Sex, Love, and Pain: Living With Vaginismus
We fumbled around under the covers until finally, he slid inside me. I had lost my virginity at seventeen and the pain was unbearable. Because of toxic tales that girls whisper to each other and the lies we are told about our bodies and sex, for months I tolerated the pain before I even knew anything was wrong. Wasn't it supposed to be unbearable for women? Wasn't I supposed to feel shame?
After many frustrating nights later I went to my mom. She gave me two tubes of lube, told me the details about foreplay, and asked "have you stuck a pillow under your ass" but when all else failed-we made a gynecology appointment.
"Vaginismus" I can remember the doctor describing it in cold medical terms and the way it went over my head; involuntary contraction of muscles around the opening of the vagina. But all that really meant in my mind was that I was broken. It took me years to shake that mentality and sometimes it still haunts me.
I wish I could write that after learning I had vaginismus I became empowered in my sexuality, that I took charge of my body and sex life, commanding my sexual desires and that I quickly learned how to ask for what I needed for my body to relax in order to reduce the pain. That sex is pleasurable now and that I live a painless sex life.
All I can say is that I am working on it. I have had my fair share of sexual partners, many of them I held back tears and shoved my face in pillows to hide the pain and feelings of brokenness. Feelings that I wasn't really a true person if I couldn't get this right. Punishing my body for the trauma that it couldn't control. Years of thinking I deserved the damage. Using dilators to try and fix me for partners who were too frustrated to stay. Sobbing over the tearing that each thrust brought leaving me empty, throbbing and emotionally detached.
However, I do know there is hope. It has taken hard work- the practice of communication and learning my body but I have had amazing sex. Mind-blowing, penetrative sex. If allow myself the opportunity to emotionally open up, use my voice to say when, how far and no.
I am learning to be okay with the times that sex is not going to happen and to trust myself.
Having vaginismus doesn't end your love life, it doesn't make you broken or wrong, and it doesn't make your body sick. Not talking about it hurts more than the sexual pain.
I tell remind myself that by explaining it each time I release myself from the trauma. Because I am worth it. I am worth great sex!