SURVIVING CHRISTMAS WITH VAGINISMUS
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.
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.