Virgins and Vaginismus
Vaginismus: Self-diagnosis for Virgins
Before you take the following test, which we tried to devise for virgins specifically, remember that it is NOT a medical test, so please take the results with a pinch of salt, but hopefully it may help you set your mind at ease about something you may have been worrying about for a long time.
For some girls, it is a relief to finally find that what they've lived with for so long has a name, it's medically recognized and has a cure too. For other women, it may sound like a sentence to unhappiness instead, especially if the diagnosis is not followed by clear reassurances about how treatable it is and how common too.
So, if your results should indicate that you MAY have a chance of having vaginismus, remember that there is a cure for this, that you're not doomed to unhappiness or a sexless life, but most of all, that there are men out there who will love you nonetheless and that you can love yourself the way you are too!
Good luck now.
Self-Diagnosis Test for Virgins
Answer: YES - NO - PARTIALLY - NEVER TRIED
1. Are you able to insert a tampon without pain?
2. Are you able to have a gynaecological exam without pain?
3. Are you able to insert finger/s without pain?
4. Are you able to insert applicator/medications in the vagina without pain?
5. Have you ever attempted sexual intercourse?
6. Are you afraid, or phobic, or have panic attacks at the thought of inserting tampons/speculums/fingers or a penis ?
7. Do you tense up, have panic attacks, feel scared when a partner or doctor tries to insert a speculum/a finger or a penis?
(Remember to take this test only as a clue that your vagina may need a bit of loving and more attention, and not as a death sentence...)
If you replied with more than one “Never tried” and/or "No" to the first 5 questions and "Yes" to either question nr. 6 or nr. 7, then it is LIKELY you may have vaginismus or a 'sex phobia'.
Those names may sound ugly but remember that if there were more women among psychiatrists and gynecologists, those fancy psychiatric names might as well be dubbed as:
"smart vagina device"
"discriminative vagina function"
So, the options in front of you now are many. You are at the beginning of a wonderful journey. It can be a lot to take in in one day. So take your time. As soon as you feel ready to explore more, feel free to browse around the site and check what you feel interested in exploring.
If you want to feel totally reasurred about the diagnosis, you can always go see a gynaecologist (with knowledge of vaginismus!) to confirm your doubts. Please check here our guide for a smooth gynaecological visit for vaginismic women here.
You can go straight to the treatments or check out the practical step-by-step guide to self-treatment , but we would suggest that you maybe first get to know your private parts, (see the Vulvar Anatomy section) or that you stop and ask yourself some questions, (see the possible causes of vaginismus) or try to look at vaginismus from a different and positive point of view: ( Vaginismus can be a cool thing! ).
Finally, you can always join a support group or our forum, visit a gynecologist, or just forget about this problem and focus on whatever is more important right now in your life. This is not an illness, you can do fine with it too, honestly.
You probably have much on your plate right now, you can come back to vaginismus in another moment of your life, or never, if it doesn't really bother you. You shouldn't feel guilty about not trying to fix this as soon as you can... It's not lethal or infectious and it's no barrier to love and also to sex actually. Unless we only think of sex as intercourse.
The journey to solve vaginismus certainly takes longer than a one-night-stand-transformation, but the results will be permanent and you will not recognize yourself at the end of it.
Unfortunately you may feel quite insecure, scared, have low self-esteem, feel unworthy of men, less valuable than sexually active women, not quite "normal", ashamed too... Well, that's how screwed up this society is...
It can make you feel that if you're not able to have sex or if you're not having it, you're a loser, which is a total insanity of course...
But speaking of sex...
Virgins and First-time Sex
For an explanation of the hymen and how you can minimize the risk of pain by stretching it etc, please read the article on First time sex Myths, the Hymen and Vaginismus
Is it normal to bleed and feel pain at first time sex?SOME girls (it is NOT scientifically proven whether it is MOST or FEW) can bleed during first time sex because:
- their hymen tears/breaks
- they get cuts in their vagina from the thrusting
- the boy was very rough
SOME girls can experience pain during first time sex because:
- their vagina (muscles) or vaginal opening aren't stretched enough to accomodate the man's penis so the muscles hurt
- their hymen breaks, stinging and burning
- they have vaginismus or are very tense so the vagina clamps
- they were genitally mutilated (infibulation)
- lack of lube
- the boy was very rough - too deep penetration or bad position
IS THE BLEEDING AVOIDABLE ?
YES. There are things which can be done to prevent it or minimize it.
*Women with or without their partner can stretch their hymen with their fingers or other means painlessly until it's all or mostly gone.
*Women can use a lot of lube.
*Women can first insert fingers and/or dilators, gradually increasing the number/width of fingers or the size of the dilator until they can comfortably thrust something their partner's size without any tearing.
*Men can go gentle and take it slow, without much or no thrusting the first times.
IS THE PAIN AVOIDABLE ?
YES. There are things which can be done to prevent all of it or minimize it.
* Girls/Women and their partners can stop as soon as it gets uncomfortable and not have intercourse until the girl's body is fully ready
* Girls can learn to stretch their opening gently with their fingers or partner's fingers until something the size of a penis can enter painfree
* Girls/Women with vag. or who are very scared and tense at the idea of first time sex can get to know their vulva well beforehand (see our Anatomy article) and get used to inserting gradual things into their vagina until they are totally comfortable and as relaxed as jelly. (See our Guide on Dilating for more tips)
* They can use artificial lube
* Stop female genital mutilation
DO WOMEN WHO HAVE OVERCOME VAG. WITH THE DILATING TECHNIQUE STILL BLEED OF HAVE PAIN DURING THEIR FIRST TIME SEX ?
From many personal experiences shared in forums and groups on vaginismus, the answer is NO.
Many don't bleed and don't experience an ounch of pain during their first time after having dilated and stretched fully, which gives supporting evidence to the idea that pain and bleeding are not biological experiences that women have to put up with because they were born that way and have no other choice.
You have a choice and if you got to this website, you have the tools too.
Thankfully if you can help yourself you can then help other girls, your friends or daughters, to change the world around them so that first time sex for most women will be a completely relaxing, pleasant, pain-free experience.
Young girls in many countries aren't taught to see their vagina as belonging to them, so it may sound weird at first for a young girl to consider the option of inserting her own finger gently and stretch hymen and muscles to get her vagina ready for sex, but the culture which from the Kamasutra onwards, has placed that initiating role upon the boy alone, (who is often just as clueless about vaginal muscles, vaginismus, hymen etc.) has caused a lot of suffering, shame and abuse as we know, and we believe it needs to be challenged.
It may not be easy, particularly for those girls who are still raised in families (even in the U.S.) where they are not supposed to acknowledge they even have a vagina, let alone own it, but we should at least work in that direction and you can do it too by spreading awareness now, so that girls the knowledge and tools to have painfree and pleasant first time experiences where pain, bleeding and fear can be minimized or even totally removed from the experience.
We are not against sex, we're not asking you to pledge you'll remain a virgin for ever or until marriage etc, but we are aware that many young girls are made to believe that sex is what will turn them into "WOMEN" and that many will rush to have this experience, or put up with the pain and face it when still unprepared physically and emotionally for it, only to feel all grown up and mature, only to be then disappointed or to get themselves in troubles or realize that it takes much more to make a woman than to allow a penis in one's vagina..
Especially if you are a virgin in your 30's or 40's and more, you may badly envy those young friends or sisters of yours who have a sexual life, seem uninhibited, don't seem to have a care in the world regarding sex, get gifts for Valentine's day and birthdays from their sexually satisfied boyfriends and boast about their sexual freedom.
It's understandable, cause they seem to have happiness, success, an air of womanhood which can be very appealing.
But look deeper: in many cases, these young women you're envying, are just girls doing what is expected of them in their society, and from statistics and studies (check our University paper on Unwanted First-time sex and girls' sexual compliance here) it's clear how little wanted first sexual experiences are for most women, often there will be a lot of coercion and pressure that many women fall under. Many girls (and boys) will be playing a game in most cases, copying moves from what they saw on TV or read in books, getting drunk to numb them before the act, copying what they see around them done by loveless, immature adults playing games. So they are not that grown up if you look deeper, while you may be quite strong instead, cause you evidently resisted a LOT of pressure.. Yet we bet you may feel like the loser instead...
Of course some young girls have sex inside a loving relationship where sex is just a bonus to it, and it's wanted, and it's shared and safe and pleasurable and both are adults and ready to accept any possible consequence coming from it. But in many cases unfortunately, things won't go that way.
So, think twice before envying women whose vaginas are less discriminating or brave than yours. You may bless your vagina in the future for protecting you from one of the possible unhappy fates instead...
Hindsight is 20/20...
The value of Virginity in the 2KNEW!
In the past, women generally had no choice over their sexuality. Unless they joined a religious order, they were supposed to remain a virgin until given in marriage, and then to produce children. But now modern women can exercise a choice, although we are disappointed to say that there are still social pressures surrounding virginity.
In the same way that having pre-marital sex could cause a girl to become the centre of a village's gossip in the past (and still does now some places, unfortunately), it seems that the news of being a virgin after your teens or early 20's is greeted with the same gasp and ridicule these days in many countries.
Besides the obvious heterocentricity of it's most common definition, there's the problematic (to me) issue of referring to sex in such qualitative terms of purity (which, as we know, is what "virgnity" means in the most basic sense), implying that sex is "impure" and that sexual inexperience in a woman is something that should be prized and valued, while a sexually experienced woman should be devalued. (Because the term "virgin" was not generally used to refer to both men and women until well into the 20th century) Why do we need to keep a term around that was basically used to assess the "value" of a woman for marriage as if she were a prize pig.
This societal connection between violent posession and sexuality is sick, but it's also, unfortunately, so incredibly pervasive that many perfectly decent, not particularly piggish men--and women--internalize it to a much greater extent than they realize. Look at all the expressions for first-time sex people use--popping the cherry, giving up the juice box, deflowering, breaking in--without even realizing the nasty, violent, and degrading undertones they have towards women and their bodies. And for men, it's even worse though not so blatant.
The pressure to have sex is huge on both genders. And there are many ways for men, women or society in general to make you feel bad for your lack of sexual experience. Calling you a frigid is one.
Now, being a virgin has nothing to do with being cold and bitter. Frigidity is obviously a term invented by men only to make women feel bad for not "giving it up". Guilt-trip. But it still works. How sad...
In a way, it's great that we no longer attach so much significance to a piece of torn membrane and that we no longer value a woman's worth according to her vagina' usefulness and use, but still, maybe virginity should be revalued: not in the meaning of physical "purity" but simply because a virgin evidently managed to somehow escape the pressure to be sexual which a lot of women everywhere, subtly or forcibly, go through..
Having first-time sex when you're fully consious of what you're doing is not bad, whether you're married or not, but having sex just because there is a deadline to your virginity or because you feel that at some stage as a woman you will have to 'give it up' is tragic. I still remember some girls in first year in Uni in Ireland who were saying how they HAD TO have their first time sex before the end of their first year. As if it was their social duty, and it didn't really matter with whom, as long as it was "taken care of", like a new rite of passage many young women evidently feel they HAVE TO go through to feel accepted.
If there is only one message you'll get from this article, we hope it will be that you don't owe sex to anyone, not even on your wedding night, and that virginity comes with no deadline and no price attached. Be proud to be a 40 year-old-virgin who didn't give in to sexual pressures or be proud to be a 20-year-old who had sex when she fully wanted it and was fully aware of its risks and implications.
No matter how old or young you are, getting to know yourself, your body, learning how to respect it, how not to allow just anyone in, to take care of it and its rhythm, will simply turn you into an aware balanced positive human being with a LOT to give.
So become a full human being first. Find your passion in life, what makes you tick. If you focus on that and start burning with passion, then whether or not you are a virgin or if you have sex will not make the slightest difference in your life .
PS A good book that really examines the phenomenon of "virginity" and first-time sex and hymens etc is
Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank.
Blank takes a good hard look at the idea that virginity is a concept created by society, and at the idea that "losing it" should be painful. She goes into the historical and religious significance of virginity (for women), as well as how things changed when the hymen was identified.
Another interesting book is
The Male in the Head: Young People, Heterosexuality and Power Janet Holland, Caroline Ramazanoglu, Sue Sharpe and Rachel Thomson.
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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.|