Don't know where to turn…
September 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm #21851
I honestly don’t know where to go. I feel isolated and alone on this.
Long story short, I’ve been dating the woman of my dreams for over a year and a half. We’re both at the point in our lives where I think this is it for both of us.
When we started dating, I had no idea what vaginismus was, but I learned very quickly. We started off extremely passionate, but never consummated our relationship fully. In past relationships, I had a very high libido and started off this relationship the same way. Always wanting to be physical, etc. As time has gone on and we’ve made repeated attempts at intercourse, I’ve found my libido dropping. I’m just not as interested in sex as I should be.
We’ve had issues with me not being physical enough. To her, it means I don’t find her attractive which couldn’t be further from the truth. I once told her that I think we needed to continue working with dialators, but she doesn’t pull them out very often. In all honesty, it’s just tough being passionate and never getting full completion. I think my body’s libido has dropped because of it. Every time I bring up the vaginismus, she gets defensive…..regardless of how caring I am about it.
I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose her over this….I can’t. I feel like I can’t be honest with her without her getting upset for bringing it up.
Should we go to therapy together? Should I just tell her how I feel again and hope she doesn’t get angry?September 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm #21867
Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWModerator
Thanks for writing to us. I know how hard this can be for everyone involved. It sounds like you really care about your girlfriend, and it can be very difficult to talk about vaginismus without her feeling defensive. You mentioned that she has dilators, has she been able to work with a pelvic floor physical therapist? Many women who purchase dilators on their own have a very hard time using them without the assistance of a professional. I think understanding that vaginismus is not going to go away on it’s own, nor is it all in her head is very important for both of you to realize. Might it be possible to talk with her about seeing a pelvic floor therapist, or someone who specializes in vaginismus? If you feel this might make her defensive, I think discussing your feelings in couples therapy could be a good place. However, couples therapy will not cure the vaginismus, but can be a safe place for you to both express your feelings.October 4, 2017 at 11:28 pm #21923
Hi Bostonstrong! I’m sorry to hear about the problems you and your partner have been having – it sounds like this has been a big frustration for both of you, and I know how much strain vaginismus can be on a couple. It sounds like you both want to have a sex life, which is great, but maybe that you’re not in agreement about what exactly you want to be doing.
One thing that might help is moving the conversation away from vaginismus specifically and working on rediscovering shared intimate acts you both enjoy. I had a partner (before I knew my problem was vaginismus) who always wanted to work on having intercourse, and before long I didn’t enjoy any physical activity with him at all because it felt like there was too much stress and effort associated. Treating vaginismus is sensitive for most women and feeling like you have a partner that you can trust and who you have a shared erotic life with is a huge help in feeling less alone.
If your partner is defensive, it might also help a lot for her to speak with other people who understand what she’s going through. If she’s reluctant to use the dilators, you could ask her to check out the forums or give the Congtythamtu Clinic a call (like Nicole says, it’s a LOT of work to dilate regularly without some support and guidance from a professional). A lot of people with vaginismus have lived for years in confusion and felt very alone in their struggle, so a community can make a huge difference!October 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm #21937
This is such a tough situation for you, and I wholeheartedly understand how you feel. It’s great that you both understand her condition as vaginismus and that she at least has dilators that she pulls out every once in a while. But it does seem like she isn’t making as much progress as you’d hope, and the avoidance and defensiveness (potentially resulting in your lower libido) is obviously difficult to deal with.
It seems like you are being encouraging and supportive, which is very important, and I hope you can continue to be supportive, loving, and patient. It is also important for your girlfriend, if she does want to overcome vaginismus and eventually be able to have comfortable sex, to take steps to do so.
Does she know that vaginismus is completely treatable and there are so many women around the world who have gone through/are going through the same things as she is? Does she know about this website/these forums? Others said this, but if she’s having issues with the dilators, she should really consider going to a vaginismus clinic or specialist like Congtythamtu (like others also said, I bought them but couldn’t use them on my own at first without the help of the Congtythamtu clinic – it might just be a couple appointments to help her use them and then she might be fine on her own).
Being worried about bringing the issue up due to her defensiveness is a huge constraint for you, I really do understand, but if you can get yourself to continue to bring it up gently, I would do so. Obviously avoid ultimatums, but tell her that you think it is important and fair for her to take some action (even if small steps at first) to overcome vaginismus, since it is so treatable. This could be in the form of: setting small goals with dilators (e.g., use them 3x a week, 4x – the more often she uses them, the easier they are to use!), making an appointment with a vaginismus clinic or specialist like Congtythamtu, or even starting out by looking through this forum to read all of the success stories to give her the confidence that she WILL be able to overcome this. Vaginismus can be a lonely and shameful thing until you realize there are many others going through the same thing, and even more who have overcome it. Let her know you’re here to support her 10000000% through her journey.
Her having vaginismus is *not* a bad thing (at first I thought it meant something was super wrong with me and I wasn’t ever going to be normal)! Vaginismus is completely treatable and she probably needs to understand this to gain the confidence to move forward with treatment.
Good luck and we are all here for you and your girlfriend.
I would also feel guilty not mentioning: there is the possibility that her extreme avoidance is coming from something deeper, like a traumatic experience. Even if not, I would be sensitive to that if I were you! I guess therapy could be a good option if you feel like you’re having trouble articulating how you feel about the situation, and maybe it’d help you understand where her avoidance is coming from.November 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm #22074
Hi Bostonstrong. I am so sorry for what you guys are going through with vaginismus. I think it is wonderful that you found this Forum and posted and I hope these replies will touch you and your girlfriend and help in some way. Also, so importantly, by reading the many posts it really helps to learn more about the condition and learn tips and ways of overcoming. I had vaginismus for my 20s and into my early 30s and overcame after having the Botox treatment program. I found this the best treatment for me and was able to insert the dilators in for the first time post-procedure without the resistance/burning pain / blocked feeling and later my husband. I had my procedure up in NH with Dr. Pacik. He has retired but trained the Congtythamtu group in NY and they do the Botox treatment program for vaginismus as well. Also, very importantly we found, Dr. Pacik and now Congtythamtu treat the physical but also the emotional parts of vaginismus. They help to make the difficult conversations easier and talked about. I notice your forum name and live right outside of Boston. I would be happy to email back and forth with your girlfriend and support her in this way as someone who has had vaginismus and gone through it. In addition, I so hope she will also read the Forum and it helps her. Please know you both have my support.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.