Why is sex painful - is my vagina abnormal?
Do you believe that there is something physically wrong with your vagina, and that is why sex is painful or impossible? And it's entirely understandable why you might believe that - your vagina is a very tangible thing that's not doing what you want it to do!
The reality is that vaginas are stretchy and elastic – when the minds that control them are calm and relaxed! I have worked with many women who have spent months or even years struggling with dilators, physical and relaxation exercises. Some have used botox to try and relax the muscles, others have had surgery on their vaginas...and still the vaginismus remains.
Our minds are remarkably powerful and our beliefs and mindset can have an incredible impact upon our body. Simply with the power of our imagination we have the ability to create a whole host of physical sensations: we can make our heart race by thinking of a frightening situation; we can create a headache by feeling stressed.
So many of the women that I have treated for vaginismus initially attributed painful sex to a physical abnormality.
They believed that there must be something wrong with their vagina: too narrow, too shallow or their hymen was preventing penetration.
One such client was Judy, who, in her search for a cure had been through (get ready!!)....
- Countless doctor visits and internal examinations
- A cervical biopsy and cauterizing of ‘abnormal cells’
- Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis
- Lidocaine cream
- CBD oil
- Came off her contraceptive pill,
- Went back on her contraceptive pill
- Had her coil removed
- Had her coil replaced
- Pain killers for 8 months
- A therapist (who told her 'it's all in your head')
- Tests for endometriosis
- Tests for vulvodynia
- Vaginal dilators
However, Judy was determined, and she continued her search for a cure. Finally, she embarked upon the Thrive Programme for Vaginismus and just weeks later Judy is now free of vaginismus and is able to enjoy sex with her husband!
Below is Judy's inspiring story in her own words:
"Before I go into the whys and wherefores of how I have started to overcome my Vaginismus, I have to say that if you are thinking about beginning Thrive, stop thinking, stop procrastinating, stop doubting yourself and whether this will work for you because IT WILL WORK!
I have always had low self-esteem and pretty chronic social and generalised anxiety for as long as I can remember, especially around dating, but when I met my partner, something clicked and I realised I just hadn’t met the right person until now. We had two, glorious years of sex, I can say that as all I can remember is just having a wonderful time, feeling pretty body-confident, feeling totally in love and feeling like I wish I had met him much sooner! And then one day it changed, without apparent reason.
I can’t count the number of doctor visits and internal examinations I had and the many comments (by both male and female doctors), of ‘you need to just relax’, ‘you’re obviously really uptight about sex’ ‘just have a glass of wine’! Well, when someone says this to you, not only does it make you pretty angry and frustrated, you know to your bones that this just isn’t the case, and you start to think it must be something really serious instead. After a cervical biopsy and cauterizing of ‘abnormal cells’ and about 4 weeks of waiting for the dreaded phone call, I was (thankfully) told, no it isn’t the Big-C, and ‘there is nothing wrong with you’.
So I eventually turn to the internet for answers!! Google told me I had the possibility of many medical issues so I worked through treating each one, at home, convinced each time it was going to be the cure. I tried ‘Replens’ vaginal lubrication, treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis, used lidocaine cream, CBD oil, came off my contraceptive pill, went back on my contraceptive pill, had my coil removed, had my coil replaced. I tried everything!
I paid to see a private doctor and was prescribed Nortriptyline (a pain killer) and was on this for 8 months where I felt constantly dizzy, sick, and to make matters worse, I couldn’t drink alcohol on it…and the biggest issue of all, it didn’t help one bit!
So, I then went to see a therapist and discussed the issue and told her what the doctors has said to me; ‘its all in my head’, that I’m ‘frightened of sex’ and ‘frigid’ even though that’s not at all how I felt. Despite it not being the answer to my issues, she told me in no uncertain terms that she didn’t think it was psychological at all, certainly not in the way the GPs were describing. So, feeling vindicated, I went back on the search for a medical solution.
I had more tests done, this time for endometriosis and vulvodynia and they all came back as negative, nothing wrong with me physically, but how can that be the case when I’m still in pain, even when using tampons and now we can’t have sex at all as the fear of the pain has made me totally shut down and clam up. Sex is now impossible, and I’m left feeling more deflated than ever.
The closest I came to being given proper diagnosis and some actual help was with a new doctor who suggested Vaginismus to me and sent me on my way with my vaginal dilators to work on ‘stretching’ the ‘damaged muscles’ and getting my ‘spasming vagina used to the pain’. I was then removed from his service and all doctor treatment was signed off; I was fixed in their view. So I was left with these white, plastic dilators to use at home with no concept of how these would help me, no instructions on how I should use them (other than the obvious) and left to my own devices. Obviously, I tried using them a couple of times, failed miserably, and felt even more of a failure as I didn’t want to continue with using them. I got used to feeling like a total failure, feeling like I couldn’t and wouldn’t blame my (now) husband if he had an affair and feeling this albatross around my neck, 24 hours a day for 9 years!
In another wild attempt to ‘fix’ myself, I quite literally stumbled upon Thrive. I read all of the testimonials, I read all of the info online and I watched the video of Cara discussing Vaginismus! I had many negative thoughts about it such as it likely being a scam, being another waste of money, it absolutely wouldn’t work for me etc. I discussed it with my husband who quite rightly said, what do you have to lose, we can only try! To say I was skeptical to begin with is an understatement, I just couldn’t possibly believe that this would work but I booked in with Cara to have the initial consultation and left that call feeling that I was at least willing to take the leap and try. She instantly put me at ease, talked me through how the program would work, what was expected of me and how the weekly sessions with her would work. I started feeling more positive and more willing to sign on the dotted line and take that leap.
Without giving away spoilers of the program, I worked really hard, I put in (and still do) at least an hour a day on the workbook and videos and I attended all of my zoom appointments and slowly, very slowly, started to believe this would work. I had many blips along the way, and I don’t think I truly understood I was overcoming Vaginismus until at least week 6 and then something clicked into place, and I’ve been pretty much happy-dancing each day since then. I finished the program last week and not only did I use all dilators up to number 4, start using tampons again, start feeling less anxious daily, start feeling less stress and generally much more positive, I have had sex again with my husband! To say I’m elated and could shout it from the rooftops is an understatement. Trying to type without happy tears is a challenge.
I could say that the Thrive Program and Cara changed my life and they certainly have, but as anyone who has done the program knows, I am able and willing to take the credit for my achievements too!! I have put the hard work in, I have done all the homework, I have done all of the exercises, I have started to believe in myself, and I have started to overcome my Vaginismus! When Cara tells you that you WILL overcome this, you need to trust her and yourself and you WILL get there! You have to believe in the process, believe in the journey and believe in yourself which is a huge part of this journey. It is quite simply the best money and time I have ever spent on myself. My husband is also quite pleased now too!
Thank you Cara and Thrive for everything!"
So, if you are wondering why is sex painful - it could well be vaginismus.
IMPORTANT: It is advisable to seek a medical professional’s opinion if you think that your vaginismus may be caused by a physical issue. Sometimes painful sex DOES have a physical cause. Being able to eliminate this possibility will help you to focus your search for a cure in the correct direction.