Letter from a husband of a vaginismus sufferer
March 25, 2016 at 1:12 am #18892
My wife and I have been married for 12 years and been together for 18 years, since we were 16, so you can figure out we are in our mid 30’s. We have two children, a daughter who is six and son who is three. We have a strong marriage and love each other dearly. Our sex life has always been fulfilling with no issues. I work away in the construction industry which has me away from my wife for 40 days at a time and I have always enjoyed being intimate with my wife and I crave her attention and intimacy, she is the most amazing woman and I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life. After the birth of our son in 2013 and when my wife felt ready to again engage in penetrative sex, things were not normal. My wife said it was hurting, almost like she wasn’t lubricated enough to which she has never had a problem before with self-lubrication, it was burning, go slowly when entering her vagina. Not having had this before we were both like, oh ok, maybe this will get better, maybe it’s because we have had another baby and things take a while to return to normal. This was approximately 8 months after bub was born, she had caesareans with both our children so we were not rushing into things, we had engaged in oral sex and digital penetration in this time but not actual intercourse. I’m a very caring husband and accepted that things will take time and im 100% ok with this. We started buying lube and using that and although we always managed to have sex it was not as care free as it used to be and my wife was still mentioning that there was some soreness and burning sensations to some degree. As time went by I noticed that her interest in being intimate with me was waning, even things like kissing and touching. This was frustrating because I didn’t know what was wrong and maybe she just didn’t want to be with me any more, it made my time at home stressful, not just stressful for me because I wanted to be intimate with my wife, but our whole relationship started to have angst etc and that is not good in a relationship. Our time in bed was frustrating and we went to bed a lot feeling frustrated, mad, angry and I honestly hate that, I am a firm believer that we should never go to bed angry or upset with each other. Over the next two years our sex life dwindled and it became incredibly frustrating and I’d given up on ever having a fulfilling sex life, I am not interested in having sexual fulfilment by other women and my wife is clear on that, she never has to worry that her husband will stray, I still love my wife and just because the sex has been nearly non-existent doesn’t give me a reason to go elsewhere, it just means that we have to manage this and work through it together. My wife has always had her pap smears and I have always encouraged her to do so, we have a fantastic doctor who we both trust, in her last check up with her and after her pap smear the results all came back clear as normal so we knew there were no other obvious reasons or infections for this, so we have kept working at it however it hasn’t improved and the frustrations have continued. Two weeks ago my wife made an appointment with another female doctor at our clinic who has a women’s health morning at the practise and she did an examination and after going through a series of questions and the examination she advised my wife that she has vaginismus. We both haven’t heard of this but after researching these past two weeks all the symptoms and hallmarks of vaginismus, it is clear that this is what she has, and looking back at the signs its now very clear to us. In the past my wife has had on occasions where our doctor could not insert the speculum, impossible penetration when attempting sex, tampon insertion sometimes causes discomfort, burning sensations, loss of interest in sex and intimacy in general, the list could go on and on as you all probably know. The best thing now is that we have a path forward and a treatment plan in place, she has had an appointment with her pelvic floor physio and she has advised that we need to order some vaginal dilators so that my wife’s pelvic floor / vaginal muscles can be retrained to know its ok to be accepting of penetration. She also has an appointment with a councillor who specializes in sex. We are so happy that vaginismus is extremely treatable and success rates are nearing 100% with dilator and counselling. My wife has my 100% support and I’ll be right by her side the whole journey. Our doctor has advised that a lot of couples move forward to an even more fulfilling sex life after treatment for vaginismus. As her husband I have been researching on what I can do to help her through the treatment and I have now set out my own plan on what I can do, along with things like attending her counselling sessions if requested, assisting with dilation if and when she wants to involve me, remaining intimate in other ways, massages and just general support. Thanks for reading.March 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm #18893
Hi azmak4. Welcome to the Forum and thank you so much for your post. I am so, so happy that you have found this Forum and please know that you and your wife have our support 100%! I am so sorry for what you guys have gone through but am very, very happy that you guys have an excellent plan and path forward to treat vaginismus and will overcome!!! I had vaginismus for several years and it was very hard to involve my husband in treatment initially as I always viewed it as my problem alone to resolve and felt like if I “fixed” my problem, then everything would then be ok. I ended up having the Botox treatment program with Dr. Pacik with progressive dilation along with counseling and, only then, really realized that it was our issue to approach and resolve together, which we did. Concerning using the vaginal dilators, I allowed my husband to assist with this and, although it felt weird at first, it actually brought us closer as a couple. I was able to learn to trust him that much more and he was able to realize that something was able to be inside of me pain-free and without the normal wall of resistance that we always had. Do you know what type of vaginal dilators your wife is going to order? I have used the Pure Romance as well as Glass dilators and really like both. The Pure Romance ones, in particular, are of a softer silicone material and they have handles which makes insertion, removal and reinsertion that much easier. I also like the Glass ones as they are shorter in length and more comfortable to do other things while dilating. Concerning seeing a counselor who specializes in sex, I think this is so excellent. As part of his treatment program, Dr. Pacik incorporated counseling and it was extremely beneficial and allowed both my husband and I to really open up to each other about how we felt and the things we could do to have a fulfilling sex life together post vaginismus. Please, again, know that you have our support 100%!!!March 28, 2016 at 3:00 am #18923
Thanks for your reply, yes we are hopeful for a complete recovery and after researching it certainly isnt unrealistic to hope that happens. im not sure which dilators my wife is going to order, her pelvic therapist and our doctor have both given her some sites to look at and order from. We are in Australia so i presume it will be from a local australian site. i think she did mention that the ones shes looking at have handles to help assist.
CheersApril 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm #18943
Your story is one that we see all the time at our center. It is really unfortunate that it took over two years for someone to direct you to the right place for treatment.
Often times when there is some type of change to the vaginal tissue, like child birth, or going on birth control, or breast feeding, and initial penetration is painful, a women’s body’s natural reaction is to tense the muscles inside the vagina to protect it. This creates a viscous circle, as with every repeated penetration attempts with pain, the body will tense more, and that will then create more pain. This is why we often see patients state that in the beginning the pain was “tolerable” but after a while it became “unbearable”. The key to treatment is to stop the cycle, and reverse the vaginal damage, and start to reintroduce penetration in a slow controlled manor without pain. For some that will include topical treatments, dilators,physical therapy and/or sex therapy. The good news, is that this cycle is reversible and for most women we can get them back to their full functioning with no pain.
It sounds like you have found good providers who know how to treat vaginismus.
Keep up your support, and we are also here if you need any other advise.
MelissaApril 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm #19059
Hi Azmak. Checking in to see how you and your wife are doing? Sending you and her our total support!!!
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