what I want you to know: when sex = pain (living with vaginismus)

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by an anonymous reader.

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I have never known sex without pain. From the very first time on our starry-eyed-virgins wedding night, until now several years later, I experience stabbing, gasping pain at any attempts at intercourse. I visited my gynecologist (twice) and had a number of sessions with a therapist to try to figure out what was wrong, but neither of them spoke this word to me, and I had to google my problem to figure out that it has a name: vaginismus. Involuntary muscle contractions that can make intercourse nearly impossible, and in some cases are the cause of unconsummated marriages and infertility.

Don’t tell me to relax—it’s involuntary. And don’t tell me to just go slow and use lube, either—this is a condition beyond the normal first-timer jitters.

It seems like everyone else does sex so easily, but I don’t enjoy it and can’t provide it to my husband. Oh sure, there are other intimate activities besides “insert part A into slot B,” but our world (and church too, actually—read a Christian sex book lately?) focuses on actual intercourse to the point that I feel utterly left out. I also have to fight bitterness against all of the people who seem to be having great sex all the time, and against all the people who told me before marriage that it would be so wonderful and special and close. In my experience to date, sex = searing pain.

One helpful resource I found—the one that gave my problem its name—said the condition is nearly 100% treatable, but I wonder why none of the experts I visited could tell me that and give me the simple reassurance that this problem has a name, is experienced by many other women, and can be overcome. Vaginismus needs a voice.

And now, slowly, I am on the path to healing, but I haven’t yet dared to hope.




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