Testimonials & Feedback
How the Vag. Awareness Network has helped
The following feedback is published with the authors' permission.
Real names may have been changed to protect these women's privacy.
We update this page pretty often so come back soon to read new ones
Thank you to all the women who took their time to express their gratitude.. This website has been created with women like you on our mind.
I just found your website today, and after reading the articles and stories, I can't even begin to describe the sheer relief I feel. I keep breaking out in tears, because I finally understand what has been happening to me for so long and that it happens to other women as well. Thank you so very much! I feel like I've been given the best gift of my life. =)
I cant tell you how happy i am to have found your website! I sort of figured out i had vaginismus after seeing it on tv (embarassing illnesses spa or something like that). I've been living with this condition for many years, but i didnt really know it had a name and that other women had it. I love your website, because many of my own toughts are expressed, and it pretty much made me cry seeing them written on the screen . This is the first "sexual related" website i could read without being offended. The only time i had the courage to talk to a therapist about it, she told me my husband was going to cheat on me!
My very favorite parts on your site are : Misconception #4: Vaginismus is a sexual disfonction and Vaginismic women are the Che-Guevara rebels of sex.
I read them often, as they give me courrage and inspiration on days I feel a little weird or abnormal...
I have susbscribed to the forum, and hope to be able to share with other women on the subject. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband in spite of vaginismus and I have no desire at all to "cure" it. I hope i might be able to give encouragement to others.
Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. Your website is truely a safe, comforting and informative place for women.
Typed by phone
Dear team, i have just found your website and feel that i have just stumbled across a real oasis of truth and wisdom. I very much wish i had seen it 15 years ago as a teenager, my life and my marriage would have taken a very different course. I strongly approve of your emphasis on vaginismus prevention, and i can hardly believe i haven't read anything like it before. I have just started self treatment and have had some small success. I'm nearly 30 and just starting to believe that my vagina can be a source of joy, and not restrict or dominate my life as it has so far. Thanks very much.
I want to thank you for your "Guide to a smooth gynecological visit and pain free Pap-smear Test". This isn't only helpful to women with Vaginismus, but to all women. I'm going to use many of your recommendations to write up a check list that I will go over with my new doctor and make sure that we agree on each and every aspect of the exam before I will let her touch me. This "touch exam" will be scheduled at another date once I feel secure my needs will be met. Otherwise I will find another doctor.
J. - USA -
Hello ladies, I'm sitting here in Dublin, Ireland on a balmy night, enjoying a well deserved glass of rose wine - I'm emailing you because I want to thank you for what you've done for me in literally two days, that doctors and psychologists could not cure in six years. It is true what you say, but I never would have believed it - vaginistic women are the Che-Guevaras of sex. What a blessing - not a curse. I am 36 years old and could never insert anything into my vagina - heck, I barely found the opening until 2003. I was sent by my doctor to a sex therapist who said I was just "bitter" about sex and coupledom in society and could physically live and survive without sex, and also to a gynacologist who uttered the tiresome cliche - "small opening, very hard to find"... ... I am both exhilarated and angry; I can make love to someone now. I know I can. I've been fed such awful war stories about sex and what it is down the years. I'm not swallowing those anymore; I am so excited about the future. It's going to be great.
I cannot thank you all at the VSN Team for what you've done for me. Just that little mental switch did it all.
I love you all so much. We are amazing women, and without realising it, we have been chosen to change the sexual nature of the world. (Read the rest of her story in our section "Success Stories" ...)
I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your site. I really do think you've done a great job. I've not yet got over my vaginismus, because I discovered it only a couple of weeks ago, but that's beside the point. What I really want to say is that, even in the couple of weeks since I discovered this condition, I've learnt and changed so much. Before finding your site I had lived with this condition for so long.
Of course, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what, because my partner didn't pay much attention to my discomfort and because no gynacologist was capable of diagnosing it! So I had come to the conclusion that either I was a freak or that it was normal to feel pain, so I should just put up with it. Needless to say that this only made things worse and when my vagina closed up completely, I decided to try finding information about my symptoms on the Internet and that's how I found your site.
Thanks to feminine intuition and chance. Now of course I realize that if my partner had been a little less selfish and the gynocologists had been a little more professsional maybe I would never had reached the point of closing up completely and I'm extremely angry about it because it means that I have lost so much precious time that will not come back. I'm now 30 and want a baby, but I know that the best of my fertile years are gone. I've by no means given up and have no intention of doing so. I'm working on my vaginism on my own and so far the gradual dilation and systematic desensitization method is working. Your site has helped me understand so much and I really do believe that half of the key to solving vaginism is understanding it.
I understand now that:
1 This condition exists and it has a name. I'm not a freak nor is it normal to feel pain; the only reason nobody diagnosed the problem was that they were all ignorant about it!
2 Vaginism consists of a conditioned reflex due to the association formed between penetration and pain and between pain and penetration, because it's a vicious circle. That association and the vicious circle it forms must be broken, that's why it's treated through systematic desensitization. Once I don't associate pain with penetration or vice versa, the muscles relax and the pain disappears. It's as simple as that! But because all this happens unconsciously, if noboby points out that it's happening, then you don't become aware of it. And that ought to have been the gynocologists' job!
So here I am slowly but surely getting through my own systematic desensitization programme and thanks to your site I understand that I'm not alone, I have got to know my own boby and its reactions, I have identified the PC muscles and am capable of intervening when they tighten up by bringing them under conscious control and relaxing them. I have learnt to respect my body and its needs and above all I have now learnt to demand respect of my body from my partner and from gynocologists or anyone else who should lack it!
Thank you once again for teaching me all this.
Per la prima volta in vita mia, 2 settimane fa, ho parlato a qualcuno che non fosse mia madre o il mio ragazzo del vaginismo.
Dopo che ho parlato con lei mi Ŕ venuta voglia di digitare "vaginismo" su google, cosa che in passato ho fatto molte volte (senza trovare un granchŔ) ma che non facevo da qualche anno.
Quando ho iniziato a scorrere le pagine del sito del vaginismus-awareness-network, il mio viso si Ŕ aperto in un sorriso, spesso anche in una sonora risata!!!
Cavolo se l'avessi trovato prima..... ma forse..... l'ho trovato proprio al momento giusto!
Ho giÓ letto molto del sito, alcune parti anche 2 o 3 volte!! Mi sta dando "ispirazione"! Dico grazie di cuore a tutte le donne che hanno collaborato al sito, credo sia fantastico.
Dopo tanti anni mi sento davvero capita e meno sola.
Anche se non vi conosco, vi voglio bene!!!
S. - Italy
I struggled with vag for as long as i can remember...and i also always had dysfunctional relationships, not because of my vag...but because i bought into the garbage that relationships require hard work...and the guilt of vag made me take all that "hard work" upon myself...and not really considering whether i was receiving unconditional support from my boyfriends... and one day i read a post by one of you about the very topic and unconditional love and understanding...and it finally "clicked" for me... i stayed single and pursued my passion, which is music...i didn't concern myself, or bother, or put effort into finding and/or "keeping" a man...i couldn't have cared less...and i was finally happy for the first time in my adult life..and while i was happy and pursuing my music, i met a man who was also pursuing his passion for music...and we became friends...and then we just grew closer and closer...he has never said one negative or critical thing to me...he has never pressured me to do anything i don't want to do and i've never done that to him...we support each other unconditionally...K. 2008 July
so here is one more person who says her relationship doesn't take hard work...ever...if i had known it could be this easy the whole time i would never have wasted as much time with men who emotionally were unsupportive of me...
i used to think vag ruined my life...but now...i thank vag (and you for challenging my perceptions) for helping me to realize that hard work is not required...and it is *because* of vag that i have found an amazing, wonderful, compassionate man who doesn't care if i work hard or not to solve vag...and some days it is solved...and some days it is not...but it doesn't bother us one bit...
Dear Team,F. (England)
I'm just starting to handle all the fear and pressure that comes with acknowledging that this ungodly pain you keep experiencing isn't just going to go away, and no matter how much your mind and heart are saying open your body's knows that in reality it needs to close and stay closed.
I've been sexually bullied since I was very young by people at school, along with just general bullying, verbal and physical. When I told my parents I was told that it was probably just because the guys fancied me. My first "sex ed." came from being given a book to read where a young girl is repeatedly raped until she becomes pregnant. When people around me started dating and later having sex, all I could find in myself was a deep rooted conviction that sex was something men did to hurt women, and was terrified of any guy who tried to get close to me in that way. I knew I had a different view from that of people around me, I thought it was a good thing that I wasn't just falling into casual relationships, I was single, I was happy, I had my friends and I was doing really well with my studies, what was the problem?
Then shortly before my 18th birthday I fell head over heels for a friend of a friend and for once in my life I found he didn't set off that knee-jerk fear response. Then we came to have sex and suddenly there was this nightmare of pain every time, I was convinced I was the problem, that I was a freak, that he shouldn't stay with someone so messed up that despite loving him to bits and him doing everything for her whenever we agreed to try sex it always ended up with me curled up round the ball of pain that my insides had become.
We've been together for a year and a half now, an I've only in the last week or so learned about vaginismus. The realisation after all this time that I'm not alone, there are other people out there in the same boat after trying for a year to find anyone who understood is... overwhelming.
The first vaginismus website I found was very cold and clinical and came with an exorbitant price tag.
Thankfully the next time I could face looking for information about it I came across your website - in two sittings I read through every page. It helped me understand that working through the pain was not a positive thing, it was just brutalising more and more the girl who's judgement I most needed to rely on.
t also showed me that instead of just "fixing myself" so I could have sex I need to take some time with myself and get to be happy with myself, because I still have this underlying fear of sex as being dirty and hurtful and wrong and I should never enjoy it or appreciate the parts of my body connected to it.
I have managed to tell my boyfriend. As soon as I told him I had vaginismus he said "well if it distresses you I hope you can get through it, but take as much time as you need, don't push anything on my account, i love you, i know it's not your fault and whats important to me is being with you". So he seems fine with it now and in the time we've spent together he's seemed completely understanding. So I'm starting off with the little steps - actually looking at my whole body naked in a mirror for the first time, sleeping without underwear on. The next step is keeping the smallest of my dilators out instead of hidden away where I don't even have to look at it. Every time something feels bad, I step back from it.
So this isn't a success story from someone who's come out on top and at home with herself, it's a story from someone just starting to look for a new understanding and way of listening to herself and utterly petrified about it. The success you've helped me find is knowing that that need is there and that it's possible to face it. I actually started keeping an online journal whose link is available for women registered in the Vaginismus1 Forum
My current project is trying to accept that yes, there is something down there and I have to be as considerate of her as I am of the rest of me if we want to get along.
Can I first start by saying your network and website are just fantastic and your writers have become the sane voices in my head as I struggle to manage and "treat" my vaginismus. I am a 30 year old woman from South Australia and since being diagnosed, I have been bombarded with medical information that continues to make me feel responsible for the vaginismus and "sexually dysfunctional". I get sick to death of reading that vaginismus is typically "cured" within 6 weeks and any slower progress in the treatment of my vaginismus must be because I am not compliant with the treatment plan or "motivated" to fix the problem!
So when I feel alone and frustrated I log onto your network and it always makes me feel good about myself again, and very proud of my vagina! So thank you very much. And thank you for your quick response to my first Email. One of your team members sent me a detailed, personal and thoughtful response that has done more to boost my self esteem and confidence in one day than over 6 months in physical therapy! So thank you so much.
I have been managing with the physical aspects of dilation at home on my own, but as a single woman, I can feel quite alone emotionally during this process. I couldn't seem to find the right support in my home town until I joined your Network.
Professionals don't seem to want to talk about women's sexual wellbeing, unless it is in the context of "fixing" them up ready for intercourse and penetration.
I was first recommended another website but while this particular website claims to focus on the "whole woman" self help approach there is still an underlying medical discourse that is subtly negative and says vaginismus is a result of sexual "dysfunction" and needs to be cured as soon as possible. There is no reference to the positive aspects of vaginismus that you mention on the Network website. Like you all say, it can be "a feminine way of fighting back to gain the right to be the co-author of the sexual agenda", or "a defense from emotional pain and unwanted intrusion". That's why I feel very connected to your website. It plays such a powerful role in helping me to reconceptualize vaginismus within the sociocultural context. It is one of the key differences between your website and others.
Congratulations to you all. You are in the business of changing people's lives - a claim not many of us can make :-)
Trish South Australia 2008
I'm in tears right now, now, not because I'm upset, but relieved!
I'm a 21 year old virgin college student, and have decided to wait until marriage to have sex. At least, that was what I intended, the real reason is because I fear penetration--the pain. The real truth was, about a year ago, I went to the OBGYN and had a horribly painful experience. She actually made fun of me and treated me like I was overexageratting; she made me feel like something was wrong with me! And since that day, that's what I believed.
Then I found a forum that have a couple of girls who had the same experience as me and they called it Vaginismus, which led me here. This website has help me come to terms with myself and helped understand the root of my problem. After I read that it, I realized how I got this condition.
I've always had bladder problems so when I was 16, they inserted a catheter in me at the doctor's office to check the flow of my urine. I left the office feeling like I was raped. It was THE most painful and traumatizing experience of my life (and I've had spinal injections.in my butt done by two male doctors).
Now that I look back, after that, I was never the same. Anytime anything foreign touches me there, I automatically want to cry. You don't know how much your website has helped me (in just a couple hours no less!) and now I know what to tell my future dates, how to go about explaining it, and how to slowly begin my healing process (although, I still want to wait till after marriage).
5 good things to be grateful for today:
The Vaginismus Awareness Network
"I think most vaginismus related websites, at least those that I have seen, treat vaginismus like something that should be promptly dealt with, for the sake of one's self esteem and / or relationship. Sexual penetration is still viewed as the healthiest way to maintain a long term relationship and feel like a real woman.
But this site (vag awareness network) gives another perspective: women should learn how their bodies work, we should learn to appreciate the defense mechanisms of our bodies and treat vaginismus for ourselves, for our own empowerment and not looking to fit the sexual stereotype of women in present propaganda.
Plus, it gives great tips on how to treat vaginismus on your own terms, in your own house, in your comfort zone. I always recommend this site when people ask to learn about vag... "
Anyway, keep up the good work to the web managers.
S. L. (Santiago, Chile)
"Hi everyone, I'm so happy I found this site, it's really different from a lot of the other vaginismus pages out there! For a long time I've been trying to just accept my condition and not put so much pressure on myself, but doctors and gynos always make me feel like I HAVE to fix this "problem" of mine. I could really relate to some of the articles on here and I don't feel like such a weirdo anymore! "
In many ways I think my vaginismus has been a blessing, because it's stopped me from sleeping with the wrong man. I do feel that one day if I meet the right guy for me and feel totally comfortable around him, maybe then I'll be able to enjoy sex. For now I'm quite happy with the way things are, I'm 24 and have a very fulfilling life!
For me, learning to stop worrying about my vaginismus was a gradual process. What really helped was going back to university and pursuing my passion - I went from being almost suicidal to being really proud of my achievements!
"After reading some articles on this website, I learned to think of my vagina as trying to protect me, and I like that thought.
Think of your body as a loving entity; your body wants you to be happy and is trying to take care of you the best it can. In a way, that means that your body is healthy and strong.
In my case, I've never felt bad about myself or loving myself any less because of vag.. The state of my vagina can't define me! A closed/protective vagina (I like to think of it that way, like it says on the VAN site... it's an awesome site really) can't decide on our sex or love life. Intercourse is just a little part of a healthy sex life.
Like the forum admin. said, ultimately it's a matter of loving yourself for the one you are, and finding out what it is that you really love about yourself and about life; what your passions and loves are. Nobody wants to have vaginismus, but it's not a problem if you think of what kind of situations and conditions people go through every day in the world. And it's something that can be treated and worked at.
Also, believe it or not, having vag. makes me feel special It's helping me to think of myself, and of relationships, sex... in a whole new way, it's helping me to open my mind and realize things I hadn't thought of before. It's a great chance to learn more about human relationships and to challenge the way we've always looked at things. "
"I never imagined what an amazing process this would be. The experience of beginning to associate a part of my body that I was so alienated from with comfort and even pleasure, instead of pain has been incredible. I don't think I've ever really known my vagina in a positive way, to the extent that I knew her at all, because I was so afraid to try!
It's almost like becoming close to a long-lost, estranged sibling as an adult, after never having imagined that such a relationship was possible, and gaining something beautiful in place of something sad. (There's my sappy simile for the day...) "
"I wanted to let you know that I discovered your website just two days ago but have now read through practically every page on it! I love, love, love your incredibly woman-positive approach. Your site really helped me feel better about vaginismus and like less of a freak or a weirdo (because I have carried around a lot of shame over this.)
I just wanted to take the time to write to you and tell you that I think you're doing an amazing job. Keep up the good work, and thank you so much for making this resource available!"
"Last week I wasn't familiar with the term 'vaginismus' but now, thanks to your website, I really feel like I understand just what the word covers in a physical and emotional sense, as well as understanding my body a whole lot better! The dilating tips in particular are really useful and clear. It's so nice to be able to get full information from a not-for-profit organisation that doesn't have a vested interest in selling books or equipment. "
"When I saw sexual harassment and bullying listed as possible root causes of vaginismus on this website, I almost started to cry. I know this happened to a lot of other girls besides me because I saw it, but I didn't know there was a place people TALKED about it! I can hardly think of a problem that people seem more stubbornly blind to than the sexual bullying of young girls in school--except perhaps vaginismus itself. And I think this was definitely a contributing factor for me.
I can't even express how much it means to me to finally see it acknowledged somewhere that sexual harassment and bullying can lead to problems like vaginismus. I finally feel like my experiences have been validated and that other people are willing to talk about them.
Thank you so much for this website! Finding out about vaginismus and finding people that are willing to talk about it properly--as a function of our societal ills--has made me feel more hopeful about both myself, and the futures of other girls and women than I have in a long time. If you got to the end of this epic post, I appreciate it. And thank you all again!"
Laura's success story:
"How I self-treated myself thanks to this site"
before reading the information of this site I was so ignorant and desperate about vaginismus that I would have believed the first person telling me it could be cured by drinking a dragon's potion!
I had read a book in the library but it had scared me even more. From that book, written by an Italian gynecologist, I got the idea that there wasn't a real way of self-treating yourself and that specialized doctors were needed. I expected to find some practical tips, but there was nothing there and I had started to feel very low..
Then, unexpectedly, a twist of fate led my gynecologist to your website and he then called me to tell me the great news! One of his colleagues had recommended the vaginismus-awareness-network site to him and he said that he thought it was not only well done from a medical and informative point of view, but that it could have helped me self-treat myself!
(And he was totally right!!)
He said the best way to treat vag. was to get to know myself and my body on my own and at my own pace. I was still a bit skeptical though, but I believed him because he wasn't gaining anything from referring me to that site, actually, he probably lost a lot of money since I didn't need to go back to him anymore! So I thought it was worth checking it out, plus it is free, it doesn't ask you for a password or registration of any kind. So together with my husband I read all the main sections dealing with vaginismus, from the page explaining how it could be 'functional' (and I think lots of women should read that part) to the guide to dilating.
I pondered over the guide for a while before starting the process, also cause I had a hard time getting the dilators online, since I don't quite trust online shopping. So eventually I took the cute advice this website gives for poorer women and I used a carrot (and I have to say I found it relaxing to peel them down!). All I bought was a tube of lube at my Chemist's and a pack of condoms to put on the carrots and then at home I had my first dilating session!! No pain, just a tiny bit of burning which quickly went away. Granted, the diametre was still very small, but what a great achievement for me!!
And it just kept getting better as I gained in confidence and trust in my body, and after following the many tips in the guide and site, I recently had my pain-free first time! No blood and no pain. Me and my partner are still experimenting with positions but we are taking that too in stride..
Thanks to some of the wonderful articles in this website in fact, I had reached that mental peace of mind which had helped me accept that intercourse is not a fundamental aspect in a couple's life, so I wasn't obsessed by the thought of having to cure this and this helped me very much as I got rid of a lot of pressure.
But most of all, thanks to the honest reflections offered in this site, I managed to get to know myself and my body better, and give a name to traumas I had been through during my childhood, so I am gaining something which goes way beyond the cure from vaginismus...
I don't know if handing over my treatment to a doctor would have guaranteed a personal satisfaction as deep as this or such a new intimate knowledge of myself.
If I had compelled my vagina to open up thanks to some anti-depressants or injections, would I have been able to comprehend what she was trying to teach me, by closing up? Because thanks to this site I understood things of me I didn't know and I'm happy to finally understand my body signals more, good and bad..
Due to the traumas I had as a child, I now see how it is very likely and totally understandable that my vagina had shut down, so I wouldn't ever call it a sexual dysfunction, nor an illness (also because, vag. aside, I found a very fulfilling sexual intimacy with my husband).
I feel bad when I think of those women who don't have my luck in finding this site and free guide and who pay thousands of Euros/Dollars to be cured, just because they are not adequately informed.
I don't know how you girls managed to create such a complete and accurate website but your hard work has certainly been very useful to myself and many other women I believe, but even if it had just been helpful to me, it would have been enough, trust me!! Me and my husband were starting to be dragged into a nightmare until that unbiased gyno. suggested your website for us. So with all my heart, THANK YOU all and keep on helping women freely as you do.
As for the women who are about to read the website, my advice is to read it very well, taking your time, understanding what vaginismus is and isn't, what it could mean and only then move to the practical part and the guide (but I know that you are probably in a rush to get there, as I was!!). But that's my advice to you.
I am sure that this journey can be very useful and precious and I wish you all to experience what I have. Ciao now
Back to Top
To read more, click on our Success Stories