Heather, the VaginismusMD Forum Moderator, is the author of this blog.
Thank you Heather!
Vaginismus can have a negative impact on every aspect of a relationship. Men leaving, divorce, relationship upheaval, attempts at suicide . . . these are all the ugly aspects of vaginismus. Many of these women never make it to treatment. For the ones that do, there may be bickering, frustration with living like roommates or brother and sister and frustration with failed treatment attempts. By viewing the condition of vaginismus as a “couple’s problem” and working together to overcome, it can deepen, strengthen, and help to restore your relationship and bring you closer as a couple.
A series of posts on the Forum clearly show the importance of treating vaginismus as a “couple’s problem” and involving your partner/spouse in the treatment program:
Heather, our moderator, noted:
“I think an excellent aspect of Dr. Pacik’s treatment program for vaginismus is how much he involves your partner/spouse in the entire process. My husband and I found this invaluable. Prior to my treatment, I viewed vaginismus as my own horrible issue to resolve and then we could move on to have intercourse and start our family. I felt incredibly embarrassed about it and never spoke to even my best friends about it as I felt like they wouldn’t understand why I couldn’t do something that they found so natural and enjoyable. I also felt very, very guilty about putting my husband through this and this made me feel like it was even more of my own issue to resolve solo and I then would be a better wife for him. He was incredibly supportive throughout my search for a cure and while we both lived with vaginismus, I felt as if I purposefully excluded him from a lot of the emotions that surrounded this time and never fully involved him or realized it was something that we were working on overcoming together until we were in Dr. Pacik’s office. Once there, I didn’t want him to come into the operating room, which I regret now as he said he wanted to and it helps the partner to understand the physical aspects of vaginismus that much more. Then, when I woke up from the procedure and began to remove the dilator and re-insert it (pain-free), I was so shy and apprehensive about doing this with him there as well. One of the recovery room nurses, Andrea, talked to me and explained that it was very important to have him remain while I practiced dilating as vaginismus is something that we were working on overcoming as a team and together. I really listened to her and allowed him to stay right by my side and it was such an important decision. By allowing him to witness me inserting, removing, and re-inserting all of the sized dilators and by him even helping me to do this, I began to trust him so much more and he could see, for the very first time, that something was inside of me and could be entirely pain-free. It helped us both tremendously and also brought us that much closer together. If you’re nervous about involving your partner, as I was, I can’t stress enough how important this part of the treatment is and how much it helps to have their support and assistance throughout.”
Other forum members have also commented on the importance of involving your partner/spouse in the process:
Patient 1: “My partner joined me for my treatment and he stood by Dr. Pacik and saw the whole procedure which made him finally realize that I was not overreacting! From that point on, it made him realize that I was not rejecting him, I simply had a condition that needed to be treated.”
Patient 2: “My husband and I are traveling to NH in a couple of weeks (EEK!!) for the procedure, and I’m starting to get anxious! Not necessarily about the actual procedure, but about the involvement of my husband (who does want to be involved). We have been married nearly five years, both virgins when we married, and have not been able to have intercourse at all. What makes me most anxious/nervous is him being in the operating room during the procedure and seeing everything. I’m very much hoping that someone has some advice to help get over, or at least alleviate, my feeling so closed off?”
Patient 3: “I’d say the involvement of your husband is a definite positive . . .throughout the entire time (not just the procedure itself), you will be learning more about each other, and having to let him support you through this – it definitely makes you stronger as a couple, and is fun too to go on such an adventure together! He will learn a lot about your condition from being in the room whilst your procedure is being done, and from talking to the guys here and my husband, it really helps them to appreciate the reality and power of the vaginismus (and that it’s not just in your head!) At the end of the day, you’re married, and the strongest couples share everything about each other – intimacy is a risk because it makes you vulnerable, but also makes you have to trust each other more, which is a very good and important thing.”
Patient 4: “This is a great post & very important. I was not nervous at all about my husband being there with me. I actually did not realize what a HUGE help that he would end up being. My husband has never really had to “take care of me”. I have never been sick or etc. But he was so amazing not only emotionally but physically! Literally, I couldn’t even bend with the dilator in the first week. I would have to lay on the bed while inserting the dilators. He would have to help me with my dilators by bringing me lube and etc, pulling my panties up (haha) , pretty much get me dressed and would even have to tie my shoes! I was so dependent on him that week, I needed him more than ever. If I was having trouble with one of the dilators he would talk me through it. I was an emotional wreck and a physical wreck! Words just can’t even describe what a huge blessing he was to me that week. It is SO SO SO important that your partner is involved.”
There is a great deal to be learned about vaginismus and its many manifestations. By joining the Forum one can learn first hand through the words of women who struggle with this condition.
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