Saturday, 24 December 2016

WE WISH YOU A VAGINISMUS!!! (just kidding... we really dont!)

I'm currently sitting in my old bedroom at my mum's house- home for the holidays and all that. The place where it all began... My first failed tampon attempt, the first time I looked at my genitals in a hand mirror and nearly vomited, the place where I began to suspect that things might not be quite right, the place that NEVER saw any sneaky teenage sex... There's something quite odd about being here, and knowing that it was no ordinary teenage bedroom. There's still a crucifix and a picture of the good old Virgin Mary stashed away in a drawer. I guess my mum's keeping them in the hopes that I one day change my mind, and find my faith again... Sorry mum... Unlikely.

I have been Grade A Shite at writing the blog over the last few weeks. Nothing is wrong- just been busy with all that the festive season brings.  Christmas shopping, nights out, nights in and (sing it with me) driving home for Christmas, has left me with not very much time to think about my vagina. But I am taking a little minute to think about it now. And all of you.

I know that not everyone reading this blog will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. But I will be, and I wanted to say that Christmas is a time for family and friends and being with the people you care about.  And, you, lovely readers, are my little vaginismus family.  I have told you things that I have not shared with my mum, sister, best friends.  You have supported me and encouraged me in ways that have made me feel so grateful. I hope that I have provided the same for you. We are united by something awful and difficult, but through this we have found one another.  For those of you that I speak to through email, I now know your stories, and I root for you and hope for your success in the same way that I root for my best friends when they are going through hard times.  When I receive an email from you, I get the same excitement and joy that I feel when I hear from a close friend or relative.

You are my sisters.
Vaginismus sisters.

So, whether you are celebrating Christmas or not, I want to say a big thank you and send lots of joy and love to everyone that reads this blog.  I hope that 2017 is our year, the year we overcome, the year we say goodbye to vaginismus.  But it might not be. And that is OK.  Because we have each other.

Christmas can be a time for being over sentimental, and that ain't my style so I'll sign off here before I start going all Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars on you.

Merry Christmas, Vaginisters!


Saturday, 10 December 2016


OK, excuse the title of this. Spent ages trying to combine the words Vaginismus and History and this is the best I could do.

SO! A history lesson this morning.  Yesterday, I found myself deep in the heart of the internet. You know those days? You google 'how to change a tire' and suddenly find yourself reading about the world's most poisonous eel or whatever.  Thanks Wikipedia, for wasting 6 hours of my life but also for enlightening me.

Anyway, yesterday, I can't remember my original google search but I found myself watching a little film about Queen Elizabeth the first of England.  Now, my British history is really, really bad but I do know a little bit about Elizabeth.  She was the one who ordered Mary Queen of Scots to have her head chopped off, and as a Scot myself, I studied that particular story to death in school.  Elizabeth was clearly the villain.  That is what I knew of her. She was a total cow.  Oh, and I also knew that she allegedly died a virgin. Elizabeth the first is affectionately remembered as 'The Virgin Queen'.  

Now, there's lot's of discussion and rumour about whether she was or was not a virgin, and if so why she had remained unmarried and child-free (Sound familiar ladies?? Poor Elizabeth! Leave her alone!)  After reading about it for a little while and getting mighty suspicious, I googled 'Queen Elizabeth 1 vaginismus'.  And, lo and behold, I found an article which said this:  

Elizabeth may have also had a devastating secret, suggesting that she had less choice in the matter. The playwright Ben Jonson talked about the queen having “a membrane on her which made her incapable of man.” This could mean she had an abnormally thick hymen, or that she was debilitated by vaginismus, which makes the vaginal muscles tight, rendering the sufferer unable to have normal sex.

The full article is here by the way, in case you like Royal mysteries:

Now, I haven't dug around enough to know how the playwright Ben Johnson ACTUALLY knew this, but it does sound a little bit familiar to me...  My vaginismus radar is glowing...

And poor Elizabeth was a prime candidate for vaginismus.  Her father was everyone's favourite chauvinist Henry V111, the guy who married six different women and beheaded the ones who couldn't provide him with sons. Her mother died when she was two years old, and she she spent her life observing her father mistreating his consequent wives.   She was not provided with a healthy view of women, relationships and sex.  

Could Queen Elizabeth 1 be our vaginismus poster girl?

Obviously we'll never know.  But it is interesting.  And interesting to think how many other women throughout history have suffered a condition in silence.  I often look at famous people and wonder... Could she have it?  Would a 'celebrity' ever speak out about having this condition?  

We can speculate, and wonder, and dream of a day when we don't have to speculate and wonder. But. for now, let's raise a goblet of ale to Elizabeth, our potential vaginismus sister, and our Virgin Queen.  

talk to The Virgin Blogger: 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Hey Vag Says Relax!

I just had a nice, successful session of using dilators.  No pain, no fear- very good!

I was thinking about what the different factors are that can lead to a good dilating session.  Because, let's be honest, we've all had ones where we feel like absolute winners, and others that have ended in tears, frustration and hopelessness.

The key word is always 'relax'.  If you are relaxed, you'll probably be able to insert a dilator, right? We've read it on websites and been told it by our therapists.  It's not really rocket science.  Since vaginismus thrives on tension, it's obvious nemesis is relaxation.

But HOW does one relax to the point of being able to insert a dilator? And is there more to it than simple 'relaxing'.  If it that was that simple, we'd all be off having sex.

I am NOT A MEDICAL EXPERT. I have a theatre degree, for goodness sake.  But I have been dealing with vaginismus for a very long time so here's my thoughts on that mysterious 'relaxation' that we all need to find... Or at the very least, the best and worst times to attempt dilating...

WHEN NOT TO DILATE (in my non-medical professional opinion)


Mood has a massive effect on my ability to insert a dilator. We all have good days, and bad days.  That's normal.  But if you're having a bad one, chances are you'll not be relaxed.  So I wouldn't suggest trying to insert a dilator if you're in a foul mood.  If you've had a terrible day at work, a fight with your partner, had to stand with your face in a strangers armpit on the train home, got caught in the rain... PUT THE DILATOR DOWN. Go and open a box of chocolates and watch some trash TV.  Your bad mood will only cause stress and frustration, which is NOT conducive to good dilating.


While vaginismus forums and blogs are a really great thing (biased? moi?), they can also have their drawbacks.  The plus side is an instant  network of women in the same boat, and access to advice, support and sharing of stories.  The downside is a bit of unhealthy comparison.  That women you spoke to the other day who had never inserted a dilator is now up to the biggest one.  Meanwhile yours havent been out the drawer for a month?  That feeling.  Not healthy.  Use forums, read blogs (especially mine!), but dont use other women's success as a benchmark.  We are all different in this crazy struggle, and will tackle it at different paces.  If you go into a dilating session determined to catch up with VaginismusGirl300 from the forum, you'll work at a pace that isn't right for you. And you'll probably hurt yourself. So calm down.  This is your journey.


Picture the scene: You're train is running late, you get home from work and have 45 minutes to throw dinner down your face, get changed, and get back out the door again for a social event that you kinda forgot you were supposed to be going to until you got a reminder text message on the journey home.  But oh no, you haven't used your dilators in a few days. And now you feel super guilty. Sound familiar?  Well, here's a massive piece of advice.  Only got 3 minutes to spare, in amongst a sea of other shit that needs done?  Leave the dilators in the drawer.  Nobody's judging.  Let's face it, nobody will even know.  Stressed out dilating= bad dilating. There will be another day to do it.


It's an all too common story that women with vaginismus are often treated by ill-informed doctors who suggest 'a glass of wine to relax'.  This really annoys me (but will save that rant for another day!).  However, it could be said that a nice glass of wine at the end of the day does help you relax.  Now, I REALLY LOVE a big yummy glass of wine.  But have never, ever used dilators after drinking alcohol.  This wasn't a massively conscious decision, but I think I have a bit of a fear that I would associate alcohol with relaxing, therefore could only insert dilators, and later on only have sex, if I'd been drinking.  I don't think that's healthy.  But that's just my opinion... If it works for you, then cheers!

WHEN TO DILATE (in my very non-medical professional opinion)


The best mood for dilating is when you're feeling really damn good about yourself!  I think a good time to do it is after exercising, because you're usually on a bit of a buzz after moving your body.  My movement of choice is yoga, or dancing, but whatever works for you.  I do think yoga is a total winner though.  I'm quite often amazed by my body during a yoga class.  Things that seem physically, fucking impossible are suddenly a reality with a bit of hard work and commitment (now doesn't this sound a bit familiar...!)  But also, try dilating after a successful day at work, or after a nice day out with friends, or even on a day off when you are doing NOTHING.  If you're feeling happy and good and in love with yourself and the world, get out that dilator!


While I said earlier it's not good to compare yourself to others, it can be quite good to compare yourself to yourself.  Remind yourself how far you've come.  Be kind to yourself. If you move up a dilator then CONGRATULATE YOURSELF GIRL! If you are stuck on the same dilator for a while, acknowledge that this makes you feel rubbish, but also remind yourself that there was once a time when you couldn't insert anything. Be proud. And buy yourself a treat.  A new lipstick, or some bubble bath or a pizza. You deserve it, you total champion.


If you get into a dilating routine, you'll probably find a time that works for you.  So whether it's first thing in the morning, or before bed, or after lunch... it's your time. Stick to it, but don't beat yourself up if something comes up in your precious timeslot.  Life happens.  Don't be a slave to a dilator.


As I said, this doesn't work for me. But it might for you. However, what might be nice if you're in a relationship, would be to go for a few drinks (not loads, you need to be functional for the next bit), and then go home and try some stuff out.  Maybe inserting a finger, or a vibrator... But, the alcohol isn't the key here. It's about going out on a nice date, spending time together whilst wearing nice clothes, and then coming home and having sex.  SOUNDS GOOD.

So that, my friends, is my thoughts on the matter of when you should and should not dilate (I realise nobody asked me, but thought it nice to see tips written by a woman with actual vaginismus). Would love to hear your thoughts on this! Anything you disagree with, or any other dos and donts?