Vaginismus

Appalled. I am APPALLED at the lack of information out there about vaginismus. I have a butt-load of books about sex (what with them being two of my favorite things); most give a short paragraph and description, but a number of them don’t have *anything* about vaginismus at all. Bullshit, people, especially for something that is estimated to affect 2% of the female population in the United States. That may not sound like a lot, and that something with such a low percentage would go under the radar of most people. Schizophrenia affects 1% of the population and we all sure as shit know what that is.

So, what the heck is it, you ask? It’s the involuntary clamping down of the PC muscle in a woman either causing extreme pain when any penetration is attempted or the complete inability for any penetration at all. This can be the insertion of a cock, dildo, finger, tampon – anything. It’s further broken down to primary and secondary vaginismus. The former means penetration has never been possible while the latter happens after a period of penetrative ability and is usually brought on by pelvic inflammatory disease, a yeast infection, sexual assault or other trauma.

No one seems quite sure of the causes for primary vaginismus, but certain beliefs about what sex is and what it will feel like (it’s dirty/wrong and it will hurt), what women’s roles in sex are, that sex equals penetration, and not knowing that most women will feel pain during intercourse if not turned on enough can all contribute to vaginismus. Sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse can also cause it. There can also be no apparent cause – no trauma, a great relationship with the rest of their body and sexuality, and all-round good health. The world is a tricky place.

One of the greatest contributors to vaginismus is the fear and worry about pain once penetration has been tried and found to hurt. A woman can become more anxious and less aroused, making pain a greater possibility the next time around.

Some women with vaginismus have no pain or muscle cramping when going to a gynecologist or inserting a tampon – there seems to a be as great a variance in women with vaginismus as there is among everyone else – fancy that! The great unifier is pain during attempts at penetration of either a cock or a dildo.

The usual treatment involves some counselling to deal with the fear and worry, any past traumas contributing to it, and to learn about relaxation and body sensation techniques – all wonderful things. And this is the place where toys come in to the picture. The second part of treatment usually involves using dilators, sets of dildoes of varying sizes – you start with the smallest and work your way up. A lot of the kits out there seem to be made out of hard plastic, which doesn’t seem that great to me, comfort-wise. Silicone – my sweet, precious silicone – seems the best to me, but I’m also incredibly biased what with my major crush on it.

I have personally had vaginismus twice in my life – the first time I attempted to fuck my 16 year-old boyfriend did not work out as well as I thought it would. At first I just thought I had a tough hymen so I clambered on top of him and made gravity my friend. And holy shit did it hurt. Our next sexual attempt was made in the oh-so-erotic missionary position, me dry as a bone and freaked it would hurt – and he couldn’t budge in an inch. So, off to the doctor I went, thinking I was somehow horribly disfigured and would never be able to have sex. This was the doctor who was there when I was born and now I was going to talk to him about how I was having trouble fucking. Eep. Bearing down with me on my back, my legs in the air and bent at the knee with lots of lubrication was his advice, and solid advice at that. I went home, tried it out, and it worked.

Years went by and everything was hunky dory in Vagina-Town until I got a really bad yeast infection coupled with being allergic to the medication. I woke up in the night to find my vagina clenching repeatedly to push the goo out of me – so fucking painful. Once the infection was all cleared up, me and the then-boyfriend could go back at it, but once we tried I found myself in the same situation I had been in those first few times. NOTHING was going to get in my cooter, according to my cooter. I remembered dear Dr. Pound’s advice about bearing down and lube, and I was good to go the next time ’round.

I can remember the intensity of that pain, and the fear that I would never be able to have “normal” sex (in my seventeen-year old mind) and that something was terribly, terribly wrong with me. I would like to share my suggested additions to the above-mentioned treatment of counselling, relaxation and dilators, all of which I firmly believe in as well.

First off, I would suggest masturbation – tons of it. Touching your body all over, but nothing inside of you. No exceptions. Nothing. Go crazy on the clit and lips, but don’t try any kind of penetration at all. I want you to love the sexiness of your body and the pleasure you can feel through it without even considering vaginal play.

Tied to this, I would also suggest getting massages, swimming, buying a vibrator – anything that can change the way you feel about your body and make you focus on how it feels for a specific length of time. Every one of our bodies are rational hedonists – maximum pleasure with minimum pain – and following that when it comes to sex stuff is the best way to go. Focusing only on the goal of getting a specific thing into your vagina, whether it’s a penis or a dildo, makes the whole exercise about something other than your pleasure, and doing anything that’s sexual that doesn’t include your pleasure gets you uninvited to my birthday party.

If you have a partner or a fuck buddy, being sexual with them would be a great next step, providing the same “no penetration” rule is followed. Oral sex, so much cunnilingus your partner’s jaw demands over-time pay would be wicked. This will provide great stimulation and good-times, plus challenge any beliefs/fears around how you taste/smell/feel. Let me tell you: PUSSY TASTES GREAT.

When you’re feeling great about your pussy and yourself (depression, low self-esteem and a lowered sex drive are all part of the psychological impact of vaginismus) you’ll most likely want to start in on some penetration. I would go for something in a dilator set, or the Silk Small (it’s .8″ by 4.4″). And just as my doctor told me, I will tell you.

Penetration is made out to be the be-all and end-all of sex acts in our culture and many see it as the only “proper” way to have sex. Just remember that that is a seriously fucked-up way to view sex and that as long as you’re having a good time with whatever level of penetration/no penetration you’re at, it’s better than being a close-minded, unimaginative fucker.

4 Comments »

  1. brokenvee said

    I absolutely loved this post. It’s got some great information, and great advice. I completely agree that it is appalling that vaginismus isn’t more widely known. It’s OK to tell the world about cancer and schizophrenia, but heaven forbid you tell people that sometimes vaginas don’t always work the way they’re supposed to. As a fellow sufferer, I spent years suffering in silence, thinking I was the only freak in the world. I was so relieved to hear that it has a name, and that I’m not alone.
    I love the idea of equating vaginismus treatment with pleasure, not pain!! This is the only way to deal with it. Your comment about masturbating like a fiend made me laugh out loud, but it is so true! My favorite thing, by far, is the very last bit you said. Sex is thrown at us from every angle, every single day. And that sex without penetration is laughable, because it’s not sex at all. When I was with my ex, we were intimate in all kinds of ways, but I cried all the time nevertheless because, in our minds, we weren’t having sex. But like you said, that is a seriously fucked-up way to see it. Thanks for your post!

  2. vgirl29 said

    LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this post! I’m off to try some of the advice!

  3. Your blog might be my new favourite blog ever.

    • sextoys101 said

      Thanks! Sorry I don’t have the time to update it anymore. 🙂

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