7 things I learned from vaginismus
Been through it, survived, and got out of it. This is what I’ve learned.
It’s not your fault, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
A fellow-sufferer who shared her journey with the world once said: “I used to be ashamed of my inability to have sex, but then I told my loved ones about the problem because I felt like I needed their support. Had I been diagnosed with cancer, the whole society would stand by me to help, or at least be considerate with me. None of the diseases or functional dysfunctions are your fault, and you only have the best chance to be healthy (again) if your loved ones are there to help, and you are ready to ask for their support”. Indeed she was right!
Each case is different and unique, the reasons behind vaginismus are never obvious.
I’ve never been a shy girl, neither have I grown up in a religious family, and lucky I’ve never experienced sexual abuse. I’ve never had a vaginal injury, nor have I denied my instincts and urges. Never had a negative self-image, or any other physical problems – such as vulvodynia, chronic pelvic plain, vaginal dryness. These problems might all lead to vaginismus, but it is not always the cause of the problem. In my case, it might have had to do with a wrong technique of masturbation, perhaps closing the pelvic floor muscles too tightly before and during orgasm. Even though traumas need to be dealt with, the most important thing is to be able to move on.
Most experts have no clue about the phenomenon even these days.
In the early 2000’s, most gynecologists had zero information about vaginismus. I’ve seen five doctors, could write a book about their reactions:
- take it easy, keep calm, I’m not going to hurt you;
- don’t worry, just have a bottle of wine before sex;
- are you sure it’s not just in your head? you should go for a therapy
- there’re some cool breathing techniques, and there is yoga and pilates!
- oh, I’ve never even heard of such a thing, it’s weird.
You shouldn’t feel bad about these reactions. You are not an alien, and there is help for your problem.
Vaginismus can be healed, and with various methods.
There is a set of professional dildos anyone can order online. These tools have been specially designed for this purpose. The smallest one is tinier than a tampon, and the largest is like a seventeen-centimeter long penis. Those who are brave enough might even get started with this so-called vaginismus kit, but luckily nowadays there are trained gynecologists specialized in the treatment of vaginismus. They are essentially using the so-called step-by-step method, which means that you start from a one-finger-two-finger dilation and gradually move up to a nearly twenty centimeter-long set. I personally went through a treatment of ten occasions with my doctor who had 25 years of experience in the field. The above-mentioned additional methods – such as breathing exercises, yoga, pilates or even psychotherapy – are definitely useful, but based on the experience of my doctor and hundreds of fellow sufferers, there is no healing without physiotherapy. Obviously, you are only considered to be fully healed if you had a real-life success: namely a proper intercourse without any troubles. Don’t worry, it will happen. I barely remember now that I did have issues with sex.
It’s not your problem that is a punishment, but you are punishing yourself.
If we made a list of the occasions I sobbed at the end of the bed repeating “I’m so sorry, I also wanted it very much”, we would get crazy numbers. Later I distanced myself from this cycle of physical and emotional pain, and built an armor to protect myself, and never let anybody get close to me. It was a natural way of protecting who and what I was. Of course, I do know now that it was restricting view of myself that sentenced me to loneliness, and had I have a different perspective, guys would have been more accepting of my problem. There are several fellow-sufferers who live in happy relationships, marriages, so it’s up to you how you deal with the problem, and whether you are able to accept yourself the way you are.
You don’t have to suffer for years. There is a way out.
It shouldn’t scare you that I have suffered relatively long. A big part of the struggle was spent in ignorance, and the rest was about repression. If you are reading this post now, you know what your problem is which is a great step ahead, moreover there are several doctors who plenty of have experience in this area. If you are willing to be patient and work hard, you can get over with it in a couple of months. In 95 percent of the cases, vaginismus can be healed. The remaining 5 percent is about cases with other, complex physical issues besides vaginismus, and usually get lazy with physiotherapy. Don’t worry, you are not going to be one of them: I used to believed I was a severe case too, and now I’m fully healed.
I did not suffer in vain, I got a lot out of this experience.
I’ve learned a lot: not only did I embark on an incredibly deep journey of self-knowledge, but also learned a lot about the ways other people work. It took a while to let go of the past and start a new life as a person who knows that everything is possible, and as a woman who accepts and loves herself the way she is. Without any burdens, freely.