It can sometimes feel like hard work feeling happy about your body in vaginismus. Not being able to accommodate your partner’s penis so you can both enjoy intercourse can be frustrating and disappointing. Attempting sex becomes a chore, and sometimes emotionally traumatic. Feelings of contentment about your body are often nowhere in sight.
When describing how it feels when they try penetration, women often tell me “like there’s a brick wall”.
This “brick wall” is an infuriating barrier to many women’s experience of physical connection with their partner. While many other forms of loving connection exist – both physical and psychological – many women who see me tell me they “just want to be able to do THIS.” They may want it for themselves, but not always. Almost always, though, they want it for their partner. When this type of physical connection is not an option, many women feel a deep sadness. We go through a lot of tissues in my clinic room.
But it’s not only the physical barrier that creates a “brick wall”.
There’s a psychological barrier too. Despite what you might have been told, it is NOT necessarily there first – women often tell me their doctors have implied it has a psychological cause. But if not there to start with, a psychological barrier often comes later. This psychological barrier gets in the way of optimism that it will get better. It gets in the way of wanting to keep trying because the disappointment is unbearable. And I often see it get in the way of women loving and accepting their bodies.
This may sound strange. Why love your body in vaginismus?
How is it possible to love this part of your body when it’s causing you so much grief? It might sound hard, but believe it or not, loving your body actually helps your recovery. Loving, caring for, and nurturing your body helps break down the barriers – psychological first, and in turn, the physical.
And you don’t need to feel it, at first. It is about doing rather than feeling.
Love is an action – not simply a feeling.
Loving your body comes in the form of caring for it, not cutting yourself off from it. It means behaving with kindness towards your body, not punishing or ignoring it.
When I help women with vaginismus recover, I show them how to show kindness to their body, which usually had not been high on their priority list. There are many ways of doing this. Recently, a wonderful patient with vaginismus said to me:
“I’ve been doing what you showed me, and it’s weird…I’ve actually started to feel more comfortable in my body. Like I can actually love my body more.”
It warms my heart to hear this, and to see women move past the barriers and put vaginismus behind them. If you would like to move past these barriers, please come in and see me so that I can help you too.