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Could I have vaginismus?

I'm a 19 year old virgin and I had my first pap about 3 months ago. I had it done by a regular medical doctor, I know I should have went to a gyno but unfortunately I didn't. I have never had anything 'down there' ever. Not a tampon, not a finger, nothing at all.

So before the exam, I asked her "Is this going to hurt?" she said "Well, you're a virgin. So yeah, probably." So immediately I was scared. I don't recall seeing her lube up the speculum or put any lube on the area, so I don't think she used much (if any) lube.

The second she put the speculum in, I yelled out some profanities and felt my lower body lift up off the table and then fall back down on it because it was such a shock because I've never felt anything inside down there. Then she kept going! And it only hurt worse from that point on. I kept telling her I couldn't finish the test, but she kept going. Then she said: "Okay, it's out now!" and then I relaxed and she fit 2 or 3 fingers in to feel around with no problem at all, no pain or anything. I can fit a tampon in, and I can fit a finger in (I've never tried two, only one so far).

But since that experience, I am terrified that maybe I have vaginismus.
I don't know if I was just super nervous, and if that was a horrible and unprofessional experience, or if maybe there is a real issue here.

I thought that considering women with vaginismus have extreme trouble inserting anything, that after the trauma with the speculum, that my vaginal muscles would have clenched up so much she wouldn't have been able to fit her fingers in. But she fit her fingers in without a problem.

If I had vaginismus, would she have been able to insert 2-3 fingers after the trauma of the speculum? Do you think it is a possiblity that I could have vaginismus, or do I think I just had a very very bad and unprofessional pap smear experience?

I've been pretty worried over this, and crying all the time. Any opinions or help would be so helpful.


although vaginismus comes in different degrees of severity, I think if you usually don't have any problems at all to insert anything, and especially because the doctor could fit in her fingers easily directly afterwards, it doesn't sound like vaginismus to me. It's quite normal for women to tighten up when they get scared.

Nobody here can give you a 100% "diagnose", but it is easy to test. So if you have no troubles sticking your finger in, try something bigger and you'll see. Maybe it also helps to read around the website and learn about vaginismus.

But I'm like 80 % sure that you are worried about nothing. Smile

The experience you had sounds SOOO Traumatic.

I'm SO annoyed with that doctor.

pap tests should not be done on virgins!
not without some sound preparation before.

They should teach you how to dilate, gently,
over some months and give you a speculum
and tell you "see you when you can insert it", "let us know if you need help".

And of COURSE they should use lube.
we have a whole page on myths that gyno's have about lubes
and how unfounded they are.

If your gyno has an email i strongly urge you to send her
that article of ours on  "things women say about their gynos"
and other pages too..

i'm really sorry you went through that.

I'm glad that inserting fingers is fine.
right now i'm not worried about vaginismus here.

I'm worried cause you were treated very, very badly
and your vagina didn't deserve that AT all and i hope
you'll recover from having such an insensitive entry.

Change that gyno if you can.

and read our guide on going to those visits prepared.
i wish you (and many others) were given
such a guide BEFORE they go have their first visit.....

I'm glad you're here now

Thank you so much for your responses, they are tremendously helpful. I have been terrified since November about the experience ever since. A part of my inner labia swelled up and I had to go to the ER (they thought it was a cyst) and the minute they mentioned having to "look inside", I immediately started crying hysterically and my vitals skyrocketed (they were monitored on a machine). I have tachycardia anyway (irregularly fast heartbeat) but my heart rate went up to 167 beats a minute at the mention of having to "look inside". They called a gyno down to talk to me, and he could tell I was so scared. He was very helpful in trying to make me feel relaxed but I couldn't help it. I am terrified for anybody to go near there now. They didn't have to look inside because the swelling was so big that they wouldn't have  been able to fit a speculum in anyway.

But back to my original story, I don't think she used much (if any) lube. I don't recall her putting any on the area before the exam, it just felt like she shoved it in really quick. I told her I couldn't finish, but she kept going. I told her again that I couldn't do it, and she said "I didn't even open you up yet!". After hearing that, I uttered even more profanities and started whimpering. Then she opened it, and that hurt by far the worst. Telling a virgin that she's "not opened up yet" when she's already visibly upset wasn't the smartest thing to do on her part. Then she told me when it was out, and then I watched her lube up 2-3 (can't remember if it was 2 or 3) fingers and she fit them in with such ease, there was no pain or anything. My body was in such shock that I couldn't cry until it was over, then when I sat up from the table, I started to lean to the side and I almost fell off. Then I started crying. My mom was horrified at how upset I was and asked the doctor why I had so much pain. All she said was: "She's a virgin, what did she expect?"

So for awhile after, I was afraid that maybe I had vaginismus because of the pain. But maybe it was just an incompetent doctor who didn't walk me through it the way she should have, she pretty much kept me in the dark about everything the whole time. Also because she didn't use much (if any) lube, and also because she told me before the exam that it was going to hurt, and also cheerily informed me that I wasn't "opened up" yet when I was already visibly panicked and in pain.

I am a bit more informed now, thanks to this website. I'm trying not to be afraid anymore, and to just think that maybe I had a traumatic visit and that maybe I don't have vaginismus after all.

I don't know how to get past the mental part of the trauma of this though. If it turns out that I probably don't have it after all, how can I get past my terror of having anything near my vagina? Any help or suggestions would be so greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much again, Chalchi and admin.

Yeah that really was a horrible doctor and like the admin I'd recomment not going there again. Also, there is no need to let anyone do anything with your body that you are not comfortable with! So don't let this happen again... let yourself explain clearly what the doctor is going to do and if you feel anxious, tell him, and if he ignores it leave.

Also, I think you really should overcome this fear, because although you don't seem to have vaginismus, this is the best way to develop it. So how do you feel about trying to insert bigger objects, one by one? Maybe even try a speculum yourself sometime? I'm terrified of them myself and think it would be helpful, regarding my experiences with tampons. You could have a look at the dilating guide to get an idea how it is done.

I wish you all the best, and whenever there is something you want to know, don't hesitate to ask!

Could you have vag?

Oh Junebug, I'm so sorry this happened to you. That doctor sounded HORRIBLE! So unsympathetic and cruel and rough. Please never go to her again. It's always shocking when women gynos are bad with patients. You would think they would have more empathy. But sometimes they don't.

Maybe you could think of something nice you could do for your private parts. They deserve to be treated really well after going through all that. At least you can know that you can trust yourself to always be kind and gentle with them. Poor little parts!

They might feel like being totally left alone for a while. Listen to them.

It's true that some people do develop vaginismus after going through a traumatic experience. Hopefully you can heal your mind now and avoid developing vag. Some people even choose to talk to a counselor or therapist if they can find someone they trust. Or you can always talk to us. I'm glad you found us.


Dear Junebug,
so glad you feel more informed now.

i really REALLY wish girls were told about how to deal with
incompetent gynos early on in life and were equipped with info
to avoid such COMMON traumas like the one you went through

Anyway, as for your question,
right now i would just TAKE IT EASY.


You have been through a very traumatic event.
Our bodies (and souls) are great and they can recover
from the most traumatic experience so you will too
but give it time.

i wouldn't recommend inserting anything in your vagina right now
and not for a long enough period of time either..

there's no need to now anyway, right?

Give your vagina a holiday from being invaded  and stressed out.

All i'd allow myself if i were you are MASSAGES and CUDDLES !!!


I'm glad your mother was understanding.
Sometimes mothers tend to value doctors over their daughters,
just cause they are doctors , they are still seen as immortal gods
by older people.

THat HAS to change.
i really wish one day you'll be healed enough and strong enough
to go back to that woman (by email or in person etc), and tell her
what an impact she had on you.

I just worry that she may be doing the same things to other girls
every single day....  it's a bad thought.

anyway, i'd understand you didn't feel up to it now.

I just hope you will.
She badly needs to learn what she did wrong..

keep writing here and vent all you wish.

I would't worry about developing vag. now.
If fingers could enter you, then even if you developed it,
it'd be quite mild and easy to deal with,  so nothing you should worry about right now.

soon in time your body will forget about this but i hope
you won't forget the lesson.

never trust a doctor more than your vagina trusts her !!!!

all the best

Thank you for all the help, ladies. You have no idea how grateful I am.

During my exam, my sister was in the next room (for an ear infection). I had the exam done by a regular doctor instead of a gyno, poor choice on my part I guess, but I know lots of young girls my age who get theirs done by their doctor so I figured it was no big deal.

My sister said she could hear me very clearly and how much pain I was in, so I heard her talking at the door asking what was going on in there to cause my pain. The doctor said "Don't open the door, I'm almost done!" then she felt inside with her fingers, and opened the door.

The doctor then turned to me and said "I have had family members and friends bust open the door during pelvic exams..." I didn't realize what her words meant at the time. Could it be that she has traumatized other woman by poor practices during the pelvic exam/pap smear, causing their family/friends who heard to open the door wondering what could be occurring inside that room to cause that pain? I didn't think about that possibility until now.

So many people kept telling me that it hurt because I was a virgin, but I didn't think that kind of intense severe "forced entry" type of pain was simply because I was/am a virgin. And if that pain was to be expected, I'll never have sex and put myself through that pain again.

This event has scared me so much that every time I recount the story to somebody (in person or even as I was writing my initial post) I start feeling very scared inside and I start crying. My face starts to feel really hot, and my heart starts pounding out of my chest.

First-time sex is NOT supposed to hurt. Please read the following article on the main-site if you are scared:

All I had to say about the matter has been said before. I'm sorry that you're still scared, there really is no reason to be. Just never visit that doctor again and tell your friends and family not to do it. I don't know if legal steps would be a success because usually you can't be forced to have an examination done.

You don't have vaginismus and you do not want to have vaginismus.

You have a wonderful opportunity that nobody of us regulars here had: To learn about how to treat your vagina BEFORE you develop vaginismus. Cherish this opportunity. Be thankful that YOUR first try of sex WILL NOT HURT, because you know your body.

Thank you so much. I've visited this website several times, and I can't believe I missed that section. You all have no idea how much I appreciate your help to all who responded. YOU are the definition of a strong and informed woman. All of you, all of us. You have no idea how much I appreciate this information and help. I am going to treat Petunia very well (that's what I named my vagina, haha) and learn about her the very best way that I can.  

I am no longer afraid of the inevitable first try at sexual intercourse that I will have one day. It's very sad that so many women, of all ages, have accepted the fact sex is "supposed to hurt" the first time.

Thank you all again so much. You have no idea how grateful I am. I feel so much better about everything. You wouldn't believe just how low I felt, after people telling me to "get over it" whenever I described the pain I felt and "take it like a man". A man? I'm not a man. And even men couldn't take that kind of pain, that's why women have babies, mammograms, paps, periods, and other things that can be painful. Men just aren't as strong as we are, I guess.


I am really very very happy for you, and glad that we could help! Smile

I know that I have to address my mental trauma from the experience, but I don't know how. I have gone to therapy for other traumas and losses (mostly from losing 10 friends to death within a 3 year period and losing the love of my life to a drug addiction relapse)...but it never really helped that much. This trauma is also physical, so I'm afraid that nobody will be able to help me now because they didn't feel my pain in that moment. I'm afraid that they will brush it off to "Well, you never had any experience down of course it would hurt..."

I just don't know how to move past this, people keep telling me to "get over it". But I can't. I can easily describe that pain as the worst pain of my life, and the extreme terror as she continued even though I was in pain. I couldn't even form the word "STOP!" because I was in such shock.

Since you all have been so helpful so far, and helped relieve my fear a little bit about sex and somewhat convinced me that I probably don't have vaginismus after all, I'm just wondering if anybody has any suggestions on how to heal from this emotional/mental trauma. I am so lost in this, I have bad nightmares about it and I am afraid of so many things because of it. I shouldn't have to live in fear of this, I'm only 19, I've kind of shut myself away from life because of it. I don't really hang out with friends anymore, I don't have a job, I just don't want to be around anybody (especially a male) because I am afraid that they are going to try to hurt me. I specify being afraid of males, because lots of my friends are male, and lots of them have expressed physical attraction to me and have made sexual remarks about me, and have even made fun of the fact that I want to remain a virgin until I am in love. Even my female friends have made fun of the fact that I don't want to have sex at this time in my life. I never wanted to hide myself from the world, I was very happy with my choice to remain a virgin, their mocking of my decision never really got to me...but for the past almost 5 months, I am so afraid to be around anybody anymore.  Sad


what do you like ?

what's the thing you'd do for hours and hours
or the job you'd do for free if you had a chance ?

what is your passion?

what makes you feel REALLY good?

I'm not asking the sort of question that requires answers such as
"drinking a cup of hot cocoa" , mind you...

I just wonder what REALLY gets you going and fires you up inside
in a good way and makes you feel good and alive and happy...

I'd say right now you should focus on that question
above everything else and then follow the answer
where it will take you Smile

PS  Very glad that we could help too  Smile

Hey Junebug

It might help to write some sort of formal complaint to the clinic/practice manager specifically about this particular doctor and her attitude and manner?  Even if you don't post it, it might help to write it as if you're going to send it.  

The experience has obviously upset and affected you badly and, sadly, you probably aren't the first or only person to have been examined by this particular doctor.  Who knows how many other young women have been traumatised by the very same insensitive manner in which the procedure was carried out.  I mean....c'mon, she's had other people barging in because they hear distressed shouting?  Shouldn't that tell her that her 'bedside manner' is appalling?  And her total lack of compassion .... ugh, it leaves me speechless.  This doctor needs telling!

I was in a similar situation to you when I had an internal exam/pap smear test.  I was 19, a virgin and nothing had ever been inside me before.  I wanted to start taking the pill as I was hoping to have sex with my boyfriend.  To get the pill in the UK (unless its not for birth control) you have to have an internal exam.  Apprehensive and nervous?  Yes I was.  She did use lube and she put two fingers inside me first.  That didn't hurt.  Felt weird but didn't hurt.  She then put lube on the speculum and told me to relax.  Inserting that didn't hurt.  Again, weird but no pain.  But when she opened it ......OMG.........that hurt.  I shrieked and backed my way up the examination table.  To which she said 'Sorry, I just ripped your hymen.  At least it won't hurt when you have sex with your boyfriend now.  But I can't continue the exam because there's too much blood.  You'll have to come back when the bleeding's stopped.'  THEN, she took the speculum out.  I never went back.  To this day (19 years later) I never went back.  But last year, when I received a letter asking me to go for a smear test, I decided enough was enough, and I wrote to the doctors' surgery explaining exactly why I have never been for an internal exam or smear test and that there is no point seeing as I have never been able to have sex as I associate things going in there with pain.

Writing that letter (and sending it) was the best thing I ever did to help ME deal with the anxiety I still feel.  I wish I'd done it sooner.

Best of luck and I hope that posting on here is helping.  You are so lucky to have found the VAN website - it has loads of helpful advice and info.  


admin- well, that's the thing. I've been going through some severe depression ever since that experience, so I kind of stopped caring about the things I used to. I used to like to sing, I used to want to be a makeup artist. I just lost interest in everything, lots of traumatic things have happened in the last year. My friend Brandon was fatally shot when somebody attempted a carjacking, and that was very hard for me. Then the love of my life relapsed into his drug addiction and threw away all of our future plans, and then this pap experience happened only 2 months after all of that. Both previous things really robbed me of so much emotionally, but the pap only terrified me emotionally and now physically. my pap experience has affected me in so many different ways. i'm afraid to be around males, especially the ones i know. i used to want to be a makeup artist and i'm very good at makeup application but now i'm almost afraid to wear it in public because makeup does make women more attractive and i'm afraid that somebody will try to hurt me now. I went to my friend's 21st birthday party and I was afraid the entire time, being around all of our male friends, a few of them always make sexual advances at me...but this time was even scarier, my only hang up about sex used to be making sure it was the right person. Now I have to be afraid of feeling that kind of pain again.

mel- thank you for your input. wow. it seems like both of us were treated in an unprofessional manner. i also associate any type of penetration with pain now. i'm going to try going to therapy, so i don't develop vaginismus or retain this fear any longer than i already have. thank you again!

i'm just so angry at the doctor I had, when i first asked her if the test was supposed to hurt, she told me something along the lines of "You're a virgin, so probably, yeah.." and then when I told her I couldn't finish the exam, she said "But I didn't even open you up yet!" and that scared me beyond belief and it only hurt worse from that point on. I remember thinking "she didnt' even open it yet? oh f***." and my legs tightened up and body was retreating backwards on the table.

Sounds like there is lots you have to deal with right now. I'm very sorry to hear about all that. If you're having a hard time regaining your happiness again I'd recommend counselling, do you feel like trying that? I'm sure it will help you. I've had hard times myself and therapy did a lot for me. I am fine now. Smile

I'm going to be starting therapy very soon to help with all of the fears that experience gave me. I'm thinking about getting a hymenectomy because I was told that the first time only hurts because of the hymen and that if she is properly aroused, and has lots of lube, that it wont' hurt past the hymen "breaking". So I was thinking that maybe getting a hymenectomy would help rid me of my fear of a painful "first time". I never had any fears regarding sex until my pap. And as soon as I felt the hymen stretching, that scared me because I didn't have any experience down there, not even a tampon, so it was a new experience and it caused my butt to fly up a little off the table and I panicked. So I think that that initial sting scared me, and my muscles clenched down and she forced it in anyway. But after she took the speculum out, she was able to fit the fingers in painlessly with ease. That is the only indication that maybe I don't have vaginismus after all. And because I was able to fit a finger inside without any problem, and a tampon. I was going to try 2 fingers, but I didn't want to rush myself because I'm not entirely comfortable with the thought of that yet.

Hopefully therapy will help with all of the fears I have now because of it, and I kind of hate men now because of it. I know it's not every man's fault that I had that painful experience, but I associate pain with any entry now (including a penis) so because of that, I find myself hating men now.

I wish I never had that pap experience, it messed me up so much and whenever I talk about it or think about I, I can't help but cry or my eyes will fill up and blur my vision. Even as I'm typing this.  Crying or Very sad

Well, I don't think you have to undergo this hymenectomy. The hymen is very stretchy and while trying to insert bigger objects one by one it will gently be widened. I can understand your fear, I was terrified by the mental image of how it would burst with lots of pain and blood, but that is a myth. And I don't even have a hymen, never had! But women who have can gently stretch it and first time sex won't hurt. As far as I know the hymen itself doesn't even have any nerves.

I can't quite grasp where your hatred for or fear of men comes from. Your reaction is very hefty, and you're kind of blustering into negative emotions. You should keep an eye open for the positive things. Your situation is difficult, but there are solutions. Never forget that no matter how dramatic and terrible everything seems to be, things WILL get better - if you stay constructive-minded and work on it.

Nothing wrong with getting things of your chest, but there is a time when you need to move on in order to make things better. When we pay too much attention to negative emotions we get stuck with them and make it all worse.

There are positive aspects about your situation, and they need to be seen. So open the window and let the sun shine in.

As for hymenectomies, just please consider the idea
by getting informed first.

We wrote a whole page with the pros and cons of such an operation.

So many women did it, especially in the past, cause it was
the first line of action that gynaecologists would recommend

(they LOOOOVE tearing our bits apart...)

but most of those women still had vaginismus afterwards
cause it's not just the hymen that gets in the way but the muscles,
and they are everywhere around the opening,  so ...

just please read the page well before deciding.

Have you had a look 'down there' to see if you have a hymen?  A hymenectomy would be pretty pointless if you don't.  A hymenectomy is pretty pointless anyway....but that's just my opinion.  Hymens can be stretched, worn away, etc without anything going inside you, just through normal rough and tumble of growing up.

Anyway, if you feel you would be okay recovering from the discomfort of a hymenectomy, surely you would feel far more at ease dealing with the lack of DIScomfort from your own explorations - because you know you can trust yourself.  

I hope the therapy helps - not only with the trauma of the internal exam but with the other stuff you mentioned too.  Maybe you need to give yourself a little time to let your brain and emotions absorb everything that's happened in your life in such a short space of time.  

And its okay to cry.


I only considered a hymenectomy because I know that the hymen is usually the only cause of pain for the first time. Most people say that if you're aroused and well lubricated, the hymen is the only reason why the first time usually hurts so many women. I refuse to accept that kind of pain ever again, so I would rather just get a hymenectomy. I read the page, and I'm fine with it. My only fear regarding sex now is the hymen, so I think that if the hymen was no longer in tact, I wouldn't be so afraid.

Something happened yesterday that made me feel loads better. I recently moved back to where I grew up (I lived out of the state for a year) and my mom saw the family doctor we had before we moved and she told him about how I wanted to get an appointment about "down there" but I'm scared now (his wife, also a doctor at the office administers exams to rape victims, so she knows how scared some people can be after that kind of forced entry/pain). I wasn't even there but my mom told him everything the doctor who traumatized me did, and how she said that I was a virgin so pain was mom said that he was appalled that she continued the exam after she could see I was in pain, and that being a virgin shouldn't have made my exam hurt (like the other doctor said it would). He told my mom that they're supposed to stop right away at the first sign of distress or nervousness, not force the clamped muscles apart. He also told her that when I felt the first stretch of the hymen (after never having anything down there, not even a tampon), it probably scared me (I recall jumping, and pulling away immediately) and that my muscles probably clamped down because they were scared and instead of giving me a chance to try to relax, she continued on with it. And if I recall correctly, it all happened so fast...I don't recall her lubing the vaginal opening area or the speculum before. So without lube, that would have hurt anybody. And after she took the speculum out, I relaxed and she put 2 or 3 fingers right in, she didn't tell me or anything, she just put them in to feel around so I think that if I did have vaginismus, after the trauma of the speculum, my muscles wouldn't have let her fingers in so easily. That part didn't hurt at all.

So I feel a little bit better about it, and thinking that maybe I don't have vaginismus after all. I didn't have any fears regarding sex or penetration before my pap, so I'm starting to think that maybe I just had a really messed up and traumatizing experience and that maybe I don't have vaginismus after all.

Thank you all again for all of your help, I scheduled an appointment for therapy and I think after talking about this and getting out all my emotions about it, I think that I will be okay after all of this. I kind of sank into the deepest depression I've ever been in, but I hope that now I can find my way out of it and I can continue living like I was before all of this.

Good luck. Smile


I'm so glad to hear that Junebug! I think you are doing great in recovering from your bad experience. I hope you continue to feel better.

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