Sex is pretty much the best thing ever especially with a man you absolutely love.
The first time having sex has many recalling horror stories that eventually led to the best sex of their lives but for some they are yet to reach that point. Fear of sex aka vaginismus is a real condition that many young women grapple with. It affects women both physically and mentally.
Before you dismiss it as a ridiculous self imposed issue, read this lady’s story.
I can’t remember when the fear of my vagina started, I just know I was always really scared of sex and didn’t want to attempt it. My vagina was a no go zone and I didn’t want to look at it. I thought it was hideous.
As a teenager, I’d ‘tried’ inserting tampons… I mean, I’d held a tampon near where I thought my vagina might be. But I couldn’t push it up… I was too scared of what it would feel like. It was this fear that stopped me every time.
I didn’t want anything inside me.I probably tried four times within a couple of years, and each time I failed it was hugely disappointing.
While I’d had one long term partner before, he wasn’t very supportive of my fear of sex and I’d made no progress at all. So from the moment I met my current partner when I was 25, I knew he was ‘The One.’ He was amazing, supportive, kind, the man I’d always wanted to meet.
When I explained I hadn’t had sex before, he was surprised. But as I didn’t know then just how severe my fear was, I just told him I was a bit afraid. The thought of losing him terrified me, but I also desperately wanted to have children one day too. We were sexually intimate in every other way that I felt comfortable with, but it wasn’t enough.
Trying to have sex…
It took three months of being together for me to feel brave enough to even try. When we did, it was catastrophic for me… it was one of the worst moments of my life. His penis pushed against me and hardly went inside, but all I could do was scream. The pain was unreal, like a sharp stinging. I thought that it may have just been ‘first time’ pain, or that I just had a really strong hymen.
That’s when I decided to get it checked out. My partner truly believed that I’d eventually have sex and overcome whatever fear I had. He never once lost faith in me.
Visiting the doctors…
A few weeks after our first attempt, I went to the doctors for an examination (not inside the vagina, she just looked at the outside). She explained that she could see no hymen. She said maybe it was just first time pain and that we should try again with more lube. I was listening to her and nodding along, but I knew she was wrong. To show me where the entrance to my vagina was, she touched it lightly, and it felt so horrible I flinched. Even her brushing against it felt odd, abnormal, weird. I didn’t like it. I knew ‘trying again’ wouldn’t be as easy as that. That first experience had scarred me.
You have vaginismus’…
After a few more weeks of thinking about it and discussing it with my partner, I went back to the doctors and tried to explain my fear. Although it was hard to describe just what I was going through, I told her it was something I thought about all the time.
That’s when she said I may have vaginismus. This meant I was having involuntary spasms of the muscles surrounding the vagina which made sex impossible or excruciatingly painful, and it was caused by fear and anxiety.
She referred me to my local sexual health service and I waited another month before I could see a specialist doctor. I told him all of my family history and explained what I’d been going through. “You have vaginismus,” he said. “And it’s 100% treatable.” I remember feeling relieved to know I had an actual condition and that the pain existed, it wasn’t just in my head. Still, I couldn’t fully believe that he’d be able to treat me. I was so scared of my vagina by this point, I’d almost lost all hope.
Too scared to even look…
During the second visit to see the sexual health doctor a few weeks later, I was given a small compact mirror. I was advised to go to the toilet, take down my pants, open my legs and look at my vagina. Even the thought of this frightened me, and although I was upset, I pulled myself together. Through tears, I did what he asked. I saw part of my vagina, or what I thought was the opening.
Next, he asked me to lie down on the bed so he could examine me. I was nowhere near ready for this. He asked me to put my finger inside my vagina. I tried, but I just couldn’t – this was so massive for me. He put me under so much pressure on only the second visit, and I don’t think he fully understood the extent of my fear. I was so drained from that awful experience, I didn’t go back to see him again.
The vaginismus kit…
At this point, I had no idea where to turn next. I had Googled vaginismus many times, but on one search I came across Vaginismus.com. The site was selling a kit you could buy and get shipped from America, and it was just under £100. It sounded genuine, and by this time, I thought anything was worth trying. The kit included a book, a journal, a DVD, six vaginal dilators (a set of plastic dilators increasing in size which are used to insert into the vagina), lubricant and a cotton wool bud.
First insertion success…
The first thing I read in the book were the many testimonies from women who’d struggled with vaginismus for years but had overcome it. I couldn’t believe vaginismus was so much more common than I’d thought and finally, I started to feel at ease – if they’d overcome it, so could I! The first few sections in the book helped me to understand what vaginismus is and why I had it. I found the step-by-step aspect of the book amazing because I could take the process as slowly as I wanted.
Step four introduced the pelvic floor vaginal exercises, where you contract and release your vagina a specific amount of times a day and in different ways, over a four week period. This gets you used to controlling the pelvic floor muscles to prevent spasms. I did my exercises when on the toilet. Having a wee and stopping mid flow was a great way of testing my pelvic floor muscles and seeing what they felt like to contract. When the exercises were over after four weeks, it was time for the first insertion.
I was really scared. I didn’t want to use the cotton wool bud provided with the kit, as I was more comfortable using my finger – that way I’d be able to feel the way in. On my first attempt, I couldn’t do it. Nor could I on the second. My main problem was in locating my vaginal opening. It was frustrating.
Then, one amazing night, I felt ready enough to try again, with my exercises at hand to ease me in… and I managed to insert a finger fully into my vagina! It was one of the best moments of my life and I cried as it went in. I was actually hysterical and left my finger there for about five minutes. Although I was in shock, I’d never been happier. It felt a bit uncomfortable because it was a new sensation, but it wasn’t painful at all.
Next each dilator had to be inserted and then moved in and out without discomfort, before moving onto the next one. It was a slow process for me. Each new dilator was uncomfortable but it felt so good knowing I was getting my vagina used to bigger things. By the time I was at dilator three, the fear had completely disappeared.
As my boyfriend’s penis was considerably bigger than the largest dilator, I bought a dildo, which I thought of as dilator number 7. It took some time to become comfortable, but when it was, I knew it was time. My vagina was ready, and more importantly, I was mentally ready.
Sexual intercourse and beyond…
A whole year after I purchased the kit, I was ready to try and have sex, at the age of 26. The best thing was, it wasn’t like the last time. I was obviously a little nervous, but I wasn’t scared or dreading it.
And when we did finally try in April this year, almost two years after we met, the penis slid right in. It wasn’t an amazing sensation and didn’t feel overly comfortable, but I was having sex! My partner was actually inside me! Afterwards, I realised I wasn’t a virgin anymore which was the weirdest but best feeling.