A question I’m often asked by vaginismus sufferers is ‘do vaginal dilators work?’
The short answer, is yes! I believe they can be beneficial, although perhaps not for the reasons that many people believe…
How people often THINK dilators work..
Many people, including GPs and dilator manufacturers themselves, believe that the benefit gained from the use of dilators is that they can stretch the vaginal muscles to make them more pliable.
The reality is your vagina is naturally stretchy and flexible. The ‘default’ is that your vagina is capable of accommodating pretty much every penis size. Billions of woman have successfully squeezed a baby’s head through theirs!
Your vagina is an organ that is naturally stretchy and flexible. By default, it is already perfectly capable of accommodating pretty much every penis size – it is only your unhelpful thinking that sabotages successful penetration. In the same way that our stomach doesn’t need to be stretched before a big meal. When our body is relaxed, it does the things we want it to do without even trying.
Battling with the dilator when your PC muscles are tense is like trying to drive a car when the handbrake is on: It’s not going to move.
It takes no effort to relax muscles, only effort to tense them. As such, the implications of the word ‘dilator’ are misleading. To ‘dilate’ means to ‘make or become wider, larger, or more open’, which suggests, inaccurately, that the vagina is too small. Dilators DO NOT stretch your vagina. As soon as you remove the dilator your vagina goes back to the same size it was before insertion
I can compare the tensing up of the vaginal muscles to a dentist visit I had a few years ago to deal with an exposed nerve. It really wasn’t as much fun as it sounds! As I sat in the chair, gripping the arm rest, I was closing my mouth when the dentist got near the offending tooth. I was imagining terrible pain and my body was responding accordingly.
Your vagina is doing the same in response to the catastrophic thoughts you are having about painful penetration … although you probably are unaware of those thoughts.
Not that I want to compare a visit to the dentist with having sex. The dentist is never fun, whereas sex should be 🙂
The advice given for dilator use is to leave the dilator in your vagina to allow the body to get used to it. Again, it’s not your body that is getting used to it – it’s your mind. As soon as you remove the dilator your vagina goes back to the unstretched size it was before insertion. What actually should have (hopefully) changed is your BELIEF about how accommodating your vagina can be. Which leads me nicely to…
How dilators ACTUALLY work
The use of dilators in overcoming vaginismus can be very helpful – they are a tool (no pun intended) to measure success. However, it is important that the use of dilators is accompanied by a relaxed mind to facilitate the process. Without this, you will be trying to force the dilator inside, whilst continuing to think anxiety provoking thoughts. It is likely to be a frustrating, and potentially losing battle.
You cannot overcome vaginismus with the same thinking that is currently creating it because you are generating the same anxious thoughts that you are then desperately trying to fire-fight away. It’s like trying to mop the floor whilst the tap is still running. Water is cascading out of the sink onto the floor, and although your efforts and energy may go into trying to mop the floor more effectively, the water still keeps pouring. The answer lays in developing the mindset to prevent these problems from starting in the first place by teaching you how to effectively turn off the taps.
When used effectively, dilators can help you create the belief that your vagina is normal. When the belief is there, you will relax. When your mind is relaxed, your body will follow.
The Cure your Vaginismus and Thrive Programme will give you the insight you need to understand exactly how your thinking has created vaginismus – and will give you the tools to make emotional and psychological changes. When your mind is playing ball, you will be able to insert dilators much more easily.
The proof is in the pudding: when you manage your thinking well, success with dilators will follow. This will give you a sense of control and empowerment – ultimately leading to the resolution of vaginismus.
To read more about The Thrive Programme for vaginismus, CLICK HERE