I have painful intercourse and I’m pretty vocal about it.
It’s not a shout out loud on the roof tops sort of thing but it’s definitely a topic I find myself slipping in to casual conversations. “Well, ever heard of vaginismus?” I’ll say to the new friend who was idly asking me what my new article was based upon.
My body does not hate me and I don’t hate my body. Nonetheless, in the past year my vaginismus has seeped into my mental stability. My anxiety has sky-rocketed, which has resulted in even more of a negative experience with penetration and my depression has contributed to various issues within my romantic partnership. We — my body and I — have been working through it one day at a time but sometimes, it just takes a little bit of extra help.
During a routine physical with my general doctor, I was recommended a sexual dysfunction doctor and immediately scheduled an appointment. There are several doctors that can provide treatment for those with the diagnosis and since vaginismus can affect several parts of the mind and body, visiting several specialists can help aid the process while also practicing self-care programs. For my appointment with my specialist, I was lucky enough to have two additional resident doctors come in and talk with me. I was seen by a gynecologist, psychologist, and a research specialist. For 60 minutes we discussed vaginismus, abuse, alternative practices, and meditation.
The appointment began with simple questions about my sexual background and first experiences with sexual intercourse. Since I write and document much of my journey, I was able to give clear and definite answers during the consolation. Discussions about medication, birth control, and possible side affects were also observed in my first appointment. I was overwhelmed with hope. For the first time in my life, my vaginismus was being taken seriously. These doctors were the answers to all my anxiety-ridden and sex-deprived concerns.
After visiting with the three doctor’s in one room, I sat with each of them privately. The resident gynecologist met with me about protecting my PH balance, vaginal hygiene, lubricants, irritants, and allergens. The most prized part of the appointment was sitting down with the psychologist, something that I cannot fit into my budget currently and someone who I never thought to go to. However, here I was, talking openly and unashamedly about my anxieties with vaginismus. The psychologist recommended a practice of sensual touch and Sensate Focus Exercises which are step-by-step approaches to overcoming anxiety about sexual intercourse with your partner. Meditation and stress management were other topics that we covered while discussing the mental set backs with vaginismus.
In this particular center, I will be seen every two weeks for 30 minutes. I will have an examination and begin pelvic floor exercises that can aid me with pelvic muscle control and relaxation.
Many people who are diagnosed with vaginismus feverishly seek out cures — understandably so. As a vaginismus veteran, I recommend a specialist center that primarily sees individuals with a sexual dysfunction. All of the gynecologists that I have seen over the years did not make me feel as comfortable and understood as a doctor who clinically researches female pelvic health issues. For once, I did not feel completely disregarded in the presence of a physician but instead felt hopeful for the possibilities in the treatment for my mind and body.