Progress seems to have stalled..

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  • #21318

    rooddood
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new to this community and wanted to get advice from couples who have overcome Vaginismus. My wife and I were going through a self-treatment course together, but things seem to have stalled.

    Basically we’ve been together for 9 years now (married for 6) and while we were able to have intercourse in the past, I always sensed that it was difficult and uncomfortable for her. Progressively over the years it worsened, and about 2-3 years ago we basically stopped trying to have sex.

    About a year and half ago, I learned about Vaginismus and bought the book. However, I’ve always felt a bit of procrastination and reluctance from her to dive into the course. We’ve read a good part of the book together up to the Kegel exercises, but after that, she seemed reluctant to continue further (especially the stage involving dilators.) She didn’t really like the Kegels, and I think inserting dilators makes her uncomfortable which I respect.

    However, it’s been over a year now since we began the program, and I’m trying to figure out how to move things forward without pressurizing the subject.

    It’s difficult to explain; I think she really does want to have sex with me and is sincere in wanting to resolve this. We also love each other very much, and on every other level our marriage is doing well. I also think she saw a little improvement after doing the Kegels and is open-minded in continuing. However, she seems to keep stalling and I don’t really understand why.

    (Sorry this may be graphic) Basically right now her plan is to just occasionally practice sex with foreplay and gently trying intercourse with her on top. Since she seemed really uncomfortable with the dilators, I agreed to try it this way, but I don’t think it’s really working so far, and I don’t think she’s very motivated to keep trying. The dynamic makes me pretty unmotivated too, and often I’m too discouraged to try either. So it often becomes a cycle where we both forget about it and weeks turn into months without any change.

    I’ve suggested couples therapy, but she doesn’t want to do that either. She says she would like to try to fix it herself and is generally very skeptical of therapists. So I’m pretty stuck on what to do next.

    Does anyone have any advice? It’s been about a over a year now since we started the book, but little has changed. I love her so much and want her to feel comfortable having sex with me. And I promised to be with her for the rest of my life, for better or worse, and I will keep that promise. But I also don’t want our marriage to become permanently sexless. I just can’t live with that. So I don’t know what to do.

    Feel free to ask any questions; I’m not shy to answer. And I’m happy for advice from anyone. I just want to find a way forward so we can have a healthy and happy sex life.

    Thank you so much!

    #21335

    Hi Rooddood
    Vaginismus can be so over whelming. I think it is great that you are being so supportive and patient.
    My advice is to begin dilation with the smallest dilators in the set. We tell our patients to try and dilate for 10 minutes each day. We do not recommend using the larger dilators until she is comfortable inserting the smaller dilators.
    The same thing goes for intercourse. We feel that she should be able to comfortably dilate with the dilator that is one size bigger than your penis before attempting intercourse.
    In addition, we often give vaginal Diazepam suppositories to further help relax tense vaginal muscles.
    I hope this is helpful to you and your partner.
    Do not despair or lose hope. Vaginismus can be treated!

    #21342
    recessivegenequeen
    recessivegenequeen
    Participant

    Hi rooddood! I wanted to chime in here because what you’ve said about your wife resonates with ways I have felt before I went through my own vaginismus treatment. For several years I felt much the same way: I had found out about vaginismus and even had a pretty good understanding of what it would take to fix the problem. But I did nothing – I couldn’t even get past the first couple of chapters of Dr. Pacik’s book because it was jarring and difficult to face to read about what getting treated would entail from me, personally. I continued to date men who were at least somewhat understanding about my situation. Things felt fine.

    But then I got a new boyfriend – someone I really liked, someone who was emotionally mature and caring but also pragmatic enough to know what he needed from a relationship. So a few months into dating me, he told me that we couldn’t stay together if I didn’t try to do something about this problem. I didn’t have to fix it, necessarily; he had read up about the treatments and knew they had a very high chance of success. But I did have to try.

    This was devastating for me. Every bit of self-loathing I had ever felt or imagined was being told to my face. In a way it was my worst nightmare. But the most surprising thing was that it was the impetus I needed to go ahead and try. To seek treatment. To, eventually, have sex with that man. To keep having sex with that man until it was something I enjoyed and that brought us closer.

    I can’t know what your wife is thinking or feeling, but if I had to guess, I would say that it seems like psychologically your wife isn’t ready yet. It’s a very scary thing to actually try to fix your vaginismus, because there’s the possibility that you’ll fail, and then what will that mean? It’s much easier to go on with your life, knowing in the back of your mind that if you really wanted to do something, you have the option to try harder. But you can watch your whole life pass by if you don’t find the reason to start now.

    It’s a scary thing to work through your vaginismus. For a lot of us, it opens a locked vault filled with feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy and fear that we wish we could just leave locked away. But there’s so much waiting on the other side once you can conquer those things. Maybe your wife needs to look inside that vault and realize it’s time to let those feelings go. Maybe she wants something (like children) and will use that desire to push through what’s holding her back. Maybe she needs a little push from you (a compassionate but firm one, like my partner gave me) to start walking over the bridge that swings above that frightening canyon of self-doubt and dissatisfaction. But every step will be worth it. Because there’s so much to discover on the other side.

    #22232
    mm
    Heather34
    Moderator

    Hi rooddood. 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 wife 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 would be happy to email back and forth with your wife and support her in this way as someone who has had vaginismus and gone through it. This, too, may help get things moving. In addition, I so hope she will also read the Forum and it helps her. Please know you both have my support.

    #22288

    Bragibbs
    Participant

    Hey Rooddood,

    I totally understand what you are going through. I am also currently going through Vaginismus with my partner.

    As a man, it is such a defeating feeling that you must be going through. I mean, you are doing all you can to ease the situation and make progress possible, but the most fraustrating thing is that its not all in your hands; that part is what made me go crazy the most! When you are trying as much as possible to open the doors for your partner as much as possible but they just seem reluctant to join you! Its heartbreaking. It makes you feel powerless as a man. Ive spent so many nights crying and asking God why me?

    I wish I could give you some words of encouragement right now, but all I can tell you is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
    I feel like that is the one thing that we need to know and hear the most during this whole process. Because yes everything is about her, but there isn’t any “treatment” to help the guys through all this as well, thus we feel lost and alone. So I remimd you again; YOU ARE NOT ALONE MAN!

    I hope you stay strong man!

    #22302
    recessivegenequeen
    recessivegenequeen
    Participant

    To both Bragibbs and rooddood I want to say that I am really impressed with the strength you have both displayed in supporting your partners with vaginismus. As a woman who’s gone through treatment of vaginismus myself, I am sympathetic to the fact that the women dealing with this issue need a lot of support and get a lot of the attention as treatment is happening, but that it nonetheless takes a great toll on the male partner in the relationship when sex isn’t possible but they feel there is nothing they can do to fix the problem, especially if their partner isn’t ready for treatment. Please know that you are doing something that is so appreciated by your partners – even if you aren’t seeing results immediately, the women you love know that they have your support, which can inspire them as they seek a solution to their problem! The world needs more men like both of you.

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