Even after years of doing this work, it still pains me deeply to see the behind-the-scenes of a couple coping with vaginismus.
Vaginismus is one of those conditions that, upon hearing about it for the first time, sounds bizarre to people, some obscure condition you’d read about in a magazine or book. Can’t have sex? Wait, because his penis can’t get in? This happens to “regular” people?
The answer is, absolutely.
Statistically, you or someone you know has experienced vaginismus. There are couples you socialize with who have dealt with vaginismus. There are people you know who do not have partners, and they may have vaginismus and it’s keeping them on the sidelines of dating and relationships.
It’s not a rampant condition, but it’s difficult to measure because many sufferers don’t reach out for help or simply don’t have the resources to turn to. The effect of vaginismus on a person’s self-concept, confidence, and relationship satisfaction is tremendous, and the longer the condition goes untreated, the more pervasive the effects become. Fortunately, there is treatment for vaginismus; I hope that one day it is no longer a “weird” condition that people can’t believe, but that it becomes more known– by people and providers– so that it can be addressed appropriately and the shame around it be diminished.