From despair to elation: take heart, it's possible!
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July 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm #21189
Almost four weeks ago, I had my procedure. I’d never even been able to insert a Q-tip or finger, and had felt dismay after being told “your husband’s penis is different – your body will open up to that” to find after our wedding that my body did not “open” to him, in spite of significant arousal.
After the procedure, I felt so encouraged that I was able to insert even the largest dilators with ease. Then after several hours in the hotel when the numbing agent had worn off (I was also about to begin my period and had to have my hymen removed, both of which crated additional sensitivity), I went to the bathroom and was unable to insert the blue “medium” sized afterward. After numerous attempts, I tried to go to a smaller size, then even tried having my husband help me with the very smallest size. I screamed and writhed so much that he said he couldn’t make himself continue to push in the dilator, even though I’d asked him to just make it go in. I felt complete despair and spent most of the rest of the day crying. I knew that most patients are able to use the medium size dilators with no issues afterward, so was incredibly disheartened that I was having such an adverse reaction to he very smallest size.
When we got to my follow up appointment the next day, I felt nauseous and dizzy from how terrified I was that nothing was going to work for me, and from the thought of having to try again to put something inside of me. Melissa and my husband were amazing, as I was a complete meltdown in motion. Something clicked once Melissa told me that she knew that I could feel a resistance, and that she knew that I hated that feeling, but that it was absolutely possible to push past it and that things would feel better after that. I eventually inserted the smallest dilator, and hated the feeling. She said that sometimes the slightly larger sizes actually feel better because once they’re in, they push past the entry muscles that are so sensitive. I tried the next size up and got it in half the time and with no screaming. Then was able to almost finish getting to the next size.
I went home feeling so much more confident that I COULD push through and knew the angle, etc. to use. I also started taking anti-anxiety meds, which I’d been hesitant about, but those did seem to help a lot with my fear around dilation/penetration.
Over the next few weeks, I kept a log and set goals each week. I spent about 2 hours each evening working with dilators and a hard plastic vibrator to do stretches. By day 20, I’d progressed to being able to insert the largest dilator on my own! I still have to use one or two smaller ones first and spend some time getting the largest one in, but I can totally do it! Then SOX days later, a day shy of four weeks post procedure, my husband and I were finally able to consecrate our marriage! 🙂 I slept with one of the glass dilators the night before, then dilated with the largest dilators the next morning while we watched TV. I also used a vibrator that’s larger than the biggest dilator, as my husband is larger than the pink, and I’ve found the vibration helps to relax the muscles and ease any burning from dilation. I had him watch as I dilated, and then had him put the pink one in and out a couple of times so that we could gauge angle and speed that felt doable for me. Then we pulled out a dilators and put him inside. After a few minutes, we were able to thrust, and eventually even change positions! We had him thrust in a couple of positions and pull out and re-enter multiple times, and I was fine! I felt occasional very mild discomfort, but overall enjoyed the experience.
Just wanted to share, for those of you who find yourselves feeling discouraged post-procedure. Keep going! You WILL get there, and it may even be sooner than you think.July 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm #21190
*consummate, not consecrate. 🙂 Auto-correct…July 17, 2017 at 9:33 am #21191mazemelissaModerator
Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Your story is such an inspiration to other women out there in your same situation.
You worked so hard, and you should be so proud of yourself!
Enjoy this new chapter in your life.
I am so happy that I was able to be a part of your journey.
MelissaJuly 29, 2017 at 3:10 pm #21343
Congratulations on this huge milestone for you, newlywed! It really is a huge step the first time you are able to have that connection with your partner. Melissa (and the rest of the Maze Clinic staff) are utterly amazing – she helped me so much after my procedure, and I’m so glad I had their support network! Also, to anyone treating their vaginismus, what Melissa said is so true – discomfort when dilating doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong – in fact, that’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen! You’re stretching your muscles, just like you would if you took up a new sport for the first time. But you’re building up your strength as long as you keep at it 🙂August 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm #21395Helen Leff, LCSWModerator
Such an encouraging and authentic post. Thank you newlywed for sharing your journey on the forum.November 16, 2017 at 8:09 pm #22097Heather34Moderator
This is such an inspiring post to read newlywed. Huge, huge, huge CONGRATS!!!!! I love everything about your post and love how you described your challenges with dilating post-procedure but how you were able to push through and overcome with the knowledge and support from Melissa. And, also your post-procedure support and goals achieved!!! The whole thing is so awesome to read and so inspiring for future patients considering treatment.November 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm #22122Sks823Participant
I love this post, too. So inspiring, CONGRATS! Most vaginismus success stories *aren’t* super easy or straight-forward, and so I love how you showed how you powered through the adversity. It makes the success even sweeter 🙂November 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm #22134Cathleen Kneidl, RPA-CParticipant
Thank you for sharing! That is amazing and inspiring.January 1, 2018 at 11:14 am #22304
Thanks everyone! Update, 7 months post procedure: occasionally, I still find that I have to dilate or intercourse is uncomfortable, however, that’s less frequent now. We’ve learned that communication is a huge part of good vs okay vs painful sex, and are figuring that out together. Sometimes, it still hurts a little (and we always have to take it very slowly when he first enters), but it’s totally doable, which is incredibly encouraging. And knowing that just talking about what works best for both of us, and some dilation when things have started feeling tight again, is so encouraging. We still have growth to do and have had plenty of frustrations around sex, but now I feel like that’s a lifelong exciting journey together, not an insurmountable obstacle. Also, tampons are amazing. 😉
Final update…we just found out that we’re pregnant! So thankful to Maze, Melissa and the team for playing such a huge role in the process. Now, I can look back at vaginismus as something that was incredibly difficult, but that made our marriage stronger and resulted in a lot of personal growth and insight for me. If you’d asked me 8-months ago how I felt, my tune would’ve been very different. While I never would’ve chosen to walk through this, going through it together has brought many blessings to our lives. I’ve even been able to encourage and provide suggestions to a couple of friends lately who’ve struggled with painful sex.January 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm #22305
newlywed, I am so happy to hear this news!!! Huge congratulations on your pregnancy and also your sex life with your husband. I feel much the way that you do, looking back on my vaginismus: I never would have chosen it, but it’s nonetheless made me stronger and more thoughtful about my sex life and the people I allow to be a part of it. Very proud of your accomplishments!
Also, I want to add something that was surprising to me, which is that even over longer periods of time the sex continued to get easier and more comfortable for me. I had sex with my partner for the first time 20 days after my procedure, and for the first couple of months it was uncomfortable. After that it was actually pleasurable, but the range of what felt good was limited to certain positions, speeds, etc. Now, more than a year out, I feel there are basically no limitations to what kind of sex I can have compared to what I think normal people can do (pretty much all positions cause little to no discomfort, even from behind). Every woman’s journey is different, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few more months you find that things are even smoother and more natural than they are now, which sounds like it’s already a big improvement 🙂
Best of luck going forward, both with the pregnancy and with your evolving sex life, and keep letting us know how you are!January 1, 2018 at 10:13 pm #22306Heather34Moderator
This is absolutely AWESOME newlywed. Huge, huge Congrats!!!!!!!January 17, 2018 at 11:01 pm #22370
Thanks! Recessive gene queen, it is so encouraging to hear that you’re out pretty much all positions feel comfortable. That’s been the biggest thing I’ve been wondering. We are getting to the point that sex is not usually painful, and certain positions work very well for me being able to feel comfortable and even climax. But we are still pretty limited in terms of what really feels good. Although, even those positions just a few months ago still were a little uncomfortable, so that’s progress! It’s great to hear that things continue to improve!January 17, 2018 at 11:36 pm #22371
The progress you’ve made is always something to be proud of! And yes, it’s a big relief that it gets easier and easier over time. I think it’s the result of two things – first, that your body is adjusting to the sensations more and the muscles are stretching over time. Second, I think psychologically after awhile you AND your partner begin to relax more. At first my partner was tentative when he had sex with me because he was afraid of hurting me, but after awhile we both were able to enjoy it more and worry less. Best of luck and let us know how it goes!
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