Sunday, 29 November 2015

Who Vaginismus?

Since I started this blog, I feel that vaginismus is in the forefront of my thoughts most of the time.

In the morning, I reach for my Iphone, do the usual email, facebook, twitter routine, but now I also check in with the blog.  Sometimes before I even check in with work.  I spend so much time thinking, writing and tweeting about my own vagina- and I love it!

My husband reads the blog, and obviously is involved in my treatment, so we spend a lot of time talking about vaginismus.  But not in the sad, desperate way that we used to.  We laugh about it now, and we talk optimistically about the future.  We have a catalogue of vaginismus related in-jokes, and have learned how to talk about sex and our feelings in a candid, rational way.  Score!

I see my therapist about once a fortnight- and, rather unsurprisingly, vaginismus is our main topic of conversation. I usually go away from appointments with something to think about (or write about), and definitely something to talk to my husband about.


With all this vagina chat running through my head, it can sometimes be difficult to stop myself talking about it in every day conversation.  There have been so many occasions where I have been chatting to friends, or colleagues, and something has come up that has made me think about vaginismus.  And it nearly falls out my mouth, until I quickly remember that I can't say it.  I can't talk about it, because apart from my husband, therapist and blog readers, nobody knows that I have vaginismus.  Not even my parents, sister, best friends.  They have no idea.

I have made the conscious choice to remain anonymous when blogging, and to keep this side of my life a secret from the people that I know.  The reasons were originally simple: This is embarrassing and private and shameful. The end.

However, as I talked to more women with the condition, and talked so normally about it with my husband, the shame and embarrassment has started to subside. It has been replaced by a drive and motivation to get through it, raise awareness and help others in my situation.

But I still remain anonymous.

The reasons for doing so have become more complex.

My husband and I spoke about this earlier.  I feel, now, that one day I would like to not be anonymous. That my photograph will be on this blog.  That my face will appear on my twitter.  And maybe even that my nearest and dearest will know and understand the absolute rollercoaster of vaginismus madness that my husband and I have been through in top secret.  But not yet.  To tell them while it's all still happening just seems too hard. And not because of embarrassment. Because I worry that they might be hurt that I haven't told them before.  That they might be shocked that my husband and I have been going through all of this and deliberately shut them out.  That they will ask too many questions that we don't feel ready to answer.  That they'll gossip about it when we're not there.

So for now, I am anonymous.

That said, one of my goals when I started this blog, was to meet another woman with vaginismus in person.  See here . That has not happened yet, and I would be more than willing to ditch the anonymity in that situation.  So, if you'd like to see my face in person, let me know.
Creeps and weirdos need not apply, but fellow vaginismus sufferers are most welcome!

Say hello!
tweet tweet @heyvaginismus

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Flying Solo

My husband has left home for a few weeks for work, which means I am temporarily living alone.  This isn't unusual, he works away quite a lot, but it's the first time he has gone away since I started vaginismus treatment.  The first time I've been 100% responsible for motivating myself to keep at it and not just fall into my old, bad habits of avoidance.

So far, it's been going rather well.  I have been using the dilators nearly every night, and am powering through with George (D3). He is now going all the way in, and is hardly hurting me at all.  Hooray! Who needs your husband when you have a guy like George, right? (Just kidding, husband... please come back!)

However, I have noticed that with all this dilator time, I am now getting a bit casual about the whole thing.  I am thrilled that I am no longer a bag of jangling nerves every time I get the dilator bag out the drawer.  No longer do I need to go and sit in a quiet room, breathe deeply and think about beautiful sunsets to get through insertions.  In fact, I am now a bit blase about the whole affair.  For example, this evening, I have just sat inserting dilators, one by one, whilst wearing a Christmas jumper, watching Masterchef and eating a chocolate digestive...  I've hit a whole new level of 'not giving a shit about putting things in my vag'.  BIG CHILLED OUT PAT ON THE BACK FOR ME, THANKS!

Now, while this is very, very good, I sometimes need to remind myself that the end goal of this process is SEX.  I am not sure that the husband will be willing to have sex whilst watching cookery shows, and eating biscuits.  I need to start thinking a bit more sexually when I use the dilators.

While my husband is away, I have two options.

One- have an affair.
Two- Start masturbating.

As a product of Catholic school I can tell you that both of those are a fast track pass to hell.

But, as I am unwilling to become a  love-cheat in the name of vaginismus, I think I'm going to have to face up to the latter.

I have never been a masturbator.  You will recall, dear readers, that only a matter of months ago, I was too scared to touch my own genitals.  The idea made me feel sick.  This is not conducive to having productive sexy time with yourself.  I have tried to masturbate before, but always with my underwear on.  I'd guess that's a bit like drinking a cocktail through a sock.  You sort of get the point, and a bit of the good stuff, but most of it is lost in the material.

So, in the absence of my husband, and to save myself from associating inserting things into my vagina with crap reality TV, I am going to make an effort to start having more solo sex.

Wish me luck on my new venture! MASTURBATION AHOY!

Masturbation tips appreciated... as always, do get in touch  x

Monday, 23 November 2015

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby

Last night's date with the dilator was obviously written as a bit of a joke, mainly to counter the rather grim, seriousness of my previous post.  I didn't ACTUALLY take a dilator on a date.  And sorry ladies, his sage advice and suave banter was all just a figment of my imagination.  George is, as you may have suspected, just a big, cold bit of penis-shaped plastic on a stick.

However, last night, after our imagined date, I took George (sorry can't call him anything else now!) through to the bedroom, cracked open a bottle of lubricant and decided to see what happened.

And guess what? After a bit of persevering and deep breaths, George went in.  Completely, fully, totally in.  Sure, it wasn't comfortable, but it was in.  And, like George himself told me on our date, I've been in this position before with all the dilators that came before.  It's difficult, sore, weird, makes you need to pee, and makes you feel like it will never be comfortable the first time you insert the next size up dilator.  But eventually it'll feel fine.

The next size up from George is D4.  The final dilator in the kit.  It is freaking enormous.  I think I'm going to continue hanging out with George for a little while longer before I even consider moving on.  But it's a cool thought... the next size up is the last one.

Then... PENIS.

There is DEFINITELY an end to all of this.  It's not this week, this month, even this year.

But it will end.

And then something new will begin for me and my husband.

But I think George will always have a piece of my heart.

Sorry husband.

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Date with a Dilator

So sometimes when you're not getting along with someone very well, the best thing to do is to talk it out.

Me and Dilator 3 haven't been the best of friends, so perhaps we should crank up the Barry White, light a nice candle, pour some wine and just have a really good chat about things...


Me:     Good evening, D3. Thanks for agreeing to meet up

D3:     No problem.  You look nice. I like your hair

Me:     Oh, you big flirt! And you're looking nice too. I like                 your... handle.

D3:     Thanks. I think grey really suits my colouring.                        Anyway I am glad you asked me here tonight.                          I think you're right. We need to talk

Me:     Yeah.  We need to be a bit more honest with each                     other. And no stupid cliches.  None of that 'it's                         not  you, it's me' crap.

D3:     Right... but to be fair, it is you.

Me:     (sighs)  Do you want some wine?

D3:     Yes. Thanks.

Me:     What should I call you?  D3 sounds a bit formal.

D3:     Whatever you like. I'm a dilator. I don't really have opinions about things like that.

Me:     What about George?

D3:     Sounds good.  Anyway, I think you're avoiding the issue, now. That's not like you, is it?

Me:     Oh ha ha. Very funny.

D3:     Seriously, though.  We need to sort this out. I don't want you to hate me

Me:     I don't hate you! I like you. You just really frustrate me.  I feel like I try and try with you, but              you just don't do what I want you to do.

D3:     I don't think that's fair.  I think we're doing well.  Every time we meet up, we spend a little bit                more time together, and  our dates are getting longer and longer.

Me:     Yes, that's true. But sometimes you really hurt me

D3:     I know. And I'm sorry about that. But when you think about it, every dilator before me has                  hurt you too but you gave them a chance and ended up getting on quite well with them.

Me:     I know. There's just something about you. You're different to the others.

D3:     I'm better looking.

Me:     You look the same, George.  Just bigger.

D3:     Yeah but I look more like a penis. I'm the real deal, baby.

Me:     The last time I looked, the real deal wasn't white and plastic...

D3:     Look, your clearly in denial.  But I know I'm right.  I'm big and phallic and gorgeous, and                    none of the others are anything like me. You're obviously going to need more time to get used            to me. I'm a stallion.

Me:     You're also extremely arrogant.  I hate to admit it though, but what you're saying does make                sense

D3:     Ah! I am also a genius.

Me:     Well, where do we go from here?

D3:     Well, first of all, you need to calm down.  Just chill and enjoy our time together.

Me:     You need to stop hurting me

D3:     Well, I will.  But you need to chill first.  You know that

Me:     (slams fist on table) SHIT! I hate it when my dilators are right!

D3:     (nods, wisely)  We do know what we're doing, you know.

Me:     OK, thanks, George.  Even though you're rude, you've made me feel a bit better.  Have you                finished your wine?

D3:     Yes

Me:     Right, let's go back to mine.  Get your coat, George. You've pulled

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Tampon + Mars Bar = Vaginismus

I have my period this week, which is rubbish for all the usual reasons, but ESPECIALLY rubbish when you're trying to sort your vagina out. No dilators, no fingers, no sexy time with the husband.  It's a very unproductive, inconvenient time. Or is it?

I just decided to attempt a tampon.

I have tried this in the past, starting when I was a teenager, but never had any luck.  When I was at school, there was a story floating around about a girl a few years older who stuck a Mars Bar into her vagina at a sleepover, and then couldn't get it out.  She had to go to hospital and have it surgically removed AND her boyfriend dumped her.  I fully believed this story, although now I have met people from all over the world who also went to school with a girl a few years older who put a Mars Bar in her vagina... so I'm thinking it might have been a rumour.

Alongside the Mars Bar story, I remember reading an article about toxic shock syndrome and how leaving a tampon inside for too long could basically make you die.  I'm a natural worrier (shocking, right?) and convinced myself that a horrible combination of the two stories was going to happen to me. The tampon would get stuck, I would have to go to hospital and then tragically die of toxic shock syndrome. And my boyfriend would probably dump me. Even though I was already dead.  You could say I was an over-thinker.

All joking aside, I now realise my failed tampon attempts where the earliest signs of vaginismus.  Fear of what might happen if the tampon went inside started those involuntary muscle spasms I now know so well.

So I've lived my life only using sanitary towels, which is fine. There have been about 3 occasions in my life where it's been awkward (like being caught out with a surprise bleed and a friend offered a tampon.  Cue me running to the toilet, shoving tampon in the bin and rolling up piles of toilet roll and putting it in my pants as a make-shift towel). The other difficult times have been on holiday, when a period has prevented me from swimming in the pool.  But nothing major.

It would be nice to have a choice though.

So tonight, I attempted a tampon.  And it went in. It felt a bit uncomfortable, and I only left it in for a few minutes before pulling it out and going back to my trusty sanitary towel, but hey. It was in.  I used a tampon tonight, ladies and gentlemen. OK, so I didn't actually leave my bathroom whilst it was inserted but, as always, small steps!

Tell me your tampon tales!
Tampon tweet @heyvaginismus

When It's All Over

If you'd asked me six months ago if I ever saw myself getting over vaginismus, I would probably have said no.  After living with it, and avoiding dealing with it, for my entire adult life, it didn't seem likely that anything would change.

But something did.  Something has.  I don't know how or why, but suddenly I am powering through a treatment programme and seeing some light at the end of the very tight vaginismus tunnel.  I have started working on D3 -it's going about 3/4 of the way in, so nearly there! After that, it's just the big giant D4 to deal with and then, ideally, some real actual sex.

I have become so used to seeing, touching, using and talking about dilators that to picture my life without them is quite strange.  It will be a brilliant day when I finally stop having to use them, but after having been such a big part of my life, it seems a bit sad to throw them in the cupboard, or the bin, never to be seen again.  With much loved clothes and handbags that I no longer use, I always donate them to charity shops, but I'm thinking nobody's going to want my pre-loved kit of vaginal trainers.

My husband and I were talking about this the other night, and began to think of ideas for what to do with them when it's all over. I thought I'd share some of our best ideas, just to make you smile if you're having a particularly rubbish day (vaginismus or otherwise).

If you don't have vaginismus, this is what dilators look like...


  1. Punch holes in them, thread them onto a ribbon and create a piece of 'statement jewellery'
  2. Stick googly eyes and little wigs on them and create a Vaginismus  Awareness Raising Puppet Show
  3. Fill your hollow dilators with yummy fruit juice then stick the handle on. Stick in the freezer overnight and enjoy a lovely ice lolly on a hot summers day
  4. Fill D4 with lentils, then stick the handle on the end.  Give to first born child to use as a rattle
  5. Put D4 (with handle attached) under your pillow and use as a weapon to scare away burglars/ murderers/ ghosts
  6. Stick wings on D4 and put it on top of the Christmas tree, to remind you to have plenty of festive sex
  7. GOLD-PLATE THE DAMN THINGS and put them in a glass cabinet as reminders of how bloody well you've done to no longer require dilators in your life.  If anyone asks what they are, just tell them they're trophies for being the champion of your own life. FIST PUMP!

Any other suggestions? Send them my way!
twitter @heyvaginismus

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sex Education with Jesus and the Nuns

A classic reason for women winding up with vaginismus, is a lack of proper sex education.  I have written a little bit about this in previous posts but thought I would spend some time reminiscing about the laughably poor excuse for sex education that I experienced.

I attended a Catholic school and was brought up in a very religious family.  We went to church every Sunday, and I prayed every night before bed. For my First Holy Communion, I received gifts of rosary beads and religious pictures to hang in my bedroom.  I was pretty gutted when I went into school on the Monday after that special day, to find that most of my friends had been given Nike Air Max trainers and Take That albums.

The first I ever heard of sex was from a really cool girl in my class at primary school. I was probably about 8.  She told me the basic facts and then strutted off before I could ask any questions, no doubt to break the bad news to some other poor soul that they would one day have to participate in this disgusting behaviour.  My best friends and I were obviously fascinated by it all, and used to sneak 'Growing Up'  books out of the library when our mums weren't watching. We would hide in our rooms and look at the pictures of pubic hair and breasts, with a mix of fascination, disgust and hilarity.  The fact that we had to hide this new interest from our parents tells you all you need to know about how little sex was discussed in our families. In short, it wasn't.

At secondary school, it happened.  The rumours were rife.  Sex education was coming.  OH. MY. GOD.

We received our sex education at age 14, as part of religious education classes.  Actuals.  I remember it vividly, and it was hideous.

Picture the scene.  A video with a very 80s looking man with a big beard, in a green cuddly wool jumper, sits in an armchair.  He explains to us that when we grow up we can have sex, but only if we're married and in love.  He then tells us that we need to be like Jesus.  Jesus was a real man, and a loving man.
Clearly he would only have had sex if he were in a loving, committed relationship, and not preoccupied with being the son of God, and getting crucified and all that.

So that was useful.

Then, a few weeks later, the nuns came.  They came with a slideshow.  The slideshow was a selection of images of 'front bottoms' with a range of horrifying sexually transmitted diseases.  Weeping sores and crusty bits. The lot.  THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU HAVE SEX, BOYS AND GIRLS.  The biggest insult of this class was that it happened right before lunch.

Very useful, indeed.

So we knew not to have sex before marriage, because Jesus would never have done that. And we knew what would happen if we did have sex before marriage, and we could see that it would be sore.

But we didn't ACTUALLY know how to have sex.  They didn't tell us the mechanics of it.  Presumably when you're in love, and married, you just know what to do and it all just falls in to place.

Obviously, most of my friends hooked up with others from school, and they just tried it out and experimented until it worked. Unfortunately, my first boyfriend was as devoutly, terrifyingly Catholic as I was, and we didn't do any experimenting beyond some innocent snogging and rolling around my bed with our clothes on, under the watchful eye of Christ our Lord who hung above my bed wearing his 'judgey face'.

By the time I was ready to experiment, I had missed that crucially important time when it was OK to fail. When it was OK not to know what I was doing. When it was OK not to really know where my vagina was.  Instead, I was drowning in a world of sexual maturity and knowledge, and felt too embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  So I put a brave face on, and made men feel bad for expecting that I would have sex with them, instead of just telling the truth.

Now, I am thirty, and finally going through sex education properly. I am educating myself, and my husband and I are experimenting, like a couple of teenagers.  Which is fun.  But ultimately wrong.

I no longer have any affiliation with the Catholic Church. I gave that all up the minute I moved to university, age 18, and started meeting people with different ideas about the world.  But it hurts me that I'm still suffering because of teachings that I no longer even believe in. I am not sure what Catholic schools teach young people nowadays about sex. I hope (and maybe even pray) that they have progressed and developed since my school days, and girls are having the opportunity to learn in a way that sets them up to understand their own bodies. I hope that they are being encouraged to have a positive attitude towards sex and ideally hope that they do not turn out like me.  Unfortunately, though, I think this might not quite be the case.

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More lube chat...

Hello again ladies and gents.

Over on Twitter, I have been talking about lube with someone who knows their shit about the subject.

Here's an excellent resource to make sure you pick a lube that's safe and not full of nastiness!

Click Here!

If you're a tweeter, you can find me here

Slimy Messy Sticky Fun

The 'inserting vaginal dilator' stage of treatment is not the most glamourous.  Very, very necessary but a mess of blood, sweat, tears and lubricant.

It is always advised to use a good lube when inserting things into an anxious vagina- to make the whole process more slippery and simple.  The more lube, the easier the insertion.  What they don't tell you about lube, is that there is literally millions of brands, styles and flavours (YES FLAVOURS) to choose from.  So how do you know which lube is right for you? How can you tell which one is going to assist you in shoving a giant plastic willy inside yourself on a Sunday afternoon?  

The lube rules are: there are no rules.  But there is experience. And here is mine.  Watch out. This gets messy. (And sticky. And yucky. And in your hair).  

When I first started inserting my now very dear friends the dilators, I had an unopened bottle of lube gathering dust in the bathroom.  I was gifted it one night by a drag queen in a nightclub, after participating in a quiz.  True story.  It was a Durex one, so quite a nice, upmarket variety.  It worked well, and certainly made those first few insertions a little bit more comfortable.

When that ran out, I then found another bottle, stashed away in the bedroom.  It was strawberry scented and flavoured. My husband had bought it for us to play around with it, and it smelled like a sweet shop.  I wasn't sure if this would be sensory overload, when adding it to the mix of dilators and anxiety, but decided to give it a go, as the other stuff had ran out and I couldn't be bothered going to the shops.

This was NOT good.  When using dilators, a high volume of lube is required, to convince your poor vag that no pain is coming.  The strawberry lube was sticky.  Not smooth, and calming and lovely. But sticky. When I use dilators, I like to do something else at the same time to normalise the situation. Usually I read a magazine (sex tips in Cosmo or whatever), or text my friends. The sticky lube made this pretty much the worst thing ever.  Magazine ink was transferred onto my hands, and my phone screen was caked in the stuff, to the point where I had to scrub it with baby wipes (which then stuck to my hands) ARGH. It was all a little like a comedy sketch where someone gets superglue on their hands, except this sketch involved an overpowering strawberry scent and me with a no underwear on.

I think it's fair to say that this particular lube was not built for vaginismus treatment. BIN.

I then graduated on to Boot's own brand of lube jelly (?) which came packaged like a toothpaste tube.  I have to be honest and say the reason for choosing it was that it was £3.99 and, at the rate I am going through lubricants, I need to scale back on costs before I bankrupt myself.  Surprisingly, this stuff was quite good.  Still a goddam freaking mess, but less sticky.  Hooray.  I would recommend this as a good, solid choice.  But don't try to use your iphone with this weird jelly lube on your hands.  SLIMY DISASTER AWAITS YOU.

Finally, in my world tour of vaginal lubes, today I purchased a new bottle of Boots own brand called Silky.  I have to say, I was drawn in by the name- it sounds quite sexy and exotic... right? 

But anyway, I have just used it and it was good, clean and not sticky.  Hooray. I was able to read a book, text someone and check email, all while sitting with a well lubricated dilator inside me.  Nothing bled, nothing hurt.  It was, as the bottle promised, silky.

If you have any favourite lubricant brands, let me know! Hit me up! I like the silk, but I am definitely not 100% ready to commit. 

Also, maybe I need to get out more??
twitter @heyvaginismus 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Let's Get Physical!

Please don't hate me, but I've always been one of those people who can eat whatever the hell they want, do no exercise and remain a slim, size 10 (US size 6).  If you do hate me a little bit, just remember I have vaginismus.  I deserve some good body vibes.

At high school, I despised gym class, and hid up at the back with my equally unfit friends, gossiping and pretending to have illnesses that prevented us from taking part.  During the 'swimming term', I had my period for 10 weeks, and then severe anemia.  See what I did there?  I'm pretty sure my gym teacher had heard it all before, but the lies worked and instead of exercising, I got to sit in a little room and copy passages from anatomy textbooks. Much more civilised, I think you'll agree.

Anyway, as I got a bit older, I noticed I was starting to make little complaining noises when I got off the couch. It also worried me that I was in my twenties and couldn't touch my toes.  My posture was awful, and I couldn't run for a bus.  Yes, I rocked a pair of skinny jeans, but, dear god, I was unfit.

Having not taken part in any physical activity for over 10 years (with the exception of drunk dancing in sweaty nightclubs), I was very intimidated at the idea of starting. The gym was out of the question, and going out running in the street was way too deadly embarrassing.  In the end, I convinced a friend to sign up for a beginners yoga course.  Start small, I thought. Build up some strength and flexibility, and maybe even touch my toes.  That's a start, right?  The first yoga class was nowhere near as awful as expected.  I was surprised to find I actually quite liked it.  My friend gave up after a couple of weeks, but I was hooked, and so began my (now very deep) love for yoga.

Since taking up yoga, I have noticed amazing changes in my body.  I am stronger.  I am more flexible. I sit up straight ALL THE TIME.  And yes I can touch my toes.  I was so impressed with my own body, and amazed at how quickly it adapted and changed, that this has now spurred me on to join a gym.  I have only just joined, but have had the confidence to go into scary exercise classes on my own, lift weights, run in front of people... and, again, I have been amazed how quickly things progress.  My arms can lift things that I never believed they could.  My legs can run for longer and longer periods of time, with each gym visit.  My core can just about hold it's shit together and keep me in plank for more than 10 seconds. Every time I exercise, I see a difference.

Now what, in the name of Jane Fonda, does this have to do with vaginismus, I hear you ask? Well, if you haven't already sussed this, vaginismus treatment (specifically dilators) are EXACTLY THE SAME as exercising.

Before I ever attempted to insert one, I was terrified, embarrassed and ashamed with my body's lack of flexibility.  Just like before I went to my first yoga class.  However, after trying it and seeing it isn't that bad, I persevered and, of course, it got easier.

And, just like with yoga and the gym, I have been amazed yet again by my body.  My vagina, which previously went into meltdown if I so much as thought about putting my finger near it, can now relax enough to accommodate three sizes of dilators (D0-D2) and about 1/3 of D3. (Yep.  That happened today! Woop woop!)

I now realise that, back in the younger days, when I abused my body with bad food, too much booze and no exercise, it was never going to able to work in sync with my brain and overcome vaginismus. Since I started treating my body a bit better, it's started being a bit better to me too.  It's working with my brain now, and suddenly we're seeing results.  Long may it continue to amaze me!

tweet tweet tweeeeet @heyvaginismus

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Lets Hear It For The Boy

Now, I am not ever claiming to be an expert on treating vaginismus, and all of the experiences in this blog are personal to me. Every woman is different.  BUT, there are a few key things that I would guess are vital to every woman's success in overcoming vaginismus.

Bravery.  Acceptance.  Strength.  Determination.  Motivation.

Reads a little bit like an advert for the gym, but it's that 'never give up' attitude that will pull you through.

The other thing, that I feel is crucial in all of this, is a supportive partner.  Not every woman with vaginismus is in a relationship of course, but if you are, you're going to need your other half to be with you all the way.  Encouraging you, but never pushing you.  Cheering on your successes, but helping you to move on from the difficult bits.  Really excited about having sex with you, but not putting any pressure on your to hurry up and get your shit together.  I am very lucky to have a husband like this, and thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to him, and our vaginismus journey!

My husband and I met nine years ago, when I was 21, and he was 24.  It was the usual story- met through work, friends for a little while, drunken snog in a nightclub, lots of texting and MSN messages, more drunken snogging, then eventually fully confirmed boyfriend and girlfriend, who hold hands in the street and have arguments about what to have for dinner.

I decided to tell him about vaginismus fairly quickly.  When we met, I was just about to start my first round of psychosexual therapy, and innocently thought the problem would all be over in a few weeks. So might as well tell my new boyfriend that this is happening but it's OK. I'm fixing it.  Even so, I was still nervous, and not really sure what his response would be.

I can't remember the exact words that I used, but I think it was all very matter of fact. I told him he could think about it, and let me know whether he still wanted us to be together.  The conversation was left hanging, and I went home. By the time I had got back to my flat, I had a text message from him, saying it was fine.

Unfortunately, my first attempt at psychosexual therapy wasn't very successful.  I was in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, and our sex life was great (sans penetration of course). Vaginismus treatment is highly un-sexy, and I felt spending so much time talking about what was wrong with me, and attempting to use dilators, was actually spoiling all the fun I was having with my new boyfriend.  Eventually, it all fizzled out, but I promised my boyfriend that I would try therapy again, when I was in a better place to deal with it all.

Not long after this, my boyfriend and I moved in together, and our relationship continued to grow and develop.  We loved one another, and saw a future together.  Unfortunately, though, vaginismus was always hanging over our heads, and we became very good at just avoiding talking or thinking about it.  We discussed it now and again, usually if wine was involved, but the conversations were sad and stressful, and usually ended with one or both of us in tears.  So we stopped talking about it.  And along with that, stopped having any kind of sex.

When we decided to get married, I realised that I had to face up to this properly and really work hard to get better. My husband has his part to play in this too, but there were so many issues that were just mine.  So, in the year I got married and turned thirty, I started seeing my current therapist.  I started off completely focussing on my own goals, like being able to look at and touch myself.  But now, some way into treatment, my husband is starting to take a bigger role, and we're trying to get our sex life back on track. Penetrative sex isn't on our radar yet, but relaxing and having fun with one another is the name of the game.  Because sex is fun.  Or, at least, it should be.  And it was.  In our darkest moments, we always stop and remind ourselves how incredible our sex life was when we first got together, when we didn't give vaginismus a second thought. If we could do it then, we can do it now.

With vaginismus, it's very easy to forget about the other person in the relationship.  The woman who is suffering goes through all the physical pain, but my husband has gone through a whole load of emotional pain that I will never be able to fully understand.  The fact that he hasn't given up amazes me, reassures me and motivates me to keep on going.

Because I'm doing it for both of us.

We're doing it for both of us.

What. A. Guy. x
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