Sh! marks Vaginismus Awareness Day by giveing out dilator sets, donated to women on limited income, through our Pay it Forward scheme. To raise awareness about the impact of this condition, Sh! is gathering real-life stories to publish on the vaginismusawareness.com blog. The story below has been shared with us and the author has given us permission to share it with you.
So far I have been to the obgyn about 4 times in one year. It was after I tried having penetration with a partner of mine and a finger hurt. Anything bigger simply would not fit. The first time I went I was examined and swabbed for possible infections. It hurt even more and I actually fainted not too long after. They thought it was caused by a yeast infection at first and when it cleared they swabbed again, same pain. This continued for two more visits.
I had watched a show called "Sex Education" with my partner before my visit. It was what gave me the idea of Vaginismus. Before I just thought it was normal. Especially since I had never tried tampons out of fear and am a virgin who can only base "normal" sexual pain off descriptions from friends. I didn't know if my pain was different. When I went to my first visit I proposed the idea to my OBGYN but she insisted to check for infections first, which made sense until the continuous painful swabs kept coming for highly rare sexual diseases.
After these tests I was referred to a pelvic floor therapist. However, I got social pressure from family, friends, and my partner at the time that had a misconception of the therapy. They told me it was weird and "not right" to go to therapy for my vagina. It made me feel weird for considering the option. I didn't really know what it meant either and was too afraid and embarrassed to ask while my OBGYN didn't really explain what it was. So I didn't take the help and it began affecting me emotionally and mentally.
I am someone who wants kids later in life. I began feeling like I would forever be like this and that I will never be able to have my own kids. No one would ever want me. I would become easily discouraged by the thought of having to do extra work just to have the same abilities others without this problem have. It felt disabilitating and I began wondering what was the point. I have greater anxiety when engaging in sexual acts even alone.
I think it's also difficult to get help because there is a lot of confusion and psychological understanding to be made with the condition. I still haven't figured out what caused my condition. I have thought that it could just be first time anxieties. However, and I could be wrong since it was a long time ago but I thought I would add this incase it could be significant, I have recently been told when I was a baby I bled abnormally from that area. When I was taken to the doctor they penetrated me with some sort of device, obviously without consent since I was just a baby, and reassured my mother it was nothing. I don't have any memory of the event, however, I wonder if unconsciously it affects my condition.
I have since read more on the condition to ease my anxiety and essentially had to teach myself what Vaginismus was. With COVID I haven't been able to properly contact my OBGYN and get a new pelvic floor therapist. I feel like if there were more awareness this process would have been easier. I overall have a lot of anxiety surrounding the issue and I think it makes it worse when I have to explain my condition to future partners and get rejected or a lack of support for my condition due to misunderstanding.