Why live with “what’s that”?
Let me begin by appreciating Ditza and Ross’ dedication to helping me solve this problem. Without them, I do not know how many more years I would have spent searching for a solution.
My spouse and I were both virgins when we married. We were not very well acquainted with each other. We were introduced to each other by family and friends and decided to take the plunge. We expected a lot on the wedding night nearly eight years ago. I thought I was being realistic, expecting a little discomfort and pain. My husband expected to penetrate me with a little trial and error.
For the first few months, we fumbled around, expecting to get it right any day. But we were disappointed time and time again. My husband felt that he was trying to push past a stone wall each time he tried. I felt that he was trying but in the wrong place. Gradually, we ignored this problem and tried to pleasure each other by caresses, kisses, massages, and orally. Oral sex has never been something that I wished for, nor did I enjoy performing it. Yet, there was no other place for us to go.
Doctors! What can I say about my experience with them? The first doctor I went to prescribed mood elevators and sedatives (Zoloft) to relax me enough so that my husband could accomplish the deed. The second doctor, I went to say that my pelvic muscles were too strong and suggested that I try a sex therapist. The sex therapist listened to my husband’s and my version of the problems we faced. She suggested relaxing my body with wine, massages, candlelight dinners, soft porn videos, and hot baths. Basically, her advice was to romance our way into intercourse. Roses, perfume, and wine did not have any effect on me. The third gynecologist asked me to use tampons for a few months, hoping that I would get comfortable with the feeling of something penetrating me. This did not help. I could get the tampons in, but that was it. The fourth gynecologist, I went to, asked me to use dilators for 8 weeks. The doctor also performed Hymenoplasty (making incisions in the hymen), to facilitate penetration.
I was totally confused at this point. The wine and the video advice indicated to me that my problem was mental, the surgery and the dilators indicated to me that my problem was physical. What was I to believe? Which method of treatment should I pursue? I broke down in front of the doctors, in every session. None of the doctors suggested that I suffered from vaginismus. I tried to research on the Internet for problems with “women’s sexual health”. Material about vaginismus was so inadequate, that I was unable to match the description of the condition with my problem. When we attempted to have intercourse, it never really hurt me much, so I did not think it was vaginismus. I insisted that my husband see a urologist. I suspected he came too easily, and I wanted him to get a professional opinion. I fluctuated between actively pursuing this problem and ignoring it. I was able to undertake gynecological examinations and Pap smear tests without having a panic attack, so I felt that the problem was not all in my head.
Meanwhile, this problem started taking its toll on our marriage. I dealt with the problem by consulting one doctor after another. My husband dealt with the problem by ignoring it even existed. I resented the fact that he would not come to the doctors with me. He adamantly refused to spend even ten minutes researching our situation. I was so miserable knowing that he spent more time researching directions on the Internet, than on finding the right doctors. Frequently, I quit trying to actively pursue a solution, because he displayed no understanding of the repercussions of our problem. My husband’s reason for remaining indifferent to solving the problem was that he felt I was not physically affectionate towards him. How could I tell him that, I could not summon up enough enthusiasm to initiate a process that always ended so fruitlessly?
I threw myself in social life to escape the situation with my husband. But, I could not get rid of the problem. It began dominating my every thought. I could no longer relax and be myself. My interest in schooling, hobbies, and career took a backseat as I worried about this problem, constantly. When my friends talked about their sex life, I joined in, though I felt upset that I had to lie about what was going on. My terror grew as my age advanced, and I faced the prospect of remaining a virgin and childless for the rest of my life. Divorce loomed in my head all along, though I did not know how that would solve the problem. I felt extremely miserable and alone.
Five years of marriage had passed and I faced strong family pressure to have children. How could I explain the problem to the family? The pressure of keeping this secret from everyone was costing me emotionally. I was constantly bombarded with questions from my family, my husband’s family, our friends, and relatives about why we were not having children. I started talking less and less to family, to avoid answering this question. My friends were all busy having babies. This depressed me further. Everyone offered me advice on why having children early was important. They suggested fertility treatments. I started feeling boxed in. I avoided going to visit my relatives to escape their curiosity and well-meaning questions.
My five-year wedding anniversary, my advancing age, and being surrounded by pregnant friends compelled me to seek another doctor. I decided to go in for artificial insemination. My reasoning for going in for the process was twofold. I would not only have a child but natural childbirth would enlarge my vaginal canal allowing me to have sex. I knew I was gambling on having a natural childbirth. I underwent one insemination, and unfortunately (fortunately?), I did not get pregnant. I decided to try again the following month. The doctor said my chances of success were 80% of eight tries. Meanwhile, I asked the doctor whether there were any specialists he knew, who had treated this problem exclusively. I was given a website address that was devoted to problems with the vagina.
Wading through the huge list of websites, I chanced upon the Women’s Therapy Center site. This was the only site that had testimonials from patients, and some of the descriptions seemed close to home. I contacted Ditza and Ross, and as they say, the rest is history. The distance to travel to the Center and the cost of the visits were unattractive, but I felt that I had to give the problem one more try.
What impressed me most was that for the first time, I felt someone really understood my problem. My optimism increased as they mentioned that they had treated patients who had spent more than 10 years in an unconsummated marriage. I also felt that they talked about the problem realistically. They asked me to hold off the insemination until they had had a chance to treat me. I struggled with that decision. I wanted to try both at the same time, but they convinced me to devote a couple of months to this treatment. The lubrication methods they taught me were so effective and simple that I find it unbelievable that gynecologists did not suggest this to me.
They did not hesitate in letting me know that I would not really enjoy sex for the first few weeks and sex would be quite clinical for both my husband and me. At this point, I had no interest in experiencing pleasure. I just wanted to feel normal and less of a freak. My husband joined me for one of the sessions. I am happy to say that I no longer have an unconsummated marriage. Sex is still new and not pleasurable yet, but I have never felt this normal before.
The only thing I have to say to anyone experiencing this problem is, don’t bury the problem, hoping that it will go away. I feel anger at the thought I spent several fruitless years looking for a solution that turned out to be so amazingly simple in the end. I think a fully committed spouse would have been very instrumental in helping me find a solution faster. However, if a spouse shows reluctance in actively looking for a solution with you, don’t be affected by their lack of support. You have to help yourself overcome this problem*.
* Results may vary from person to person