So, here we go. I first noticed this problem when in my previous long-term relationship when I was 19. I’d done ‘other stuff’ with him since we got together but I’d waited to do p-i-v. We were on holiday and I’d had some wine so felt relaxed and was basically living my best life really! So when I realised that not only was attempting sex ridiculously painful, it was actually impossible. I remember crying for hours after thinking that there was something wrong with me as everyone else’s account of their first time was just that it hurt a bit or was a bit uncomfortable, nothing more. He never pressured me into trying again and I never got help; partly because the one time I went to the gp they didn’t really take it seriously and partly because I was terrified that it was incurable. At the time, I was going to a very evangelical church that always preached about pre-marital sex being a sin. Rather than asking God myself and trusting how I really felt, I sought answers from people in the church. A woman who I came to for advice basically told me (even though my boyfriend at the time was a Christian - side note!) that any sexual pleasure with him was a sin and she even made me read a purity prayer... This whole experience clearly doesn’t coincide with how I really feel and my beliefs so it caused me a lot of trauma. I believe that I’m past this pattern of thinking now but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s what caused my Vaginismus as I don’t have any other reason, though I know there doesn’t always need to be a reason.
I’ve been with my current boyfriend for just over two years now and we live together. He’s honestly the love of my life & he’s so supportive and understanding.
We have an amazing sex life without p-i-v but as my therapist said it would definitely be nice to ‘have it on the menu’ - I love that way of thinking! It took over a year to get therapy because of COVID-19 but I was glad to finally have it. I’ve hit a wall recently (metaphorically and physically), I think because I made so much progress so quickly that it’s disheartening to still have some pain with the larger dilators and upon initial insertion. It’s hard for me to understand that it’s a journey rather than a quick fix because I struggle with black-and-white thinking and I’m also really impatient! I became unmotivated to practice dilating and I kept putting it off… I’m not really sure why but I think that the worry of it ‘not working’ is often still in the back of my head.
Vaginismus is a battle, right? I sometimes forget how much I’ve been through with it as issues with penetration are all I’ve ever known. I get really emotional when I think about how many women/AFAB individuals struggle alone with this and how we were never educated on it. It seems that only those who suffer even know it’s a real diagnosis. I really would love to raise more awareness of this to the public but it’s obviously impossible to without them knowing that it’s something my partner and I have had to deal with. It’s a really personal thing and there’s still so much stigma around it e.g. p-i-v being classed as ‘actual sex’ and all other types being ‘foreplay’. I guess that it’s hard to release the societal expectations of sex from your mind. That being said, I’m definitely open to telling people my story one day just so that others out there can realise that they’re not broken or any less of a person because they can’t have p-i-v. I was told by my therapist that 1 in 7 women/AFAB suffer with this😥 I think it’s totally unacceptable that we aren’t taught about it in school. It also saddens me that many people continue to feel alone with it as they don’t feel like they can open up to anyone as they feel like no one can relate.
From experience, I have found that, actually, many of us feel this pain. It is vital that we start talking about this pain.