certainly not what we had envisioned.
After some research, speaking with my doctor, and seeing a gynaecologist I was diagnosed with vaginismus. This provided some insight into how my body was reacting but at the same time this diagnosis was crippling. I felt so much shame and hurt. These questions always went through my head: How is this going to impact my marriage? What is it going to take for us to have penetrative sex? Why is sex so easy for others? Am I going to be able to conceive? Why me?
My husband and I have been married for over 2 years now and still not been able to have PIV sex. I am thankful to have such a supportive and patient husband through this process. Within the first year of our marriage we accessed some online counselling. This counsellor recommended some books for us to work through: Restoring the Pleasure (Penner & Penner) and Becoming Orgasmic (Heiman & LoPiccolo) which I found to be helpful if we remained diligent in the suggestions/tips. This counselling didn’t last long as we didn’t have insurance coverage at the time and couldn’t afford to continue our sessions. I also participated in pelvic floor physiotherapy. My PT was amazing and non-judgemental. She recommended various stretches and techniques to help me relax my pelvic floor. Again, this therapy was discontinued as we didn’t have the coverage. During this time I started using vaginal dilators as well (I used a silicone dilator kit with 5 different sizes). When I first started I was so anxious to use the first one, but I made gradual process to the next sizes. My PT recommended that I use these dilators at least 4 times a week for about 20-30 minutes.
After using the dilators for almost 2 years I can happily say that I am between size 4-5! I have to admit that I gave up on the dilators several times and didn’t use them for periods of time. I gave up on them because I was experiencing frustrating with my progress. In addition, the time I spent using the dilators was not enjoyable so I dreaded that time that I needed to use them. Lately I’ve been using them about twice a week, although I know I should be doing it more often.
During the beginning of this journey for me I would have many nights a week where I would just cry, questioning “why me?” and “when am I finally going to be able to have sex?” I’m at a point now where I’ve accepted my vaginismus and know that it can be treated. I truly believe that I would have made further progress by now if I had a support network around me that I can talk to. I’ve only told a few close friends about my vaginismus but it is not something I think they feel comfortable speaking about with me. I now have insurance coverage so I am looking into going back to see my pelvic floor PT and to access psychosexual therapy.
I believe one of the main causes of my vaginismus is that in my intimate relationships prior to marriage I constantly told myself “no” to sexual pleasure, but then when the wedding night came along I needed to tell myself “yes”. It was really hard to make this sudden switch. Although I still believe sex is intended for marriage, I believe faith communities can handle this message in a more positive way.
I hope through this forum I can learn more about people’s journey with vaginismus, tips for treatment, and overall peer support. I think it would be helpful to hear from people who are a part, or used to be a part, of a faith community and their suggestions on how children/youth can be raised in a way that sees sex in a positive light and will hopefully prevent some woman from having vaginismus in the future.
Thank you for reading my story.January 3, 2021 at 2:18 pm #37877AmandaParticipant
Hi there, my name is Amanda and I am new to this forum. I just turned 28 years old and was diagnosed with vaginismus by my family md almost 1 year ago. I began my journey by first seeing a gynaecologist and it was a very embarrassing appointment as she could not even insert a q-tip. I then was referred to a pelvic floor therapist, first session went very well and from there I was introduced to dilators. I began using them February of 2020 and since then have progressed to dilator 4/5. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in a year but I am still struggling with actually having any sort of penetrative sex. I have tried multiple times and I have a partner that has been super supportive which helps… I feel like at this point I have almost given up and it feels like no matter what I do or how much I try I will never be able to have sex. I am feeling very discouraged and have no idea what to do next….
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