Anyway... I had mentioned to her that I would really, really like to meet another woman with vaginismus. To have the opportunity to sit down and have a real life, face to face conversation with a woman who is going through the same, bizarre shit that I am, would really make things a bit simpler. It's a well known fact that a problem shared is a problem halved. But this particular problem is a bit... well... niche. I am not convinced that sharing it with one of sexually active friends, who think I lost my virginity a million years ago, is really going to give me what I'm looking for. They'd be supportive, sure. But they would ask question after question, and probably still come away from the conversation totally baffled. The problem needs to be shared with someone who also has the problem. Or used to have the problem and has now beat it. Whatever. But that is what I am looking for. Someone who knows how the shame and embarrassment feels. Someone who has gone through the highs and lows of dilators. Someone who understands the sadness of not being able to have sex with your partner. And also someone who can knowingly laugh with me about it. Because sometimes it's funny. That part is super important too.
So my therapist had been thinking this over, and has now started canvassing all the many women she treats who have vaginismus. Apparently there are loads of them. Plenty of fish in the sea, and all that. Sadly she wont give me their phone numbers.
She has been asking if they would be interested in group therapy. She said, as far as she is aware, group therapy has never been used as a method to treat vaginismus. It's all 1-1, or couples therapy. But there's never an opportunity for women with the same condition to meet up, hang out and support each other. She believes this is because of the shame and embarrassment that we all know so well (as well as other important ethical considerations, such as women going through the treatment programme at different rates). But ultimately, she is interested, and looking into the possibility of trying this out. I asked her what the response had been and she told me that nobody had said no.
I am desperately keen to talk to someone else with vaginismus. Not via an internet forum, twitter or a email. But in person. Two women together, sitting having a coffee or a cocktail, not even necessarily spending the entire time talking about vaginismus. But just being safe in the knowledge that this person ACTUALLY KNOWS HOW IT FEELS. They're going through it too, and they get it, and it's rubbish but they're here and it's going to be fine...
Doesn't seem too much to ask, does it? If I had any other condition, there would be a group for me. But not with this one. Let's change that please!
ARE YOU WITH ME? Follow me on twitter @heyvaginismus or email me email@example.com
I sure wish I could meet with you! Almost everything you say in your blog, I am feeling as well. I totally get how you want to share, but you feel too vulnerable right now. I also hope that one day I'll be able to talk openly about it and help others who may not know that there is something they can do about their fear of sex.ReplyDelete
Ah I would love to meet with you! I think it's brilliant that this blog is connecting up women with vaginismus but I still havent managed to find someone near to me that I can meet for that all important face to face chat...ReplyDelete
I really want to find ways to help other women beyond just writing the blog, but we're all so spread out and anonymous that it's hard to know where to start. Hopefully one day though vaginismus will no longer be this big embarrassing thing, and women will talk much more openly about having the condition. Fingers crossed! xx
I'm a different Anonymous as the last commenter, but I couldn't resist saying something.ReplyDelete
I am relating to this blog so much, except I kind of envy your ability to NOT tell people. Dealing with vulvodynia (which is my diagnosis. It's very similar!) has been such an overwhelming emotional burden in my life that I can't seem to stop telling my girlfriends. It's like I just open my mouth and start oversharing about my genitals. I told one of my oldest friends the other night, and I'm still drafting an apology email because I told her the same night she told me she's pregnant! Bahhh.
But, I've realized one of the reasons I keep blabbering on about it is that I'm secretly waiting for the answer "Me too!" or "My sister has that!" or "I've heard of this!" I never get that answer. But reading your blog, and finding the subreddit, has been like my mini support group.
I live in Canada, and my pelvic floor physiotherapist recommended a program for me that treats women with vaginismus and related conditions with group therapy, group therapy for their partners, couples sex therapy where applicable and physiotherapy. It's not in the city I live in, so I couldn't attend as it would require me to take a huge leave from work...but it's pretty cool that it exists!
Thanks so much for your message! I know exactly how you feel- I would LOVE to have someone tell me that they have vaginismus too, or that they know something about the condition. I think it's good that you can talk to your friends about it though! I don't think you should apologise either, this is a really hard thing to go through and really hard to open up to people about. I'm sure your friend understands that. I don't know why I haven't told my friends- they're all really cool, understanding women, but something is stopping me from talking to them about this...ReplyDelete
Group therapy sounds so amazing- I think it's so important to talk to other people going through it, but there just doesnt seem to be any opportunities either where I live to do that (Im in the UK).
It would be great to chat more- drop me an email if you;d rather chat privately! firstname.lastname@example.org