If you and I met you would never think I survived vaginismus. After all, I am a man and vaginismus is a “woman’s problem”.
In reality, it’s a condition that affects men and women, emotionally, as much as physically. And, after more than 10 years of emotional hell, I can proudly say that I survived something that I didn’t know existed until a couple of years ago, and, more importantly, survived something that I began to think might be incurable until a few months ago.
During the more than 10 years that my wife and I have been together, we’ve experienced and experimented with a wide range of ways to pleasure each other sexually. Intercourse was in no uncertain terms, not going to occur since we were both raised as Catholics and premarital sex (which we defined as penetration) was off limits until we were married.
During our honeymoon we immediately knew something was wrong since intercourse didn’t just happen as we expected. The time we spent together was fun but something was missing. When we returned the problem didn’t go away and it was exacerbated. Seeing other couples who were enjoying intercourse was painful, family and friends teasing us about having children that we knew weren’t coming was annoying and constantly being bombarded with messages and stories about intercourse and children from the media and other sources during our daily lives was tortuous.
Over those eight years of marriage we adapted but continued to be tortured. We would use what I call “Outercourse”, to reach a new level of physical satisfaction. We continued to try new things, which added spark to the sexual portion of our marriage, but intercourse never entered our life.
At one point in our relationship my wife, using an incredible amount of will, fought her anxiety and visited a gynecologist. Her experience was simply terrifying but she managed to get through the visit. While she was there the doctor immediately recommended that my wife needed surgery to correct her condition.
After the surgery was over, the doctor came out to the waiting area to tell me that my wife was fine. He explained the procedure and stated that both he and his surgical assistant had inserted 2 fingers into her vagina to prove that she was now large enough. I thanked him and he then shook my hand, looked me dead in the eye and said that although I was an extremely patient person this problem wouldn’t have happened if I were a real man (the emphasis was on the word, “real”).
Ultimately, the lack of intercourse in our marriage became an albatross that silently hung over our heads and relationship. Worse of all, the lack of intercourse was slowly eating away at our marriage and me, with no hope for resolution until I saw a news story about a condition called vaginismus.
As I watched the news that night I, literally, almost fell off the couch. I was floored to find out that what I was watching was in a word, lifelike. I felt the pain of the persons who were interviewed and I related to the stories instantly. I also saw a glimmer of hope when I learned that help was available from the Women’s Therapy Center.
It took less than three months from that point for them to cure her.
Today, vaginismus is out of my life and intercourse, lots of it, is in my life and, most importantly, my wife’s life. Although going through this process was, hopefully, the hardest thing we’ll ever experience, I learned a lot about my wife, our life together and myself. Most people probably think that it’s unfortunate we lost all that time together but the opposite is truer. What we learned during that time will never leave us and the fact that we learned from this experience has made each of us stronger as individuals and as a couple*.
* Results may vary from person to person