I was 18 years old when my doctor told me that I have vaginismus. I had never heard of it before. It is not taught to us at school in biology or sex education. When I told my boyfriend at the time he had also never heard of it, neither had my mom or my closest friends. So what on earth is this thing called vaginismus and why do I suddenly have it?
Vaginismus is the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles when anything tries to enter or penetrate. It could be a penis, a tampon and it could prevent a gynaecologist from doing a proper examination. Basically, your vagina has a mind of her own, you have no control over the muscles and even if you want to engage in sexual activity she flat out denies you and your partner from it.
There are two types of vaginismus, primary and secondary. Primary vaginismus is when you have never been able to insert anything in the vaginal cavity, from the first time you tried to put a tampon up there, your vagina said “hell no”. Secondary vaginismus is where you have been able to insert a tampon or engage in sex but one day when you try either of those things, your vagina decides that she has had enough and blocks anything from entering. No warning, no red light alert, nothing, just a dead end.
I have secondary vaginismus, I was once able to have sex and wear tampons but now my body says no. Its been a long and tiresome journey to heal and even come to terms with having vaginismus. Feelings of being broken or damaged cross your mind and you convince yourself that you will never get better and you should just resign yourself to the fact that you will live with this condition forever. I kept it a secret because I was ashamed, I didn’t want to make people uncomfortable by talking about my lady parts so only myself and close confidants knew.
I have been to numerous psychologists, doctors and physios and every time I leave I feel more and more violated. The doctors and physios examining your private area constantly, shoving hands and tools up an already angry vagina is not a pleasant experience. I would drive to my physio and sit in my car outside and cry. Some days I would just drive straight past the place and call them saying I can’t make it with tears in my eyes. I hate to admit it but I was happy when the fees became too much for me to afford and so I had to stop going all together.
The hardest part for me was trying to find out why I had it and where did it come from? How can my body go from allowing one thing to denying it the next day? The thing is, no one can definitively tell me “this is why you have it”. They can give me their opinions but nothing concrete. So I did some digging and came up with the idea that not one thing actually caused it, but a number of events in my life caused me to be tense. Being a witness to a paedophile attack, having a pushy boyfriend who wanted sex all time but couldn’t be bothered to treat me with respect and love before and would get angry with me for saying “I’m really tired, can we give tonight a skip?”. Being a highly stressed out person, constantly worrying about other peoples opinions of me, or worrying about my job, money, what I want to do with my life, the list is endless.
So here I am, 25 years old and with a longing to sort my shit out. Its time I moved on from the past, accepted it for what it was and strive for better in the future. I will never truly know what caused my vagina to tighten up like she did and that’s OK. I should focus my energy on getting her to relax a little. I am seeing a new physiotherapist and I have actually been doing the homework she has given me. I still sometimes have a mini breakdown at the thought of someone working in my nether regions but at least I am not cancelling these appointments last minute. I am working on my mind set and learning the art of not giving a f*ck about things unless they are super important like my health, right?
Let’s see how this goes…