Vaginismus: Updated

Painfull intercourse, pain with sexual activity, and pain that prevents sex or makes sex difficult.
hisfountain

Postby hisfountain » Tue May 05, 2009 12:57 pm

MapleSyrup wrote:I FOUND A CANADIAN CLINIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I must totally give Devoted2Dearling a virtual bearhug for an ABC article he posted last year. The article introduced me to Irv Binik (a Canadian University professor specializing in "human sexuality and particularly the sexual pain disorders, vaginismus and dyspareunia." Which theeeen led me to http://www.sexandcoupletherapy.com

The clinic is in Montreal... so still expensive as far as travel costs go, but their sessions only cost $55 per! And any medical treatment is free!

Yay! I can't wait to tell my husband about this place! Hmmm... I'm thinkin' we'll be taking a vacation in Montreal at some point if I can't get this resolved myself over the next year or so.


ETA: The only thing I'm worried about is that they are not intensively focused. They mention it could take "months" of therapy to get past this. I'd need them to specially formulate a therapy plan for me to accommodate the fact that it's a one-shot deal and would have to be no more than a 2-week sessional.


That's great, Maple, but I still would advise you to consider getting of the HBC in the meantime.

Even condoms would be better IMO than what you're going through now.

One thing I learned when I was going through all the junk I was going through, was that I have to me my own health advocate.

Thankfully, I have a dr. now who really listens to me, and even asks me before she puts me on anything.

She actually respects the fact that my body is my body.

Oh, how I wish you were near me, because she treats pain during sex and low SD as a serious condition, and will do everything she can to get to the bottom of it. I know because she's told me.

I don't know how the Canadian health care system works, but if you feel like your dr. is not taking this seriously, you may want to look around for someone else.

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Postby MapleSyrup » Tue May 05, 2009 1:05 pm

hisfountain wrote:
I don't know how the Canadian health care system works, but if you feel like your dr. is not taking this seriously, you may want to look around for someone else.


I love my family doctor. He's friendly and he's a Christian. He's easy to talk to and I'm comfortable with him. That's why I'm taking his recommendation so seriously. If he's personally seen barrier methods fail over and over with his patients, then I have to believe he knows what he's talking about.
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Postby MapleSyrup » Tue May 05, 2009 1:08 pm

blushingwife wrote:
MapleSyrup wrote:[ Why can't guys take a pill of some sort? :roll:


Funny you say that. I just saw this in the news today.
I wonder what effect it has on these men's health and well being though


Hmmmm, interesting. But yeah, I'd definitely want to know what the long-term effects would be. It probably won't be approved for use until long after I have the need for BC anyway :lol:
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Postby blushingwife » Tue May 05, 2009 1:10 pm

DH has girth issues with condoms as well, and it was not easy to find one that did not strangle him. Also, if a man is uncircumcised, he need a bit extra room on top of that, to allow the foreskin to be able to move comfortably.

Tipically, I don't remember the brand he used because it has been a while, but the way he found one, was to order samples of several of the larger size condoms. Even the same brand will have a great variety of fits. Online stores will have bigger selection than your local supermarket.

But yes, condoms suck. We hate them.
That's why we won't use them alone or all the time

hisfountain

Postby hisfountain » Tue May 05, 2009 1:45 pm

MapleSyrup wrote:
hisfountain wrote:
I don't know how the Canadian health care system works, but if you feel like your dr. is not taking this seriously, you may want to look around for someone else.


I love my family doctor. He's friendly and he's a Christian. He's easy to talk to and I'm comfortable with him. That's why I'm taking his recommendation so seriously. If he's personally seen barrier methods fail over and over with his patients, then I have to believe he knows what he's talking about.


I understand, Maple, I really do. I meant no offense.

I guess the thing you have to decide is if it's worth all the pain you're going through.

You said there's no arousal for you, and I'm sure you know that no arousal usually = pain.

I really do wish you all the best, Maple.

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Postby MapleSyrup » Tue May 05, 2009 1:52 pm

hisfountain wrote:
MapleSyrup wrote:
hisfountain wrote:
I don't know how the Canadian health care system works, but if you feel like your dr. is not taking this seriously, you may want to look around for someone else.


I love my family doctor. He's friendly and he's a Christian. He's easy to talk to and I'm comfortable with him. That's why I'm taking his recommendation so seriously. If he's personally seen barrier methods fail over and over with his patients, then I have to believe he knows what he's talking about.


I understand, Maple, I really do. I meant no offense.

I guess the thing you have to decide is if it's worth all the pain you're going through.

You said there's no arousal for you, and I'm sure you know that no arousal usually = pain.

I really do wish you all the best, Maple.


Thanks, hisfountain! I really didn't take any offense. I just didn't want my doctor to come out as the bad guy here.

I truly do appreciate all the advice and support you and others have offered me here. And I value opposing views as the make me carefully consider my choices and will either a) cause me to change my mind or b) become more sure/solid in my current choice. :wink:
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Postby MapleSyrup » Wed May 06, 2009 10:31 pm

Job29Man wrote:My goodness Maple! I just now realized ::duh you have been struggling with "vaginismus", but your husband's girth does not permit the use of normally available condoms! Maybe your issue is not vaginismus to the extent that you think it is! :shock:



I know it definitely doesn't make things any easier. I've gotta be the only woman on the face of the earth who wishes her husband's "johnson" was smaller... :roll:

But I've also been told that a woman's vagina is supposed to be very adaptable so, in theory, any woman's vagina can accommodate any man's penis.

I don't know what to do. Any way you look at it it's going to be a difficult thing to overcome. I don't want to believe that dh is simply "too big" and I'm simply "too small", because that means there's no hope.
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Postby Mr. Rkt » Thu May 07, 2009 3:24 am

MapleSyrup,

I've never quite understood what "vaginismus" was from reading the descriptions in the posts here, so I did some searching the other day. One site said that it was an involuntary reflex of muscular contraction at a moment when relaxation is required. It compared it to the blink reflex, saying that you cannot stick something in your eye without provoking a blink, because the blink is reflexive, and responsive to the approaching object. That made sense to me, because I wear contacts, and have to hold my eye open to either put them in or take them out. It would be impossible otherwise.

According to what I read, successful treatment of vaginismus requires conditional therapy to overcome the "blink reflex" at the opening to the vagina, and can be very difficult and take time because reflexes are so difficult to override. It also pointed out that it's not a problem of size accommodation (that is a different problem that can also be overcome in time), but rather one of involuntary reflexive muscle contractions.

Do you think that sounds like a good description of what is happening in your case? And is the therapeutic regime you are following making any progress at overriding the reflex?
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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 10:15 am

Mr. Rkt wrote:MapleSyrup,
Do you think that sounds like a good description of what is happening in your case? And is the therapeutic regime you are following making any progress at overriding the reflex?


I personally wouldn't have labeled myself as having vaginismus because we could eventually achieve penetration and I don't feel myself clenching. HOWEVER, with my husband's description of "it feels like I'm hitting a wall in there" and the gynecologists physical examination (which was not pleasant, he was not nearly as gentle as my regular family doctor), the gynecologist labeled it as "vaginismus". He said he could feel me clenching.

The "therapeutic regime" I attempted was the use of dilators. I was able to accommodate all 4 sizes within a relatively short amount of time (not all at the SAME time, mind you :P ). However, when we switched back to the "real thing", I found penetration even more difficult than ever. We had abstained from intercourse while I attempted the dilators and since then we have not been able to achieve penetration due to pain (that was over 2 months ago now). We've never gone more than a week and a half without having intercourse in our entire marriage.

Now I'm more afraid than EVER to attempt intercourse, but I'm also more desperate than ever to get back to having intercourse as I am worried for my husband's sake. This is not a good combination, as you can imagine. I honestly wish there was a local sex therapist who could combine psycho-therapy with physical-therapy and guide us to a cure.
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mrsp

Postby mrsp » Thu May 07, 2009 12:04 pm

MapleSyrup wrote:I don't know what to do. Any way you look at it it's going to be a difficult thing to overcome. I don't want to believe that dh is simply "too big" and I'm simply "too small", because that means there's no hope.

This jumped out at me, and I wanted to mention that a vaginal birth really can give hope where there seemed to be none before. I think I had vaginismus as well, along with a DH who was "too big" for me. He even sounds small compared to your DH. We were able to achieve penetration only after working up using fingers (we didn't know about graduated dilators at the time), and even then, it took a lot of time and didn't feel that great for me. I felt like he was hitting a wall. After I healed completely (took about a year--episiotomy+3rd degree tearing) from my first vaginal birth, everything was worlds better! Penetration is no longer painful and slow.

Note: I keep saying "vaginal birth" because my first birth was by c-section and that did not help the size discrepancy at all.

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Postby blushingwife » Thu May 07, 2009 12:28 pm

That's so true mrsp!

I did not have vaginismus, but sex was not easy the first year. The first times did not hurt, which was a happy surprise, but sex was difficult after that, every time we started: difficulty with getting DH in comfortably, painful until I got going. It required patience and "acrobatics" sometimes :lol:

Then our DD was born 12 months after our wedding: 9lb baby born vaginally with no help. What a HUGE difference it was when we ML!! We were in wonder of how great it was and kept repeating "wow, this is so easy!!"

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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 1:00 pm

Oh the irony...

I need to be able to have sex to make a baby, but I need to deliver a baby before I can have sex. :roll: :lol:

So, yay, I get to live with this for the next 1.5-4 years then? :?
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Postby notaugustine » Thu May 07, 2009 2:03 pm

Maple,

You said that your husband doesn't consider breast sex or HJ as sex but he does consider OS to be close.

You also said, if I recall correctly that you are willing to give him OS when he asks but that you don't initiate this on him and he may be frustrated by this.

Please correct me if any part of what I have said is incorrect.

If it is correct, then may I ask why you are reluctant to initiate OS on him?

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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 2:37 pm

notaugustine wrote:Maple,

You said that your husband doesn't consider breast sex or HJ as sex but he does consider OS to be close.

You also said, if I recall correctly that you are willing to give him OS when he asks but that you don't initiate this on him and he may be frustrated by this.

Please correct me if any part of what I have said is incorrect.

If it is correct, then may I ask why you are reluctant to initiate OS on him?


Correct.

Often I just don't remember to initiate. If dh isn't acting "frisky" the thought of performing a sexual act for him just doesn't cross my mind. I'm certainly not feeling sexy these days so alternate sex acts just don't seem to pop up in my mind. I have initiated, but it's also frustrating that dh doesn't tend to reciprocate. It just seems to further remind me that DH's body is able to receive pleasure and mine isn't.

The reasons dh doesn't reciprocate are:
1) If he performs acts on me FIRST, it gets him worked up to the point where he wants SEX and anything else is a disappointment
2) If he waits to act on me AFTER, then he's in his post-orgasm "zombie" state and just gets lethargic and passes out and doesn't want to do anything.
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Postby mamame » Thu May 07, 2009 2:45 pm

Does he perform oral sex on you? Does he bring you to O via manual or oral sex?

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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 2:53 pm

mamame wrote:Does he perform oral sex on you? Does he bring you to O via manual or oral sex?


Does he perform oral sex on me? Rarely

Does he bring me to O via manual or oral? No. Never.
He has once or twice with my Laya but that was prior to attempting intercourse (which ended up not succeeding, so therefore was a waste of time, of course)
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Postby mamame » Thu May 07, 2009 3:41 pm

whoa... what's he doing to bring you pleasure?

Are you sexual encounters all about intercourse?

What kind of foreplay are you having?

What about an oral sex only night? Oral for both of you.. but nothing penetrative.

I am feeling more and more hopeful about your situation Maple! I think there's lots of areas that can be worked on outside of your vagina that will help overall.

I can totally see why you're feeling frustrated. I mean I'm frustrated with my DH in that area and we don't have the extra layer of frustration that you do.

I am thinking your DH needs to own a lot more of this "problem" There's only so much you can do on your own.

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Postby Mr. Rkt » Thu May 07, 2009 5:33 pm

Gotta agree with mamame, Maple Syrup. We've been married 15 years, and PIV works fine for us -- but it takes a while of other things before we can do it. If we tried to go right to intercourse, it wouldn't work, and it would be painful for her.
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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 10:09 pm

So much to learn, so much to overcome.

I personally can't believe we haven't figured things out better in our almost 3 years of marriage.


:roll:
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Postby MapleSyrup » Thu May 07, 2009 10:30 pm

mamame wrote:whoa... what's he doing to bring you pleasure?

Are you sexual encounters all about intercourse?

What kind of foreplay are you having?

What about an oral sex only night?


1) He typically tries to kiss, grope, and fondle. He's defaulted to the Laya since he knows it works to bring me to orgasm. However, orgasm does not mean I'm aroused (oddly enough) and often times even if I orgasm prior to intercourse, sex is still extremely difficult.

2) Yes, all our sexual encounters are all about intercourse. That's what makes things difficult. It had gotten to the point where I didn't even like to let him touch me because I was scared he wanted it to lead to intercourse and I didn't want a) the pain and b) to disappoint him.

3) Foreplay?
In all honesty, neither of us is good with foreplay. DH doesn't stick with anything long enough to get me aroused, and when he tries I become uncomfortable if my body doesn't respond quick enough. I feel awkward. I don't know how to best guide him since I personally don't know how to get my own body aroused, nevermind guide someone else. I've only been able to orgasm with a vibe and even then the build up is so quick that I don't have the time to feel "aroused", it's just over.

4) We could definitely give that a try. We've got nothing to lose.


I'm sure our problems are multifaceted in their causes. My perfectionist tendencies usually tell me that I need to master something or give up on it completely, and this is one of the first things I haven't been naturally good at that I need to force myself to keep trying to learn, that I must keep attempting even though I continually fail.

As I reflect on our problem there are some key areas that contribute to our struggle for a satisfying sexual relationship:
1) Vaginismus
2) Size issues
3) Foreplay ineptitude
4) My insecurity (i.e. not knowing how to guide dh, not wanting to take a long time to be turned on etc)
5) DH's unwillingness to take ownership of this problem as well (afterall, it's my body that's broken, not his)
6) BOTH of our ignorance when it comes to exploring sexual intimacy as something more than the act of penetrative intercourse
7) Possible hormones affecting my libido and arousal response (due to birth control)


With so many nuances to a single problem, I find it difficult to know how best to go about tackling the problem. I'm glad that talking it out here with you guys has allowed me to self-reflect and see the problem beyond a single medical label. Being able to better understand all the factors contributing to the problem should, in theory, better equip me to solve the problem. But, like I said, I don't know where to begin. I don't know how to tackle such a multifaceted, complex problem.

Dilators haven't worked. Counselling hasn't worked. Abstaining, while solves the pain problem, makes us both more anxious and makes us feel distant from one another. Condoms haven't worked. Extra lube hasn't worked. Even a night of focused romance didn't work.

Any other ideas?


We'll definitely give the no-intercourse intimacy night a try. Right now Aunt Flo is visiting, so that will have to wait... but I'll talk it over with dh.
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