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As the scientific literature has it (See for example this online study from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality 2006
) and our long experience in vag. support groups taught us, when a woman has vaginismus, it's not uncommon for a male partner to develop parallel sexual problems such as:

* Erectile Dysfunctions

* Early ejaculation

* Vasocongestion
(a.k.a. Blue Balls, check out a cool article on this topic at ( www.scarleteen.com/boyfriend/fbi_blueballs.html ).

See for instance this study from Singapore by Tan Hui Leng, published a few years ago, that reports that "...in seven out of 10 people who couldn't "consummate" their marriage the man suffered from erectile dysfunction (ED), pre-mature ejaculation or a low testosterone level, or had psychological barriers."

Sometimes these problems were pre-existing but because the couple never had intercourse, they didn't show or sometimes men develop these sexual responses right after the woman treated her vaginismus and is ready for intercourse. This may seem very ironic and frustrating because partners may wonder when will sex ever work and as one girl put it: "whatever happened to those erections that seemed to last a long time when intercourse was impossible!?" :)

It’s all very puzzling, yet, instead of being patologized as they are, those sexual responses could be seen as nothing but a physical expression of the man’s (conscious or unconscious) willingness to protect a woman from potential pain and fear by avoiding penetration or to only allow intercourse to happen fast in order to get it over with as soon as possible and minimize her discomfort.

Other times instead, men will lose their erections fast or won’t be ale to get one in the first place because they feel pressured to perform on command when the woman is fully ready or simply, by the time the woman has finished dilating and feels ready for sex, the man will be 'tired' and have lost his erection.
We've heard a lot of these stories and interestingly, some girls who praised their partners for being patient while they treated vaginismus, now found themselves to be impatient seeing that their partner won't perform!!!

Isn't there a lesson or two to learn ? :)

Anyway, obviously if the problem is serious and causes pain or if the man is worried about some other symptoms, he should get checked by a doctor to rule out any potential problems there.

To lighten things up, watch this funny clip by comedian Billy Connolly on men and the prostate :)

Men with sexual difficulties are fine too!

Whenever any serious health problem is overruled, the man's sexual problems may not a big deal at all for the woman, just like some men don't see vaginismus as a big deal too. Such partners usually can still have intimacy or sexual activity that doesn't involve penetration.

Unfortunately, many male partners with parallel sexual problems to vaginismus are often blamed by sex-therapists to be sustaining a woman’s vaginismus and giving her an excuse not to solve it in the first place, or not to face her psychological walls and if they express no particular desire to keep trying having intercourse, they are even ridiculed or called "avoidant"..

As the story of the commercialization of Viagra and medicalization of Erectile Dysfunction showed, (You may check papers by Eleonor Tiefer on this or our article on the Pink Viagra) it is very profitable to make men feel like they SHOULD be able to be erect more than they are and that they really could do with buying a few medicines, rather than accepting what their body (and penis) is telling them and having a different view of manhood than one linked to their penis' functionality...

A recent 2006 study on Erectile Dysfunction in Partners of Women With Vaginismus , concluded that the use of of a certain drug in situational erectile dysfunction in the partners of women receiving treatment for vaginismus works, and that it "shortens the time of follow-up by 2 to 3 months, avoiding greater emotional stress for a couple already highly compromised with anxiety"..

Highly compromised... So they have a highly compromised couple, (and they assume it must be because they can't have penetrative sex of course..) and instead of really looking into the deeper reasons for that lack of true intimacy and love, they make the man too feel 'wrong', 'dysfunctional' and then offer him a pill to change and get back to being "a man".. ..

Also, the Singapore study found that some men had "LOW testosterone levels"...

But compared to whom... ?

Who is to decide what is the NORMAL level of testosterone for a man, if a man happens to have low levels of testosterone, does it mean he has to go take testosterone injections or what next? Does it mean he should get hormonal injections to turn him into a woman cause he's not manly enough?

Scary... So overall a man with Erectile Dysfunctions linked or matched to their partner's vaginismus are seen as something wrong, problematic and to be fixed too.

We don't agree to that kind of thinking at all...

Men should never be blamed to be perpetuating vaginismus in their partners, since vaginismus is not an illness and if anything, a man should be lauded for somehow matching a partner’s sexuality in order to cause her the least distress.

You may want to read what a male partner of a woman with vaginismus said about being called "avoidant"... Just click on An Interview with a Partner: on men's complacency

Unfortunately, male partners with erectyle problems are usually encouraged to undergo psychological or medical therapy themselves, or to get some kind of medical treatment for their sexual difficulties. Sometimes even women who solved vaginismus starts being impatient with their partners who suddenly find themselves not able to perform sexually just like their partners couldn’t before them. Some felt it was some a kind of subtle revenge and they can get quite impatient or frustrated with them.

This is very sad and ironic.. Just like a woman with vaginismus should be respected as she is and should be under no pressure to fix it or to perform and should not think her relationship with her partner is in jeopardy because of lack of intercourse, in the same way men with erectile dysfunctions should have a right to being left alone and to be understood rather than being treated, poorly judged or pressured to perform.

It sounds like practitioners’ focus on fixing everything often makes them blind to seeing the pressure they place on both women and men. This sex-obsessed society views a man who can’t ‘keep it up’ just as badly or sadly as it sees a woman who can’t ‘give it up’ and this is quite tragic. The guy can be a sensitive, loving, warm, caring partner yet doctors and therapists will try and turn him into a ‘real man’ who can penetrate and have lasting erections and be sexually demanding or aggressive. Some men will feel all this pressure and perform even more poorly or get turned off by sex altogether. Some will not and will get to believe that something is physically wrong with them and that they have to learn to be more aggressive, masculine and demanding sexually, so they will co-operate and get ‘treated’.

As the male partner, you can ask yourself whether you too can respect the message your body is sending you or whether you want to be a copy-cat and just shut your penis up and make it ‘behave’. Whatever you decide, hopefully you will not accept any therapist’s advice or Viagra prescriptions lightly and you will think with your brain first.

There is a high chance that early ejaculation or E.D. could solve themselves naturally as you and your partner slowly take away the focus from intercourse and/or from orgasm and enjoy each other’s bodies and each other’s presence in other ways. Removing the pressure to perform will help both of you.

So before trying out medicines or stressful therapies we would advise you to take your time, don’t put any pressure on each other to ‘perform’, take sex as it comes (or as it doesn’t) or spend time just reconnecting in ways which aren't necessarily sexual..

Finally, there is a myth to break about erectile dysfunction being .. a "dysfunction".
In Tantric sex, for instance, it is described how a woman and a man can have intercourse even when the man’s penis is not ‘hard’. The woman can still insert a flaccid penis inside her and move around it and sometimes this will naturally lead a penis to harden up. It doesn’t have to be a big deal at all. And not managing to have intercourse should not be a big deal in the first place too of course.
Despite how men are brain-washed to believe they need intercourse to be totally satisfied, you may find out that doing something pleasurable where you’re both fully together, present in the moment and sharing a lot of yourselves at deep levels, can be just as satisfying for both and go a long way too.

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DISCLAIMER: This site is not designed to provide medical advice. All material is gathered from the experience of hundreds of women who experienced vaginismus but it is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Please review the information contained on vaginismus-awareness-network.org carefully and confer with a health care professional specialized in vaginismus, as needed.