Monday, 18 December 2017

Top Tips for Surviving Vaginismus at Christmas


1. Those awkward questions…

Ah Christmas- that magical time of year when you get to see all the relatives, friends of the families and aunties who aren't really your aunties.  People that you basically never see and don't really know, but people who feel it appropriate after a sniff of sherry to ask you the most hideously personal questions without batting an eyelid.  
‘So no boyfriend yet?  Oh dear.'
‘You’ve been married for ages now: are you not thinking of having a baby?’
‘You’ll want to get a move on before your eggs dry up…’

 All very good points, fake aunties, thank you for your insight.  

I have found the best way to navigate this minefield of shite is to get in there first.  Before they get to the questions, drop a hint about your contraceptive pill, or how you killed a plant due to your irresponsibility and inability to keep things alive.  It wont make them happy, THEY WANT YOU TO HAVE A BABY NOW, OK? But it will at least shut them up for a while if they think you’re not interested.  

If this fails though, I think it would be acceptable to throw a drink on them.

2. Dilating in someone else's house

It’s Christmas, so there’s a high chance you're sleeping in your parents house.  Or worse, your partner's parents' house.  As much as you want to keep up the dilating you’ve been putting lots of effort in to, there’s just something a bit wrong about doing it in the bedroom you (or your partner) grew up in… 

Also, you and your siblings have of course reverted back to being teenagers, so if you excuse yourself and go upstairs for half an hour, this will not be OK.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY ARE YOU GOING TO YOUR ROOM? ARE YOU IN A BAD MOOD? YOU’RE SO WEIRD! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING IN THE MIDDLE OF 'LOVE ACTUALLY'? HOW DARE YOU NOT WANT TO SPEND EVERY WAKING MINUTE IN THE COMPANY OF YOUR LOVING FAMILY!

Yep. Dilators are staying in the suitcase.

I have no advice for this, except don't beat yourself up about it.  And if you do manage to do a little festive dilating, well done! Send me your tips for escaping the smothering, all consuming love of your family.

3. Setbacks

If you haven’t been regularly dilating, you might notice you have some set backs.  That big old dilator that was sliding in with ease last week is now stabbing you in the vag like a hard, plastic dagger.  You have to go back a step.  Things are more difficult.  

Maybe you haven’t had time to see your therapist either; it’s a busy time, with a diary full of events.  It’s hard to find time to make appointments and stick to them.

It this happens, don't panic.  It’s natural that things will go backwards if you don't stick to treatment, but it’s a temporary blip.  You’ll get back to where you were once life goes back to normal.  Don't panic, stress or feel bad about yourself! You are not alone!!

4. Awkward sex chat

In the run up to Christmas, there are many situations where you will be surrounded by people pickled in alcohol. If, like me, you’re a sucker for a glass of wine or 5, you may find yourself in a super awkward chat about good old sex.  Whether it’s a reunion with old school friends that you haven't seen for years, or the dreaded office party full of very drunk people that you don't really know, there’s a high chance that sex will end up the topic of conversation. Because that’s something we all have in common, right?  hmm… right.

My favourite ways of dealing with these moments involve massive avoidance tactics. Old school friends reminiscing about losing their virginities is your cue to go the bar and get more drinks. Hopefully the chat has moved on by the time you get back.  Work mates absolutely steamboats and talking about the weirdest thing they've ever done in bed is your golden opportunity to go the bathroom for a very, very long pee.  

Whilst I don't advocate avoidance with your actual friends, when it comes to crap chat with people you barely know, just run for the hills.  Better than spinning an out of control lie, or sinking so deep into your chair that you’re nearly swallowed by the cushions.  

But tell your real friends the truth. They’ll be cool about it. I promise.

5. New Year's Resolutions

Christmas is over, it’s time to think about how much bloody better you’ll be next year.  And more often than not, that involves thinking about how bloody shit you are right now.  I have often made it my new year's resolution to get over vaginismus. It’s always been the thing I dislike most about myself, so let's use January as a reason to sort it out. YEAH!!! 

Except, NO. This is a terrible idea.  Firstly, vaginismus isn’t a filthy habit like smoking or not washing your hair regularly.  This isn’t something that can be ‘fixed’, just because the year has changed.  Since I got a  better handle on vaginismus, and learned to accept that overcoming it involves much more work than just ‘wanting it to go away now, please’, I have learned that you have to be kind to yourself.  And new year's resolutions are not about kindness.  They are about picking out your flaws and telling everyone around the dinner table about how much you are going to sort them (spoiler alert: you probably won’t). 

So by all means, overcome vaginismus in 2018. (I mean, please do if you can! I hope I will!) But don't pressure yourself.  If it happens it happens. And if it doesn’t, it’ll happen a different year.  You’ve got this.

Merry Christmas!xxx

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Introducing... The Vaginismus Network

So, after being cryptic and secretive about some big plans in my last few posts, I am very excited and delighted to announce that myself and my friend Lisa, that I met through this blog, have made a thing!

Please check out the website and join us at The Vaginismus Network:

The Vaginismus Network has been created to give people living with vaginismus a way to find one another, connect, chat, laugh, meet and make friends.  That was my main motivation when I started writing on Hey Vaginismus- I wanted to meet someone with the same condition as me and have a chat about it. I am pleased to say I have now met 3 women with vaginismus in real life, and talked to somewhere around 100 via email and twitter.  Yesterday, myself and 2 other women with vaginismus stood in a busy London street and had a chat about dilators.  And it felt totally normal.  Honest.  Can you imagine? I never thought this would happen for me, and now that it has, I want everyone with vaginismus to have the same experience.  You deserve to.

Since meeting Lisa, only in May this year, my outlook and how I feel about vaginismus has changed (as I always knew it would!).  Hopefully, through The Vaginismus Network, we can create even more connections and friendships and support one another through treatment, dilating and beyond...

So please have a look at the website and join the network. It's easy to do- just get in touch with your contact email and location.  That's it.
It's also still a work in progress so we welcome any ideas, suggestions or feedback. We want to get this right. That's very important.

We're hoping to have our first meet up in the new year.  Aiming to have a room full of vaginismus- with no shame, and lots of fun and laughter.

I am really excited and proud of what Lisa and I have created, and so hopeful that it will make a real difference- I really hope you like it xx

Friday, 2 June 2017

Vagina Revolution!

I have been continuing my quest to keep talking about vaginismus.  It's amazing how easy it becomes after the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth conversation.  It's become normal.  I just talk and talk and talk and PEOPLE LISTEN. People care.  Nobody is shocked or horrified or laughs in my face.  Mostly people feel the injustice of thousands of women living in secrecy and shame, with a condition that hurts every bit of them, and want to do something to help.  It's about so much more than 'painful sex'.  We know that. Now others are starting to learn this too.

I had a wonderful weekend earlier this month, where I met up with a friend that I have made through this blog.  It felt a little bit like a first date. We had been chatting online and texting for months, but had never met.  But luckily, when you only have 24 hours and a massive beast like vaginismus in common, there's not much time for awkward chit-chat. Within minutes we were talking about vaginas, lubricant, therapy, dilators... The conversation was so easy and comfortable (to the point that we realised a man sitting alone at the next table could clearly hear every word!).  But we didn't care.  It didn't matter. The shame is much less when you're sitting with someone who's going through it too.  And to anyone sitting far enough way that they couldn't hear about our favourite type of lube, we just looked like two normal women, out having a glass of wine and a chat and a giggle.  Because that's what we are. And by the end of the night, we weren't even talking about vaginismus any more. If you must know, we spent a lot of time looking at Madonna's instagram.  Because there's more to all of us than vaginismus.  Like intense interest in pop stars.

My friend and I met with the intention of DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SHIT.  Not curing each other. We're realistic.  But we have both felt the massive benefits of meeting one another and sharing stories with someone who gets it.  We want other women to have this opportunity.  We want women to easily access information about vaginismus, that is honest and true.  None of the medical-speak.  Vaginismus isn't that black and white. We are all living it differently.

So we're working on it, ladies.  Believe me, we are working hard!  This new focus has seen a bit of blog neglect recently, and I'm sorry about that. I will try to do better. But, hopefully, what I am now trying to create will be even better than this. It will connect you with other women and give you the support that you need, whenever you need it. It will normalise vaginismus and take away the awful shame that we feel.  It will give us the voice that we so deserve.

Enough of this silence.  Enough now.

If you think you can help or want to get involved in our vagina revolution, please drop me an email! Let's make lemonade out of the big, sour vaginismus lemon. We are mainly looking for a bit of help with branding and thinking of a name and helping us articulate what we want to do.  The best idea I had was something about beef curtains... Marketing ain't my bag, baby.

Look forward to hearing from you soon!!! :-)

Monday, 27 March 2017


So after my last post, where I mentioned that I had been talking more about vaginismus to everyone that I know, I knew there was something I REALLY had to do.

I have, as I am sure I have mentioned, a tight-knit squad of incredible woman friends.  We tell each other everything. Except I have known them for a million years, and never told them about vaginismus.  This one seemed a bit more difficult.  Not from an embarrassment point of view.  But more because I worried that they might be hurt, or sad, that I had not felt able to talk to them about this before.  It is such a huge part of my life, yet my best friends in the world literally knew nothing of it.

I decided it was time to fix that.

So, I told them.

I started gently, explaining that I had a 'painful sex condition' and had started blogging about it.  Then I told them about all the incredible women I had spoken to, met with, shared stories with.  And how I have only just started to be able to accept this as part of my life.  And how I wish I could have spoken to them about it before now.  But I couldn't.  But I want to change that for other women. All of it.

I'm sure you can guess how the next bit went...

They were surprised, but ultimately so supportive. When I told them about the blog and all my plans to develop it, they told me they were proud of me.  Then they immediately took it back because they know I hate that kind of sentimental crap.

But really, it made me happy.  The truth is out.  They now know why I run to the bar, toilet, hills whenever they talk about sex.  They now understand why I don't stock tampons in my bathroom.  They now KNOW ME.  And after 15 years of friendship or whatever, I think it's about time.

So, who's next?

I feel like I am just constantly walking around talking about my vagina.  But it's all been positive. I have never once felt stupid, or embarrassment or wished I hadn't said anything.

Vaginismus is still intact and still ruling the roost in my vag.  But slowly, slowly I'm defeating it.  The less I care about it, the less it can hurt me, right?

Here's hoping...

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Owning Vaginismus


As I mentioned very briefly in my last post, I have been busy busy, working alongside a fellow vaginismus lady to throw together a bunch of ideas and work on some top secret vaginismus business...  Although, it's probably not hard to guess what we're talking about.  You all know the problems women with vaginismus face, and the obstacles that we have to navigate. You all know the shame, the embarrassment, the loneliness... Well, jump on board our revolution train! Enough is enough!

Lately, I feel that my mentality and feelings towards vaginismus have totally shifted.  I no longer feel shame.  I no longer feel like burying my head in the sand.  Instead, I feel like shouting about it from rooftops, and reaching out to even more people with the condition, or people who just don't understand the condition.

I am no longer forcing myself to go into a room and sit through a painful dilating session.  If I feel like it, I'll do it.  But I'm not feeling guilty for not doing it. Because it's my body. My vagina.

One of the shifts I have felt is an OWNERSHIP of this condition, and of my own body.  For so long I have been doing what I have felt I should do (eg. what books, internet, doctors, therapists, other people on internet forums have suggested that I do.)  But, I'm now listening to my own body and brain, and doing what feels right.  Because, contrary to popular belief (ie. the internet), there is not a one size fits all approach to dealing with vaginismus.  You can't force yourself through dilators.  You can't force yourself to be ready to face up to it.  You have to do it in your own time. Or not at all.  It's your body, your life.  Own it.

I have also accepted that I might never get over vaginismus.  I would like to think that one day I can have pain free sex, but I think it'll always be part of me.  How could it not be? It has defined so much of my life.  So, while I may be having penetrative sex one day, I think it'll always be a big deal.  I think I might always need to take a moment, to relax, to focus.  And I'm OK with that. Since I have admitted that to myself, the pressure has melted away.

So, what has changed?  Why have I suddenly become more focussed on myself in the now, rather than myself in the future?  Well... it's easy.  Through the blog, I have emailed lots of women with vaginismus, but recently I have connected with another vaginismus lady who has quickly become a friend. Although we have never met, we are in contact on an almost daily basis. We have each others phone numbers. We're friends on facebook.  We chat about other things, not just vaginismus.  Turns out we have lots more in common than our anxious vaginas.  We have been planning great things that we hope will work, and will help fellow vaginismus ladies.  It's really exciting.  But for me, the other exciting thing, is that vaginismus has just become a normal part of my daily conversations.  To be in contact in this way with another woman with the condition has been life-changing- because we're just normal women. Having a chat. Yes, we happen to have vaginismus. But there's no shame. It's not our fault.  It's just part of who we are.

I have said before how important I feel it is to connect with other women with vaginismus.  But I believe it even more now.  You can try all the treatment in the world, and do well, but that doesn't take away the feeling of sheer loneliness.  Find a woman who understands how you feel. It's important.

So, yes, I still have vaginismus.  That's not going anywhere soon.

But, for the first time ever, I feel in control of it.  And, I feel positive about the future. Own it, ladies.  We have it, it's awful, but it's ours.  We can hide under a rock, or we can accept it and find our own ways to deal with it.

One day, I really hope that vaginismus is no longer the big dirty secret that is is at the moment.  I'm planning to do my bit to change that.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

5 Seconds of Fame

This morning I talked to a journalist about my vagina.


An article was published by the BBC this morning about painful sex, which touched on a number of conditions, including our favourite, vaginismus.   Read it here!

I was contacted and asked to do an interview for BBC radio.  Originally I said no.  I am still super anonymous online, and my friends and family don't know about this.  I dreaded the idea of them driving along the road, casually listening to the radio and suddenly hearing my voice and realising I have been keeping a pretty major secret from them.

But luckily, the radio people were very understanding and offered to give me a fake name and an actors voice.

So I did it.

And you can listen here (Listen from 4:00 min)

Now, I think it's bloody brilliant that vaginismus was talked about on a national radio station.  At lunch time!  I'm not sure how many people would have heard it, but my very scientific guess is LOADS. And hopefully it's helped someone.  Because the more we can talk about vaginismus, in the middle of the day whilst eating our sandwiches, the more we can remove the shame, embarrassment and secrecy.

Speaking of shame, embarrassment and secrecy, I must confess that I snuck out of my office and gave the interview sitting at the side of a road, in my car.  And, of course, refused to let my real name or voice be used.  Because I'm not quite ready to be the vaginismus poster girl yet.  I'm currently the undercover vaginismus secret agent.

But maybe one day... :-)


Monday, 16 January 2017

Dilator Live Blog

So, after yet another dilator break, I decided to get them out tonight and get inserting.

I really can't write another post about starting again after a break.  Avid readers of the blog will know there are MILLIONS of those. I am the queen of stopping and starting.  Mainly stopping.  But tonight I'm starting.  Again.

However, I thought it might be a whole ton of fun to live blog my way through dilators.  Now, just to remind you, the biggest I have inserted is D3 (which is actually the 4th one in my kit. Just to keep you on your toes...)  I have not inserted dilators for a while, so not expecting this one to go in tonight but you never know... maybe the pressure of a live blog will work magic on my vag.

So here we go:

19:33- Lubed up D0 and located my vagina.  Dilator 0 slides in with relative ease.  It's a tiny bit sore getting past the good old PC muscle (muscles? Is there more than one? Who knows.)  But it's in.  That was fine.  I am going to sit with it inside me for a little while.

19:34- Urgh, kind of need to pee.  Must remember to pee before dilating next time.  WHICH WILL BE TOMORROW OBVS. LOLZ.

19:38- D0 still inside.  Feeling fine.  Will take it out now... Yuck. I really don't enjoy the feeling of a dilator coming out.  OK, time to lube up D1 and insert...

19:39- Ok, got the tip in the right place... but this isn't wanting to go in.  Ouch. STOP HURTING ME. Bastard.  It actually burns.  BIG SIGH WHILE I REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS WHEN D1 WAS EASY... CURSE MYSELF FOR LEAVING IT SUCH A LONG TIME

19:41- Paused for some deep breaths.  It is now inside. Always amazed how it eventually stops hurting after a certain point (The muscle/ muscles).  REALLY NEED TO PEE NOW. But I am not moving.

19:42- Feel a bit guilty.  Husband changed the bed sheets earlier and I've just spilled lube absolutely everywhere.  SORRY DEAR.  Luckily it's water based, so I guess it'll just dry?

19:43- I need to cough.  If I cough, will the dilator fall out? Just coughed.  It stayed in. Thanks, ridiculously tight vagina! Couldn't really face trying to insert that again...

19:44- This isn't very comfortable. I can feel my vagina spasming. One's fanny is not amused.

19:45- Took it out and slopped a bit more lube on.  Re-inserted it.  It slid in much more easily this time, with less pain.  Can't decide whether to attempt D2.  Probably shouldn't but I am actually quite enjoying this live blogging... CONFLICTED.

19:46- D1 still inside.  Spasming has now stopped.  Still need a pee.

19:49- Ok, I'm doing it. I'm going to try and insert D2.  Will be an ocean of calm, even if it doesn't remotely go in.

19:50- Fuck- forgot how big this one is...

19:51- OK the tip is in the right place... Just relaxing the muscles and will try and give it a wee push


19:53: I'd say about a third of it is in. It doesn't hurt at all.  But it's just not moving any further.  ANNOYING

19:58- D2 definitely not happening tonight.  And I REALLY have to pee.  Already spilled half a bottle of lube over the freshly changed bed.  Don't want to add any unsavoury body fluids to the mix.  All in all, not a bad attempt at dilating, given that I haven't done it in actual weeks.

I have no idea if this is actually a good blog post, or the ramblings of an idiot. Do let me know what you think!


Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year Blog Goals

Happy New Year everyone! It's 2017! So far, I have spent most of this new year sitting down, eating and watching Netflix.  Hope you've been doing the same (sometimes it's OK to not be super productive!).

I am sure we have all made the dreaded new years resolutions, and I am sure that for many of us that includes vaginismus-related things.  It could be using a dilator for the first time.  Or telling a friend about it.  Or even overcoming it.  We will all have our own personal goals and know what is achievable for us.

I am not going to write a big thing about my own personal vaginismus goals.  Instead, I thought I'd share my goals for the Hey Vaginismus! Blog. Because I have BIG ones!

I have been thinking for a while that this blog isn't really reaching it's full potential.  That's partly due to my time constraints, but also down to the fact that when it comes to building websites etc, my skills are limited.  But I know that there is so much more that Hey Vaginismus! could offer, beyond my sporadic ramblings and bad jokes.


When you do that first google search that leads you to discovering that vaginismus is a thing, and that you probably have it, many of the top search results on google are linked to websites that endorse or sell products.  It's hard to get a balanced view on treatments, and the condition itself when you are subtly (or explicitly) being encouraged to part with money.  Alongside this, there is information available on health websites that is dry and clinical, and doesn't really explain in an honest way what having vaginismus actually feels like (physically and mentally).  I am not trying to sell anything, and I am not a doctor. But I have had vaginismus for a very long time, and tried lots of different types of treatment.  I imagine I can provide good, solid facts that are easy to read, non-scary and relatable.


As you probably know, when I set the blog up, it was with the intention of finding someone with vaginismus and meeting them. I have now done that, and have also spoken to many other women through email and twitter.  This has been unbelievably helpful, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to get to know so many other women in the same position.  I think Hey Vaginismus! could be a good springboard for women to connect with one another, and maybe even arrange to meet one another in their own area.
I would also like to try and arrange a bigger scale meet-up for any woman who wants to come along... It'll have to be in UK to start with (only because that's where I am!) but perhaps there is scope to connect other women up, around the world!


I would love to have some guest bloggers! Whether it's other women with vaginismus, partners of vaginismus sufferers, therapists, friends... Anyone really with something to say, and a different perspective.  Because my experience is only one story.  There are so many more.

These are just a few ideas.  But ultimately, I'd like to turn the blog into a bit of a hub of support and information for women with vaginismus- but with an attitude of positivity, humour and (dare I say) fun?  Because we're all still normal women at the end of the day! Why should we suffer clinical, boring and distressing websites when we want information on a condition that blights our lives and annoys us daily?


No need to explain this one... JEEEEEEEEZ.

So, watch this space.

I do have a real job outside of the blog, so these changes will probably be slow... But if you want to get involved or help, please do get in touch!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, successful 2017 (vaginismus, and otherwise!).  Vaginismus sucks, but if we all pull together maybe we can make it a bit more bearable.

Lots of love!xx