How to tell someone about Vag.
and to whom and when
If you are new to the world of vaginismus, if you have just found out about this word and that it is a medical condition many women experience, you may be wondering how to go about telling this to someone, whether that is the boy you're dating, your sister or your doctor.
Or it might be that someone wants to talk to you about your sexuality and 'sexual life' and they may start asking you questions. So what do you do?
When someone wants to ask about vaginismus (or your sex life) to you
First of all, remember that you don't NEED to tell other people about vaginismus just because they may ask you private questions, or just because you are dating them, so please don't feel like you owe an explanation to someone for whatever reason..
I still remember this guy I was going out with who suddendly asked me: "So, do you like making love?"
I was speechless, what a private question to ask.. and I doubt he was ready to enter the 2-hour-long talk that that intimate question would have required as an answer!
So I just said I didn't feel like getting into that and that was the end of it.
But you could just lie instead, as in giving them what they want to hear, simply because:
a) it is the easiest way to get rid of a busy-body
b) they won't be really listening to you anyway
c) it's not worth entering into personal details with them or deep conversations
Sometimes the person asking you may be someone you feel you HAVE TO reply to. Again, they may be doctors or professionals but unless they are judges at a trial, you are not under oath and haven't got the duty to tell them what they ask you.
I think that will depend on HOW they ask you. For instance, I remember how my GP had noticed on his computer screen that I hadn't yet had any Pap Smear Test and instead of kindly enquire about the reasons for that, he got all bossy and annoyed and told me he'd give me 6 months to go have one, cause it was stupid of me to miss using a preventive tool for a cancer.
So he bullied me, he scolded me, he made me feel stupid and not for a moment he looked at me with any kind of compassion or stopped to self-question himself or wondered if maybe I had reasons for my silence instead... (one of them being his complete insensitivity!)
So I have a feeling that if your immediate reaction to someone's questions is to clamp down and turn on your heels, then you should do just that... If they get mad, annoyed, irritated and touchy it's THEIR problem. If they are sensitive, they will understand they have not been delicate enough..
So try not to scold yourself for not disclosing information on vaginismus. Your body may be telling you this person would not be a good listener, or that they may not be trustworthy or that they may simply not be mature or sensitive enough to understand the complex issues behind vaginismus.
Let them believe what they want to believe, they will anyway..
If they ask you why you're still single or when you are going to have a baby, well, again, you can either make up a ready-made excuse ("I/we still want to enjoy our freedom") or you may just walk away without replying or pretend not to hear, or you may be bolder and tell them "Do you realize this is a very private question to ask to someone you don't even know the surname of or care anything about ?" or you can be even BOLDER!! and ask them something back such as: "oh, so how is your sex life with your husband ?"
That'd be great! :) I'd love to see their face!
So, just remember you have every right to protect yourself from becoming the subject of silly gossips or from receiving a third-degree from any person.
But things are different when you really want to tell someone about vaginismus of course.
When you want to tell about vaginismus to someone
The first time you tell will be the hardest..
I still remember the first time I opened up about vaginismus to a man face to face.
I had a good male friend back then, a poet, someone sensitive and a bit artsy too, we used to write poems together, inspired by each other's pretty unconventional life, and we were out together one summer night looking at a beautiful landscape and feeling very peaceful, so I dared bring up the subject to him.
I don't remember the exact words I used or how I started, I didn't get into too many details but I basically told him that intercourse for me was impossible because painful.
I still remember his beautiful reaction: he didn't stir, there was no gasping, no "so sorry for you", no pity, nothing.. (And I think you may realize that thankfully it's not that uncommon). He just said:
"So what? Could I still kiss you? Touch you? Smell you? Lick you? Breathe you?"
I smiled, a bit embarassed but in a good way, and replied "yes" to each of those questions.
So he said "so what's the problem?"
The conversation ended there, but it was amazing to see a man not obsessed by intercourse, and very encouraging for sure..
Of course other reactions may not be as positive, a man dear to my heart to whom I told about vaginismus by letter, never replied to me and it hurt me a lot for a long time. I felt I had opened up in vain, but at the same time I felt brave for having 'broken the ice' so it was a positive experience for me anyway.
So telling it by letter may be a good idea, it's less confronting, but remember not to expect a reply... Just do it for the sake of it, if you can, to let it out, to make your peace with someone, not to expect a certain action from them. Leave them free to react as they will, according to their sensitivity.
By sharing experiences, we've found that most people's reactions in general are pretty supportive once they find out you have vaginismus, so it may be great to open up to someone and find relief and support. But it will depend a lot on where you are at, emotionally, and on the person you decide to tell this to and their maturity.
Telling your mother and/or close family members
Not everyone is close to their family of origin so even if many women usually find comfort in telling their mother or sister about vaginismus, and report finding great understanding from them, some may feel that there are too many unsolved issues in their families, or health problems etc, so it's understandable if you preferred to leave your family alone and out of this.
In some cases, your family members may even be the last people you want to talk to! Some of them may just not be good at keeping secrets, others may have been one of the causes of your vaginismus instead (like a violent father for instance or a mother who scared you to death with tales that first-time sex is painful) so again, NO NEED to tell these people about your vaginismus..
But if they are reasonable and loving and have energy for you, you may just want to tell them you have a little-known medical condition which you prefer not to enter into details with them about.
If you want to tell them more instead, you may decide to take some private time with your mother, and show her something from this website or from a book etc. or you may just want to use your words to describe what you have and how it's affecting you and what she could do to support you, if anything. Maybe it'll be the best way for her to stop asking you about when you're planning to have a baby. That may already be helpful to you. Or she may drive you to gynaecological appointments etc.
Telling a friendAgain, it depends on the friend but it can be VERY comforting to finally have a friend who you can be honest about this with. Just pick one carefully, I think the worst thing about opening up about vaginismus, is opening up to someone who will then open up to someone else about this. The feeling can fire-back and your vaginismus may even get worse as a result, after all your vagina may want to close down after that.
So personally I would advise you to tell this to a friend out of your circle of friends, like a friend who lives in a different country, someone who doesn't live in your town, someone you met a long time ago and only communicate via letters or email by now. Basically, it'd be safer to tell a friend who could be free to tell someone else about this, (if tempted to) but who will never risk telling someone you know and to whom you didn't wish to share this too.
Telling a complete stranger
This may be the best way to talk about vaginismus for the first time and to break the ice.
That's what anonymous support groups are for.
Or you may feel better telling this to a doctor, a psychologist, a counsellor, a priest.. Anybody who has a duty to keep your secret safe would be a good choice.
Telling a person you've just started dating recently or that you'd like to ask out
That's the big issue usually...
To tell a date or not to tell ? And when ?
Many girls we talked to felt they HAD TO tell a date about vaginismus early onbecause they felt otherwise it was a bit like 'fooling him' and that they were being dishonest about something important. This kind of thinking is based on a lot of assumptions which is probably worth challenging.
First of all, you assume that he's in the relationship to get sex, that no matter how kind he may seem, that that's his agenda.
You also assume that telling him about vaginismus will be a "make or break" moment.
Or you assume that solving vaginismus together with him would be a big burden you are about to put on his shoulder and a big problem for him.
Ok, it may be true that sex is in his agenda from day one, but it'd be like being an infertile man fearing to talk about his infertility to his date, because he thinks she may be dating him just to one day have a baby from him and use him as a sperm-donor! Are we all like that? I really hope not... Same for men, they are not all pathetic :)
It may be true that he's expecting sex at some stage in his relationship with you, but it is by no means a law, nor does it mean he'd be right in expecting that. It'd be his fault for expecting things, not yours. And if you did something to lead him on, acting more sexually-confident than you are, I still think he may not need to feel offended if you were to then reveal to him what you did. I know that a mature caring man would want to know why you felt the need to act that way, and it may be very interesting for you to ask yourself that question too.
Other men out there thankfully have no agenda and just take each day as it comes in a new relationship, they let it develop without expectations, and they choose to be themselves and honest from day one and to let the other person be herself and honest too. These men are the sort of men who are interested in starting a good friendship with a woman first of all, so if you told him about vaginismus, this kind of man would not make a fuss of it at all and he'd still be your friend.
From my years of experience in a support group and my own experience, this is when vaginismus can become a great screening tool to find 'the right guy'.
If the man is really dating you because he's genuinely interested in your personality, because he likes how he feels next to you etc. then chances are he will be:
# flattered that you decided to share such private information with him
# excited at the possibility he may even help you out
# thrilled at the thought you're still a virgin and that he may be your first one! :)
Obviously this will depend also on his level of maturity or about his opinions on sexuality.
He may be convinced that he can't live without penetrative sex, or he may be a pretty well-endowed guy who may immediately fear that he may hurt you even more than others did, or he may believe that women without sexual experience will not stick around with the first guy they have sex to cause they will want to experiment around a bit or, viceversa, he may believe that virgins get very attached to the first man they have sex with, so he may feel slightly concerned that sex with you may turn the relationship into too 'serious', too fast.
That's why a good way to introduce the topic is probably to first find out what his beliefs are about sex. That will tell you whether he may be understanding of your vaginismus or not.
WARNING: Some men may SOUND really ok with vaginismus and act really nice at first, especially if you tell them you'd like to maybe try things with them and solve vaginismus with them, but it has happened that if things don't get fixed fast or sex is still pretty painful for you, they may feel overwhelmed and leave.. This may be very hard to take, especially if not only you opened up emotionally with him, but sexually too.
So maybe, before going to the stage of actually trying to solve vaginismus with him, make sure he knows very well what it entails and that it is a journey and that it may take a long time (or forever).
His reaction will tell you a lot about him..
As for timing, in an online support group for vaginismus, most women said they'd only tell a man about vaginismus only when the relationship was close to getting sexual.
I would say that you should tell a date about vaginismus only when you felt that you could call him "a friend" and that he would call you one too...
But whenever you decide to tell him about vaginismus, one important thing: please don't assume you are the one who has a problem to bring to the couple and that he's the poor one who'll have to deal with it and bear the burden...
In fact, he may be the one who has a LOT to learn from this relationship, from you and from vaginismus too.. He may be the one whose eyes and heart could do with some opening...
Finally, don't assume that he doesn't know about vaginismus. Remember it's not as rare as you think and he may have a sister or an ex-girlfriend or a friend who had this, so he may be extremely understanding too..
So see what your heart tells you..
See how your vagina acts around him..
And if he turns out to be a complete jerk, then be glad he showed you his true colours before it was too late!!
Choose someone with a heart...
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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.|