Vaginismus CAN be cool:
See the positives
First of all, notice we say CAN, not IS.
We are aware of the suffering that many women go through because of vaginismus and failed relationship, we've been there, but we asked the question: is vaginismus the thing to blame for all that unhappiness or is it something else and how we look at it? Also, is it only medical, something which needs medical interventions to treat, is it a dysfunction, something irrational or are there understandable social and personal reasons which contribute to it ?
Before someone thinks that certainly only the authors of this article/website could see vag. as positive or functional (as we've been accused by some, understandably), let us just add here that on top of the many women who personally told us they now look at their vaginismus as a blessing, and can clearly pin down the social causes which led their vaginas to develop it, even in the medical/scientific and social literature there are researchers who come to the same conclusions.
We really shouldn't feel the need for scientific evidence to validate such observations on the positives of vag. or the negative of only looking at it as a medical problem, as a dysfunction, because such observations are quite self-evident, however, this is a short summary of what some researchers think too, for those who need ideas to be validated by someone with a Ph.D. in order to believe them..
Scientific arguments on the need to re-conceptualize vaginismus also as something positive
(PS. You can find whole reference to these studies HERE)
From REISSING 1999:
"Feminist theory conceptualizes vaginismus within a sociocultural context as an integral part of the discourse on theories and perceptions of masculinity and femininity. These theories approach vaginismus without the negative connotations of a sexual dysfunction. This approach disregards the vaginal spasm and the therapy goal of penetrative intercourse, and instead focuses on the emotional issues underlying vaginismus. Some of these issues have defined vaginismus as:
"a feminine way of fighting back to gain the right to be the co-author of the sexual agenda", "a covert signal to protest against the sexual cast of roles", a "defense from emotional pain and unwanted intrustion".
From TIEFER L. (2007):
"Women's sexual problems do not exist separate from human relationships and social context. Clinical experience and research demonstrate that women often come to adult sexual life with limited sexual knowledge, negative body image, the residue of negative past experiences, and confusion as to their sexual entitlements. Remedying sexual problems is impeded by embarassment and fear of rejection. Women frequently evaluate the desire for and the pleasure and intimacy of physical sexual experience in relation to emotional issues such as safety and satisfying their partner. Subjective sexual arousal is linked as much to socially influenced emotions and meanings as to genital stimulation. Research suggests that orgasm, while valued, does not necessarily define sexual satisfaction for women. Because of gendered social reality, women's sexual development and experience cannot be reduced to biological function"
From A New View of Women's Sexual Problems, article by Leonore Tiefer ( p. 74)
From WARD and ODGEN (1994):
"Although the causes of vag. may be seen as multi-dimensional, discourses about the effects, treatment and outcome of this treatment are often grounded within the narrow field of reproduction and medicine. Expanding the arena of health and sexual problems to consider social criteria, power relations or the whole person is uncommon"
"The result of this study on sufferers' beliefs on vaginismus suggests that vaginismus may be a barrier to protect the self and a symptom of a need to protection from physical or emotional pain [and therefore] should be reconceptualized as a psychosocial experience. This reinterpretation removes it from the narrow parametres of health, biological and reproductive discourses, and places it within the wider contexts of the psychosocial and power/gender discourses"
Van der Velde and Everaerd (2001):
From their study on vag. and the experience of threat, it emerged that BOTH women with vaginismus and without vaginismus have increased pelvic floor activity to threatening and sexually-threatening film excerpts.. So their study "provides evidence for a conditioned general defense reaction underlying vaginistic reactions". Vaginismus can be "a functional disorder".
Silverstein J.L. (Origins of psychogenic vaginismus):
"Women with vaginismus see intercourse as violation or invasion. The symptom serves to protect against violation. Most of the women either witnessed or experienced actual physical violation in their histories..."
From Valin's book on Vaginismus. On discussing "Hunger strike" by S. Orbach:
"In a feminist context, the symptoms of anorexia nervosa and vaginismus are seen to be the body's way of protesting that a woman's needs for love, comfort, security and acceptance have never been fully met." p. 94
Vaginismus isn't the problem. The way people look at sex is
Given the importance that sex and intercourse evidently have in all societies, and knowing the terrible toll that young women in particular often pay because of humans obsession with pleasure and lack of real love (being controlled by jealous partner, being cheated on, divorced, violence to women, abuse, rape, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, honor killings, sexual harassment, forced marriages, compliance sex, STI's, AIDS etc...), some of us started wondering if vaginismus isnt after all sending out a powerful message to everyone, like a wake-up call, by making us clamp down that way&
We believe that women with vaginismus actually have powerful, rebellious points to make and they should be listened to, before rushing to fix them..
Vaginas with vaginismus may say NO to sex, but not to Love. So what is the big deal really ??
The heart and mind of women with vaginismus are often very open. Men (and women) with closed hearts don't usually put up with half of the cr.. ,erhm.. pressure and suffering that vag. women get only because of a closed vagina.
It's not fair..
So these are some of the following positive points we give vaginismus credit for:
1. Vaginismus is: a message by your most trustworthy counsellor
First of all, we believe your vagina needs validation as she may be sending out a completely respectable, valid message to you, even a health warning sometimes!
See some of these Messages that your vagina may be trying to tell you , often unheard.
2. IF the message of our vagina is respected, vaginismus COULD be a prevention against some sexual use and abuse and unwanted pregnancyIn a world where sexual abuse and compliance are rampant, and where effects of unwanted, unplanned, unprotected sexual intercourse can be from serious to lethal, Vag. women have the terrific gift of having a very discriminating vagina and MAY avoid getting stuck into bad situations.
Please notice the stress on MAY, COULD and IF here...
We are not saying that Vaginismus can prevent rape, sexual abuse, STI's or even pregnancy etc. Of course it can't. We are well aware as we wrote elsewhere that unfortunately having vaginismus actually causes some women to put up with unwanted sex, to make up for what they feel is a failure on their part.
What we are saying is that IF our vagina's message was listened to AND validated, IF the people in our lives and our beds did the same, then we could just say "my vagina doesn't feel like it, so no sex tonight" and walk away feeling no guilt or shame or pressure to insist.
But sure, as Shakespeare said: "Much virtue in an IF".. and these are big IFs, but that is what we are aiming at, a world where women and men can respect a vagina's message to not want to open...
3. Vaginismus is: the best key to understanding if he's "really into you!"Trust us, vaginismus can help you see if a relationship is worth pursuing. "He's just not that into you" books are so popular to help women tell if their boyfriend/lover is into them, well, women with vaginismus can tell straight away. Just tell a man "I can't have intercourse at the moment, and maybe never will be able to" and you'll see in a second if he's into you or not! :) And you may be surprised!
4. Vaginismus can make your relationship a very meaningful and special one
Women with vaginismus and their often wonderful partners, have the chance to give a hard look at and then become free from society's obsession with sex and its pressure to consider it as THE ULTIMATE goal, this ULTIMATE human experience. So they can dedicate their sexual energy and thoughts to something meaningful, helpful to others too and very satisfying, and therefore build an extremely intimate, soulful relationship.
5. The cure for Vaginismus is: one of the best sex ed. teachers
Usually, by the time a woman reaches the end of her journey of healing from vaginismus (and from what caused it in the first place) she will usually have gathered a wealth of knowledge and confidence regarding her vagina and vulvar anatomy , that often not even very experienced women have.
So, with all these great positives on its side, how come vaginismus causes so much shame and suffering? What is really behind the construction of vaginismus as something so awful ??
Let's have a look...
Who decided that vaginismus is dysfunctional ?
- The role of society in turning Vaginismus from a blessing to a curse -
There is SO much pain and suffering which we can't avoid in our lifetime, from people dying, to accidents; from cancers to earthquakes. We can't help that. Some suffering is part of our lot as humans and can even make us grow into more delicate, sensitive people. But there are a lot of totally avoidable ways in which humans manage to make other humans or themselves suffer unnecessarily, both physically and emotionally, which could be spared, and one of them certainly is vaginismus.
Whenever vaginismus is described, it is often as this big handicap in a womans life, a terrible weight for her partner and overall a curse which has to be fixed as soon as possible, so that real life can go on& Real often meaning sex, boyfriend, marriage, children and so on. The traditional package.
But if we were able for a second to look at Vaginismus very objectively, without pre-conceived ideas about sex, love, marriage (or God even), what would be undisputable is that in most cases a woman with vaginismus can still be sexual, can still be loving and lovable, she is still healthy, she doesn't suffer from any pain (unless she forces or is forced to insert something), she can still be intimate, she can even be maternal without conceiving or without giving birth vaginally, and she can still have plenty of energy and skills to make her life one worth living, full of passion, full of pleasure, AND she can still very much contribute to make this world a better place.
Yet way too many women are suffering and made to suffer terribly around the world only because of their inability to be penetrated. Its insane&
Now, we're not talking light mental suffering here or marital strains. In some countries such as India, Africa, the Middle East and wherever marriages are still arranged and girls marry as virgins, women with vaginismus may be practically raped on their wedding night or following week, by their impatient, ignorant, uncaring grooms.
Add to that the fact that in other countries vag. women are considered to be cheating on their partner (eg. in Indonesia) so they are mistreated or abused because of it. Add the pain and serious problems that some wives experience because they have actually been divorced or cheated on by their husbands supposedly BECAUSE of lack of sex (it's clear the real reason is that the husband is an insensitive, immature xxxx , but unfortunately the woman puts the blame on herself before getting to that conclusion...).
And of course many women are blamed for causing marital unhappiness, or have been and will be sexually abused because of their vaginismus and they will feel suicidal or will feel compelled to make up for lack of sex with things/actions they find humiliating or they will live in misery, and their children may live in misery too.
And all this terrible pain and suffering is inflicted and put up with only because healthy, loving women cannot provide intercourse ???
Really, what is wrong with the world ?
Vaginismic women are the Che-Guevara rebels of sex!
Women with vaginismus are quite cool in fact, if only they realized it& They are among the rare women who have escaped a huge pressure from society or from an uncaring boyfriend, to be sexual or to be sexually exploited or to use sex as a weapon or see it as a central achievement and turning point in their lives.
Women with vaginismus are actual rebels!!
If you think that no men will ever see you as being cool for having vaginismus, you may feel reassured or surprised to hear that it's actually one of our partners who thinks we're really cool and who dubbed vaginismus the Che-Guevara of sex :)
He's very cool too of course, it takes one to know one :)
Unfortunately most women (and men) will not see that there is a rebel in you, giving you this wonderful opportunity to be special and to make a difference and stop so much of that unnecessary suffering we described above...
It's easier to think that vaginismus is a curse because vaginas are saying NO to sex where sex is seen as the ultimate happiness or ecstatic sensation.
But that's not true. Women with vaginismus are NOT saying NO to sex. At all.
They are saying NO to everything thats screwed up and wrong about sex in this society or in their relationships.
That's a big difference.
Vag. women via their vagina are saying
Enough! and NO to sexual exploitation and abuse.
No to sex as intercourse only.
No to sexual compliance.
No to being treated as a hole.
No to playing Mars-Venus games in the bedroom.
No to STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
No to being loved and married for sex only.
No to being dependent on partners who cant or don't love us.
No to being slaves to sex or sex-slaves.
No to painful sex.
No to marital rapes.
No to sex as payment.
No to sex to obtain things
No to prostitution
No to being exploited.
No to sexual myths which fill with fears.
No to being used and lied to.
No to abusive, degrading pornography or to partners addicted to it.
No to sexual ignorance.
No to wrong partners.
No to women portrayed as sexual providers.
No to partners chosen by my family over me.
No to a child that my body is not ready to have.
No to the pressure and manipulations to have sex.
No to the pressure and brain-washing to have children
No to sex as a habit. No to sex as a duty.
No to social norms deciding what a real woman and wife should do and be.
No to medical norms deciding which vaginas are functional.
No to religious norms declaring an unconsummated marriage null and void because of an unpenetrated vagina.
No to virginity having a deadline.
No to sex being what turns a girl into a woman
No to turning Sex into a God
No to marriages based on sex
No to being pressured to sex if I dont feel like it.
No to believing sex is a physical NEED.
No to having my identity linked to my vagina.
No to risking and ruining lives for a moments pleasure.
They say YES to having mutual ideals and common grounds, yes to tenderness, yes to marriages based on friendship, yes to being loved and loving for who we are, yes to treating humans delicately, yes to sex as sensuality, yes to intimacy being the ability to co-penetrate each other's souls, yes to knowing one's vagina fully and unashamadly, yes to passion, yes to sex as a bonus and not as a must, yes to being free to say no, yes to full honesty and lack of manipulation, yes to love, real love...
Vaginismus: the chance of a lifetime to be free to LOVE
Vaginismus gives women (and men) the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be free from the tyranny of seeing sex as the Ultimate human experience, which doesnt mean becoming asexuals or never having sex again or not curing vaginismus, but it gives us the chance of realizing that our lives can be just as fulfilled and our relationships just as satisfying even if we decided not to have intercourse as a form of sex or if our vaginismus wasnt treatable.
This website is based on the belief that determining yours and your partners attitudes to sex will be the most important step in determining whether vaginismus will be a curse or a blessing for you.
We also believe that as long as pleasure and sex (intercourse) are seen as these central, priceless, necessary parts of someones lives, then sexual difficulties such as vaginismus will bring along extreme distress and disappointments.
Most of all, although we are sharing here all sorts of practical advice so that you can be supported to help open your vagina up, and solve this condition, we believe that the best support you can be given is being helped to bloom as a human being independently from whether or not your vagina is penetrable.
This world needs a true sexual revolution and vaginismus is its battle-cry.
Healing from vaginismus is a wonderful opportunity to answer these cries for help and make the world and yourself truly freer. Only focusing on fixing vaginismus instead, wanting to get rid of it as soon as possible, thinking that unless we solve it our lives and relationships will be doomed, may make the rebel in you scream even louder and leave society for your daughters and sisters a worse place.
So give us the benefit of the doubt.
Vaginismus isnt the problem. The way society looks at sex is&
Back to Top
Ode to Vaginismus: a poem
I am a Type A personality
I am smart, driven, and expect I will always find something important
For me to do, my vagina is just like that too!
Who would've knew?
She doesn't respond to cruelty
Or idle threats that may come from others.
In fact she has turned down many suitors no matter
What their lips may have muttered.
Promises of love that quickly turned to accusations
"What is wrong with you?"
Yeah, I can count on her to protect me from those too.
Commando tactics, where once all was romance.
We two have weathered together.
Just because they have a penis
Doesn't mean they can treat me any less
Than the Goddess that goes by the name of Venus
Simply because your balls may go from ready to blue,
Doesn't mean I am obligated to service you.
Here are some lotion and tissues
I am sure you know what to do.
For those who judge and say
"There's something wrong with you."
Have they never thought that sex wasn't the issue?
Mister you maybe shocked to know
Women aren't on this earth to simply to pleasure you.
Women are wise, kind, smart, and shrewd.
My not having sex doesn't mean I have a bad attitude.
We are lovers, mothers, daughters, and best friends to many others.
Our worth can't be measured by what we perform under covers.
I can love you so much without you having to take off your jeans.
I will be your support when times are tough.
I can calm and bless you just with my touch.
Lack of penetration doesn't mean lack of affection
I am not cold, or cruel,
Just because penetration won't happen with you.
At times yes, it even frustrates me too.
Together one day we maybe able to do the horizontal hustle.
But just because I can't right now doesn't mean I have demented muscles!
Love and kindness will see me through
Is that really so bad to share with you?
Kindness and love can be shown in so many different ways.
I don't need to be your
Private fantasy of having a sex slave.
I have an inner light that I only share with you.
Remember that when you think not having sex
Means I don't love you.
Because simply that is so untrue.
Remember a woman has more than one set of lips,
Not just those that rest between our hips.
I can share so much with the lips on my face
I can kiss so well you may think your head is
Floating in outerspace!
Sex certainly isn't insert peg A into slot B.
And frankly my dear that is just fine by me!
Vaginismus is my fault?
Well so long to you.
Have you ever thought it protects me from men whom
Behave like they should be put behind bars in a Zoo?
So many people just don't have a clue.
But my vagina knows what we have been through.
So thank you my dear vagina for all that you do.
By Mary Elizabeth - Submitted August 2008