Vaginismus is something that a lot of people don’t seem to have heard of, which is surprising when you realise that it’s something a lot of women struggle with.
It normally rears its ugly head after a traumatic incident: giving birth, a bad experience with the smear or after some form of bad sexual experience.
It can also be a product of a strict and/or religious upbringing where you are repeatedly told that sex is bad and that it is a “sin”, so you see it in a negative light.
Vaginismus is the bodies automatic reaction to the thought of something going into your vagina.
This isn’t just sexual either, it happens when you try to use a tampon or mensural cup too and can make going for your smear test a difficult and painful experience.
There’s a more in-depth explanation on the NHS Choice website, complete with how to get a diagnosis and all the professional treatment options available which I’d encourage you to check out.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was brought up in a pretty strict religion.
Combine that with a not-so-great first sexual relationship and I’ve ended up with a really negative view of sex.
Up until meeting Chris, I’d never been able to have sex without pain, or at least some discomfort.
I’d made sure to tell him about my “problem” when we first started dating and he was really supportive and understanding about the whole thing.
He said he didn’t care as he loved me and if we couldn’t have sex then so be it; he’d rather go without than cause me pain.
Which is ridiculously sweet, especially after the problems I had with my ex!
Turns out we didn’t need to worry as the first time we slept together there was absolutely no pain.
I’d been single for two years before meeting him, and I’d used that time to try and deal with some of the underlying causes of my vaginismus, as well as become more sex and body confident.
But even with the progress, I knew I had made, I’d been so worried that my vaginismus would be a problem and could
Since then I’ve been able to have sex without pain, although it’s started to become a problem again since I had to go back on the pill injection.
Luckily I’ve learnt some tricks to help myself relax when this happens (seriously can’t recommend investing in good vibrator enough, as it’s been such a help!) and Chris is so supportive with it.
Everything is always at my speed.
I know that he would stop the second he saw I was in the slightest bit of pain, and if I said I can’t go through with full sex he wouldn’t make me feel guilty, he’d simply ask if I wanted to do anything else or just stop and cuddle.
Okay, so disclaimer time; obviously I’m not a medical professional and everything I write here is from my own personal experiences with Vaginismus.
If this is something you think you may have yourself, please go speak to either a doctor or drop in at a sexual health clinic.
Don’t push yourself
It might be tempting to think you can cope with the pain and just get on with it, especially if you’re in a relationship with someone you love; but this will do more harm than good.
Your brain will begin to associate sex with pain, tensing up in expectation of the pain and refuse to relax, no matter how much you might actually want sex.
This will make things ten times worse than they already were, meaning you’ll have an even longer road to recovery.
Instead, take your time and build up to it with lots of foreplay.
If your partner is a decent human being they’ll not want to cause you pain and also want you to enjoy it too, so make sure you talk about it!
I know it can be embarrassing but it will really help in the long run if they understand as much about the condition as possible.
Do It Yourself
Crude I know, but I thought to call it “Masturbate!” would be even worse.
Anyway, you can get items called dilators which are insertable items of varying thickness.
The smallest is a little thicker than your finger and the largest is, in all honesty, a lot thicker than the average guy- that one got thrown straight in the bin!
These combined with a vibrator and lube were a big help to me.
Because I was completely in control I could take it slow and stop when I feel
You’re advised to work your way through the sizes; start at the smallest and when you feel completely comfortable with that, move on to the next size up.
After a while, you’ll notice your body no longer tenses up as much, and eventually, it should hopefully stop doing it completely!
If you’re in a relationship, they recommend you not having sex with your partner at all while doing this as it kind of defeats the objective of using them.
Let’s face it; there’s plenty of other things you can do together and it will be worth it in the long run.
Talk to a friend or family member
This one took me so long to do but once I had, I felt so much better.
Keeping it locked away like it’s some kind of “dirty little secret” only reinforces the mentality that this is something bad.
I know I personally thought I was just weird and I didn’t even know it had a name until years later.
Thinking this made the whole experience even worse.
To know that vaginismus is actually quite common and you aren’t the only one can help so much.
It can also help with the next point which is to…
Come to terms with what caused it
This was definitely the hardest part for me, but once I accepted what had gone on and choose to not let it affect my life anymore (which was easier said than done) I noticed a change.
It was like a weight had been lifted and I found it easier to think about it all.
I’m naturally stubborn and managed to use this to my advantage; I refused to let it beat me.
Do you struggle with Vaginismus yourself? Have you found anything that’s helped you?