Why do I have this? Why does anyone?
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January 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm #20499Daisey2017Participant
Perhaps I shouldn’t worry so much about why now I know what I have. I feel like I need to know more though as it makes me so angry with myself and my body as well as others around me.
I don’t remember any childhood problems except generally high levels of anxiety and probably reading too many books above my age range (including negative portrayals of sex). Saying that I had always assumed I assumed I’d be able to do it myself and looked forward to relationships and everything they entailed.
I suppose I’m also angry that I ignored the fact I could never use tampons and I could never see my own body parts. It just seems so odd!
I know this is a very personal question but I feel like I need it answered, or should I get over that aspect of it?January 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm #20502Rachel Hercman, LCSWParticipant
I don’t think you need to “get over” this aspect of it…..What you’re doing is going through normal emotions that come up, and when we give them space and don’t try to just shoo them away, we don’t get through it.
One of the most damaging myths around vaginismus is the false belief that all women who have it must have had some huge major trauma. There are different factors involved.
It’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to be sad. it’s ok to grieve for the time lost.But know that you can get to the other side of this. We may never know WHY you have this, but we know WHAT we can do about it.
You’re human. Be patient with yourself and try to be gentle.January 26, 2017 at 4:33 pm #20503Aimee Goldman, RWHNPMember
Hi Daisey- I totally understand your feeling of anger and frustration. The root of vaginismus is a combination of physical and non-physical triggers that cause the pain you are experiencing. Vaginismus can be triggered by physical events such as not enough foreplay with intercourse or not enough lubrication during intercourse. Some non physical triggers involve emotions such as generalized anxiety.
Please keep in mind that this is not your fault and you are not alone. Once the pain is triggered involuntary vaginal muscles contract and tighten making intercourse, tampon insertion or a gynecology exam impossible. The anticipation of pain plus underlying anxiety can contribute and reinforce vaginismus.The good news is that you can be helped. Here at Maze we have a tremendous success rate working with patients with all stages of vaginismus.January 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm #20504Heather34Moderator
Hi Daisey. I can totally relate to your frustration and wish I knew the answer as well as to why anyone has it. A couple of Myths have been discussed:
“Myth 8: Women with vaginismus were raped or sexually abused and, in response, developed resistance and pain.
Myth 9: Another is that negative background, including attitudes of shame or fear of sex, caused the problem.
According to Rhea Orion: “These sound like reasonable causations based on symptoms, but recent research suggests no more prevalence in backgrounds of abuse or negativity than in women with no vaginismus. Nor does sexual pain appear to be a consistent response in women who do have abusive or negative backgrounds. Many vaginismus sufferers report no exceptionally negative backgrounds with regard to sexuality. Many times, their female siblings, raised in the same family, do not have vaginismus. The condition of vaginismus has also been confirmed cross-culturally, suggesting that background is not a causative factor.”
While I don’t know the reason why anyone has it, I know that it is treatable as Rachel and Aimee indicated and I am so, so happy for this. Sending you my support today!!!January 31, 2017 at 8:22 pm #20516Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWParticipant
Why do I have vaginismus? Why does anyone?
Excellent questions, with no good answers. I know how frustrating it can be to suffer from something, and have no idea what caused it. As others have said we will never really know the cause, but we do know that It can be cured. However, I think it can be helpful to talk to someone or journal about what you think caused it, or how frustrating it is to have no idea why you have this. Getting that out, and knowing it can be cured can go a long way.March 26, 2017 at 5:12 pm #20721FlorenceParticipant
I ask myself the same question too – I also read books like the ones you described when I was a kid and while I was a bit like ‘oh wow… that’s grim’ and quietly put it back on the shelf in disgust, it never made me think that sex should be traumatic and I never expected to be met with intense pain, and shame, guilt, anger and disappointment every time I tried for well over a decade. I went to an all-girls school and while most of my friends were losing their virginity at 14 I was too scared to let any boy near me til I was 19 so I got labelled things like prude, freak and lesbian which could not be further from the truth, but I think it added to the sense of isolation and shame and prevented me from seeking help sooner, and I feel awful for any young girls who are feeling the same way now.
Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve this because I know I’m a good person, but I have to remind myself that this is just one of those things and I just have to accept it and now I know what’s actually wrong with me I can focus on doing something about it and I think the more we talk about it the more women can get help and fewer women feel so isolated and helpless:)March 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm #20745Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWParticipant
Thanks Florence for sharing your story and experience. I know it will help many women who are suffering in silence, and know they are not alone.April 22, 2017 at 6:50 am #20849
I want to second everything that’s been said so far because all of it is brilliant. I used to be consumed by this as well, trying to find a reason because maybe I felt like being able to explain it would make it comprehensible and solvable somehow. I think we feel that things that make our lives so hard as vaginismus often does should have a profound reason, but life rarely works out that way. I was an anxious person when I was young, and sex was demonized in my household, and my early boyfriends were pushy. All those things and more probably caused my vaginismus and I’ll never really know.
The amazing thing is that once I dealt with my vaginismus (through the botox procedure and dilating afterward), that question didn’t hold the same power over me. Once it was in my past it stopped being something I needed an explanation for. It will always be something that happened to me and shaped me, but now it’s just a part of my past.
Thinking about the future and how to remake my life made the past less important. I know how painful it is to ask the universe why it did this to you, and I feel for you. But taking the steps to conquer vaginismus will heal parts of you that you didn’t even know were broken.May 11, 2017 at 8:58 am #20922Sks823Participant
I completely understand your feelings of frustration and confusion, as I’ve been through those exact feelings. While my Maze therapist and I have ideas (some subtle and some non-subtle negative attitudes about sex and sexuality growing up), I don’t have anything close to a definitive answer either.
I also understand your feelings of anger towards yourself; I hated the fact that I couldn’t do something that it seemed all teenage girls were doing so easily (like Florence mentioned)… I was so jealous of these girls having sex, no big deal, and I also was ignoring the fact that I wasn’t able to use a tampon. I had so much hidden shame and anger about being unable to have sex.
After randomly coming across an article about vaginismus a few years back, I finally got the courage last year to seek help/treatment and I went to Maze. Starting out, dilating therapy was *EXTREMELY* difficult for me. I had so many “why me????” feelings. I didn’t think I would get through the therapy, and I told myself I must be one of the worst cases they’ve seen.
However, as I slowly moved up in dilator size and eventually “graduated,” I was able to turn the negative feelings into just being grateful and thankful that:
* I found out what vaginismus was
* I got the courage to seek help
* I didn’t quit even when things weren’t going well (the not-going-well part lasted weeks)
* each time I got to a larger dilator I gained confidence and felt very proud of myself
* the Maze staff/this forum helped me see that I wasn’t alone in having vaginismus and having difficulty getting through this
* dilating became less painful and much easier
* using tampons is great
* I continue to see improvements (no pain with speculum)
* I no longer have that weight on my shoulder – the weight of the extreme shame of being unable to have sex and not knowing why
And this list can vary and become much longer – did you have the confidence to talk to a friend, family member, significant other about it? Were they understanding?
I almost didn’t respond to this because all of the previous responses are very good and thorough and I wasn’t sure I had much to add, but I wanted to let you know I don’t even think about the reason WHY I have vaginismus now, although I did obsess about it for a while. I instead think about how I feel like superwoman, someone who can get through anything after the physical and emotional ride I went through while getting over (not sure the correct term) my vaginismus.
Cheers and good luck, I know you’ll get through this and feel free to reach out directly if you need more encouragement 🙂May 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm #21003SassiHParticipant
Hi so I have had Vaginismus since I was 18. I had one bad experience were a guy forced a finger inside me and it hurt. Since then i have been weird with fingers inside me (my own and husbands) Im now 29 and after going to Relate with and without my husband, using dilators, Vagiwave at nights and hypnotherapy I am finally able to let my husband put his penis inside me but however it is still so painful and difficult!
I just feel that i have put so much energy into this after years of avoiding the subject and not listening to my husband who thought i had vaginismus.
I just want this to be OVER and im so close to the end that everytime it dosent happen the way i want i feel like its more time wasted!! Im so frustrated! I want to get on with my life and have a family like other people my age.
I try to look at the positive that i have come so far, I couldnt put a cotton bud in without crying or breaking out in a cold sweat. The dilators felt like they would never go in! But they did and my confidence soared! I also have such a supportive husband who has been behind me every step of the way and has been my cheerleader when i really needed it. I honestly think that when we get through this it will have made us stronger and we know we can work together as a team.
I am struggling with this last part if anyone has any suggestions? I would love to hear them! I find my muscles are painful when his penis goes in and it takes me a few seconds to put his full penis in and by that point its very hard to try to then move up and down? ( very graphic but im sure none of us care at this point!)
Love you all for sharing it really helps to know we are not alone in this very isolating, embarassing condition!!June 10, 2017 at 7:16 am #21078
Hi SassiH! Thanks for sharing your story! I totally relate to how you have been feeling. I have realized something was wrong with me since I was 15, and I didn’t get treatment for my vaginismus until I was 25, so you and I have both dealt with the problem for a similarly LONG time before finally starting to make progress on conquering it. And I think especially for those of us who have been dealing with this problem for a long time, once we see the end in sight, we get impatient – after all, we’ve wasted most of our sexual lives feeling inadequate and broken! We want results!
Shortly after my procedure, I was lamenting to my boyfriend how slow the progress seemed to be going. I was making progress with the dilators, but they were still frustrating and I wanted to be moving faster. His reply was “Don’t worry about it – I’ve waited 6 months to have sex with you, I can wait a little longer.” At the time I was angry at him – we had been dating for 6 months at the time, but I felt in that moment like he’d had no idea what I was going through on the inside. Six months?! I’ve been waiting to have sex for ten years! But in a weird way, he was right. You’ve already come so far, and gotten so close to what we both spent so long wanting – normalcy and intimacy. And I know it’s agonizing to wait another second, but you HAVE been strong for so many years, and you’re almost there! Give yourself the time you need to do this, because there’s no right answer of how long it should take. Celebrate the small victories, because they mean you’re closer every day. If you keep trying and have patience, it will get more comfortable. It will get easier. You will get there, and it will be wonderful and freeing.November 30, 2017 at 8:10 pm #22188Heather34Moderator
Hi SassiH. I am so, so sorry for what you have gone through with vaginismus. In terms of your question about intercourse tips, I wanted to share 2 threads that I hope will help:
Transitioning: Early Intercourse
Positions of Comfort Post-Vaginismus:
I, too, would feel initial discomfort when my husband’s penis first went in and would have to get used to it and then gradually do the thrusting movements. What helped me so much is to simulate these movements together with him with a vibrator in advance of us having sex. Another thing that helped so much was liberally using a ton of lubricant and sometimes combining hydrocortisone cream w/the lubricant if I ever felt a lot of discomfort. I hope this helps and am here for you.January 4, 2018 at 6:41 pm #22313AbenkoParticipant
Hi everyone! I just joined the site, and for so many years I have not only been wondering why I have this, but wondering if I am the only one around suffering! Obviously, it isn’t a topic you casually discuss with people at work or acquainteces, so I have never met anyone in person who also has this condition. It is a very isolating feeling.
After going to therapy for a while I’ve learned to stop putting my focus on the WHY, cause I may never understand thAt, but HOW I can take steps to overcome it. Where can I begin? Thanks!January 5, 2018 at 10:07 am #22314Sks823Participant
Happy 2018 and welcome to the forum! It’s awesome that you’ve gone to therapy & know that you want to overcome vaginismus – huge congrats to you on getting this far and talking to your therapist about it 🙂 There are a few different things to start out doing!
First – DILATION
Have you bought a set of dilators before? Here are some recommendations from another post (in the dilating section of this forum http://mazewomenshealth.com/forums/forum/vaginismus/vaginismus-dilating/ )
Melissa at Maze Women’s Sexual Health, wrote:
“I think starting with a dilation program is a great idea, and you can find several types of dilators on line. Here are a few types:
– Glass dilators: Dr. Pacik mentioned above, also find the dvd.
– Pure Romance: This is the set of dilators used for the botox surgery
– Syracuse Medical: These dilators are a hard plastic, you cannot sleep with these, only do daily exercises, but are a good and inexpensive option.
– Soul Source: they have a wide variety, and you can purchase individually, similar to pure romance, but are expensive.
You can explore the dilating section of the forum & ask questions if you need – if you don’t know, you start at the smallest dilator and work yourself up to larger ones by dilating consistently 🙂 Easier said than done, I know!
Second – SEEKING HELP
Personally, a few years ago I bought a set of dilators online (none of the above ones) and was unable to use them on my own (I also was unable to use tampons at that point). That’s where Maze came into the picture – I looked up places that specialize in vaginismus in NYC and called Maze Women’s Sexual Health and they helped me (with an appointment every 2-3 weeks) go from being unable to use a tampon to being able to dilate with the largest dilator (larger than most penises) through physical therapy 🙂
No matter where you live, I think if you Google/look up places that treat vaginismus – some key words to search “pelvic floor physical therapy,” “vaginismus treatment,” “women’s health center” – you should be able to call and find a place that can help you, if you are not able to use dilators on your own. After a couple (stressful) sessions at Maze, I was able to use dilators on my own.
Third – DON’T GIVE UP
Yes, you have vaginismus – but you will be able to overcome it! There may be some bumps along the road, but vaginismus is completely treatable, no matter how bad you think your case is (it’s natural to think “I’ll be the exception – I’m untreatable”) but YOU ARE! You will get through this 🙂
There are great threads of success stories on this forum so check them out for some encouragement.
There are also other options besides just dilating – you can read all about the Botox procedure, which several people on this forum have used – this in conjunction with dilating has helped so many people overcome vaginismus. Here’s a thread about that:
And some nice stories about people who used Botox to overcome their vaginismus in 2017:
Feel free to ask any questions or private message/e-mail me if you need anything at all! We are all rooting for you! 🙂January 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm #22330
Abenko, welcome to the forums! I want to say that it’s brave even to post here and begin asking questions about what’s happening to you and what you can do about it, so I applaud your courage. Also, I think what your therapist said is very smart – for a long time I sought to understand the WHY of my vaginismus, but I think like so many of our challenges in life, it isn’t always neatly correlated to something we did or even something that happened to us. But we have the power to give meaning to how we HANDLE it, because it can show us we have strength we never realized.
I second what Sks823 said, most importantly the part about seeking treatment! If you take one thing away from reading the forums, I hope it will be the fact that vaginismus is FULLY curable (which I think is hard to say for a lot of medical issues) – you can go from being completely unable to have sex to being completely indistinguishable from a normal person once you are done with treatment! I believe that everyone takes a different amount of time to decide to go through treatment and then to be treated, but it is so possible and we are here for you supporting you every step of the way!
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