How do you tell your boyfriend you have vaginismus?
February 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm #8825
Hi ladies. I have been in with a wonderful gal who is currently suffering with vaginismus. In our communication, she shared that she has recently started to date and asked me the question “how do you tell your boyfriend you have vaginismus?”
My reply to her was the following:
“It was so nice to hear from you. I remember the years that I had vaginismus just like it was yesterday. I started dating H (my hubby) at age 24. Together, we tried and tried to make love and each time, I would tense up and it would be incredibly frustrating for him and end in tears for me. I then did a lot of research and knew that I had all of the symptoms of vaginismus. I tried to go to an ob/gyn appointment but couldn’t allow the doc to examine me b/c I couldn’t relax and was in tears. It was such a bad experience until I found Dr. Pacik. So, I never had to actually tell H that I had vaginismus b/c we learned of it together and then, finally overcame! If I were 25 and knew that I had vaginismus, I would gently explain to my boyfriend that I had a condition called vaginismus and my symptoms (very difficult and painful penetration). I would explain that it is a physical pain condition and that I was currently researching and trying treatments that will help me to overcome and cure it. I know how difficult it can be to tell others, especially a boyfriend and am here for you through this.”
To ALL of the gals out there, I could really use your help in answering her question. How did you tell your boyfriend or significant other that you had vaginismus???February 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm #11125
I have a really hard time talking about sex and stuff related to it (in person anyway – online is a different story). I just get really embarrassed trying to talk about it. When I first told my boyfriend, I said something like, “Before we go any further (sexually), I want to let you know that I have something called vaginismus. It’s not a disease or anything; it’s just that my vaginal muscles contract, making it very painful for me to have sex.” That might be my idealized version of what I said, but it was basically to that effect. Because I have a hard time talking about those kinds of subjects in person, I also pointed him toward a website that talked about it and asked him to look at certain pages that were designed to explain the condition to men. That website is now gone, but pointing him toward other websites like this one or vaginismus.com would be a good step. If he’s worth it, he’ll read them and be sensitive about it. Then he can ask more specific questions to help him understand your particular situation better. If he doesn’t, it would be a good idea to ask what his thoughts are or if he has any questions. Always better to know that than to constantly wonder what’s going through his mind. Of course, he may not even know what to think at first. Most men probably haven’t encountered something like this before, so I think it’s a good idea to be sensitive about his emotions as well.
I tell ya, when I have children, they will be well-informed about sex and all its complexities, even if all I can do is give them books about it. That may not prepare them for everything they encounter in life, but hopefully it’ll at least make them more sensitive to those who are struggling with things that others find so basic.February 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm #11126
Another suggestion if you have trouble saying words like “vaginal” is to say that “your muscles contract so much down there that it makes sex very painful.”
I was a stage manager for a play called The Vagina Monologues in college, so I got over any qualms I had about that word a looong time ago 🙂August 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm #11754
This is excellent advice Vashalla. When I was dating in college, well before meeting my now husband, I tried not to let it get as far as “the conversation” but if it ever did, I said that I was extremely tight which made sex painful. After saying this, I still tried due to a little “liquid encouragement” with a boyfriend or 2 which ended up very bad. It didn’t work which caused me to cry and him to be very frustrated. I definitely like the idea of being more open like you suggested and if I still had vaginismus and were dating in college right now, I probably would use the last line and explain that my muscles contract so much down there that it makes sex very painful but then note that the condition is highly treatable. Then, like you mentioned, I would probably direct him to the Men’s section of this Forum that answers so many questions that he may have. Great, great post.October 31, 2016 at 5:57 pm #19885
Another thing that I recently read that may be helpful is to bring up the conversation (see above) when not in a sexual situation. If you have had this discussion with a new boyfriend/partner, what has helped you?November 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm #19915
Rachel Hercman, LCSWModerator
Really important topic..many women struggle with this.
I think that one thing helpful about this approach is that it really pushes you to have a mature conversation about sexuality before moving forward to the next step….something that I think would be helpful in all relationships but unfortunately get glossed over pretty quickly.April 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm #20762
I think with my past boyfriends I said pretty much the same thing as Vashalla. I’m quite a direct (and awkward) person so just tried to get it out of the way as soon as possible so we both knew where we stood rather than trying and failing and one or both getting frustrated/upset.
Explaining it as something that just happens and that you can’t really control makes it easier for the guy to get his head around too – so he doesn’t feel like it’s somehow his fault and doesn’t take your body refusing to let him in as you rejecting him. I also made sure they knew that just because we coudn’t have penetration it didn’t mean sex was totally off the cards and we could do other things instead.April 29, 2017 at 3:26 am #20875
This was something I never really mastered in my dating-with-vaginismus days but I will say that one thing that would often happen would be that I’d engage in sexual activities with a partner before intercourse was part of the conversation. Telling people the situation was still hard, but at least then they knew I was a sexual person, which helped them understand how they could still have a fulfilling romantic partnership with someone with vaginismus.
I wish I had been more direct in these encounters. Would love to hear from anyone who was able to enter these situations with more confidence!May 5, 2017 at 11:27 am #20903
Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWModerator
Dear recessivegenequeen, Thank you so much for this post, and your honesty. Talking about sex in general with a new partner can be difficult, and then to discuss your own vagina can be even more daunting. The when, where and how’s to have this discussion are so varied that it is hard to know what to say, when to say something and of course where. Many patients have told me that they usually wind up telling a partner after they have unsuccessfully attempted intercourse, and wish they had the discussion before they had attempted intercourse. They describe feeling very vulnerable after being “disappointed” yet again, and often feel embarrassed and sad. I think you are completely correct that being more direct will be more empowering and leave you less vulnerable. If the new partner is understanding, great. If he isn’t well then……June 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm #21121
Hi! I’m still struggling with this condition, and i find it really hard to go on date and stuff because of it, but i will share how i handled the conversations when it came to it.
The first conversation was with the guy i realized i had some sexual problem, the first time the thing headed to the bed, although i didn’t know about vaginismus, i told him i was a virgin, and he was really surprised since i was already 19. I told him ‘It sacres the shit out of me, i simply can’t do it’. Her first reaction was to think i had some kind of tabu around sex, which is imposible because i love sex with all my heart. Then i found about vaginismus, and told him about it, and told him about the dilators and the all treatment. I think talking about the treatment, gives the solid idea that there IS a solution, and that we can solve this. When us women with vaginismus first hear about the treatment, we are instantly filled with relief to know we can overcome it. Well, they need that relief as well.July 8, 2017 at 10:20 am #21167
Vic123, I totally agree with your point about knowing about a solution being helpful for everyone involved! Logistically it’s helpful because it gives both people the comfort that these challenges aren’t forever in a relationship – vaginismus is fully fixable. But also I think for a lot of men, seeing that their partners are working to fix the problem rather than just refusing to acknowledge it means a lot. That willingness to put in the work to create a stronger sexual bond can bond people together and show commitment!
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