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vaginismus problem

Looking for opinions on vaginismus


I have had vaginismus in the past and am getting over this now.  Because this has been such a huge issue in my life, I have decided to do research into it as part of my Masters.  This comes at the problem from a feminist perspective and I have some really interesting reading for anyone who wants a feminist perspective!  I'm really interested to hear what other women who have or have had vaginismus have to say about it, specifically:
- how you learned about the problem
- what help you have sought, and from where
- how you feel society looks at vaginismus
I'd really like to get a discussion going.  I did not know about this problem until I got it and I wondered how many women had the same experience.

Cheers!  Smile

That's great!
Please, share the readings with us especially if they are available online.

Did you check our Literature Review and Bibliography?
There are many there too.

If you haven't read it yet, I think some of the best articles
on vaginismus and sexual "problems" from a feminist point are:


TIEFER L. (2007)

WARD and ODGEN (1994)

There's another one but I can't retrieve it now.
Anyway,  I'm looking forward to read yours.

vaginismus problem

Hello again,

I'll be sure to check out the reading list, thanks.  A lot of the reading I've been doing is from a radical feminist perspective, so be warned you may not agree with it all, but it does shed an interesting perspective.  Authors I've been looking at include Sheila Jeffreys (Anticlimax), Annie Potts (The Science / Fiction of Sex) and Jane Ussher (Psychological Perspectives on Sexual Perspectives).  A lot of it looks at the construction of sex in society and how this is damaging to women with conditions such as vaginismus.

My plan is to design a questionnaire for my research and attach it to the University website, so hopefully women would be interested in sharing their thoughts on vaginismus in a safe and secure way.  My research is at the University of Leeds (UK) in Gender Studies so a lot of what I study is feminist based.  My research is looking at vaginismus from a feminist perspective and I'd like to use the questionnaire to get real-life opinions to add to the theoretical perspective.


I know Jane Usher.
Personally, radical feminism doesn't bother me at all.
they are just women who are particularly angry at seeing
the problems a lot of women still go through in an age of so called
"progress", so I can understand them most of the time.

So please, share the links here. I'd love to read.

As for your questionnaire, great idea to use the University website.
Let us know when that is ready and we'll place a link straight
on the website so you can be sure you'll get lots of replies
as others did.

Bye for now

my thoughts

- how you learned about the problem
I had two OBGYN appointments in my late teens/early twenties that went very poorly. The two different young female doctors were very insensitive to the point that I haven't gone for another examination in almost a decade. Both doctors kept pushing the speculum as tears rolled down my face and I grimaced in pain while expressing my desire to be helpful, to relax, while being totally unable to do so. The second was openly irritated that I wouldn't relax and left brusquely, saying that I hadn't enabled her to see the cervix and get a proper sample and that I needed to go have a bunch of sex before bothering to come back. Years later my mother came across a brief description of vaginismus in a magazine article and then I researched it on the internet, and bingo.

- what help you have sought, and from where
I have only sought minimal help. I talked with the therapist I was already seeing for anxiety and mood disorders and she discussed knowing someone in the area who was more of a specialist, but I haven't felt up to dealing with the physical therapy yet. I also talked to a reproductive endocrinologist that I see for other problems about not having had a pelvic exam in so long, and while he offered to do a careful exam, he seemed reluctant (since he is used to just doing infertility surgeries and treating other patients like me with drugs and hadn't conducted that type of procedure in quite some time) so I didn't feel very enthusiastic about the concept either and dropped it.

- how you feel society looks at vaginismus
Based on the lack of discussion or public awareness and the attitude of doctors of all sexes and all age ranges, I think society has a lousy attitude and most certainly looks down with irritation at women dealing with vaginismus. I've certainly been given the sense that I'm a freak and that no one wants to talk about or help me (and yet male erectile dysfunction is now the hottest disorder on the block and that is perfectly acceptable and has massive ad campaigns, drugs, and celebrity spokespeople... pardon the crass expression and the pun, but it seriously pisses me off).

- other thoughts
I have primary vaginismus that seems to be based in anxiety (no sexual assaults that I can remember) and exacerbated by family attitudes and religious attitudes (I'm a lapsed Catholic with a mother raised by older Scottish relatives - one of whom was a priest - and a father who had, for a time, been in the seminary, preparing for priesthood) about sex and the female body. I've always hated and been grossed out by the typical female bodily functions and parts that came with growing up and I'm a nervous wreck about everything in general, so that seems to be the basis of it all for me. The only single incident that I can think of that may have played a role came in maybe ninth grade and was my first experience undressed in a medical office getting examined. I had a large, round, purple growth the size of a marble that had to be removed and biopsied. I have always had skin as sensitive as my emotions (warts as a kid; acne, psoriasis, eczema, and more as a teen and adult). It was a benign growth or genital wart of some sort, but it was traumatizing to find, and the injection of the needle to numb the area so it could be cut off hurt in such a sensitive area and the pain as the numbness wore off was so much, it may have played a role. Plus, as luck would have it, my brother had to pick me up after and had no sympathy (he had bad skin and had procedures removing things from his back and face) and started arguing with me about how men have as many painful doctor visits with their genital areas as women and that he didn't want to hear me complaining that I had it much worse, as a woman, than he did. This was as I was losing the numbness and feeling exposed and creepy (growing odd purple things). The male doctor who did the procedure was perfectly nice, calming, and informative, but that was my first time being naked with the opposite sex and it was when I was feeling grossed out by my body and feeling quite vulnerable and scared. I'm sure that whole experience didn't help matters at all.

Hope all this proves helpful for you.

Welcome here curious..

my, the story of both your first gyno. exams and
that visit and injection you had to endure (let alone
your bro' s lack of sympathy) could have certainly
caused your vaginismus.

You've been very smart pointing out the causes so clearly.

I could perfectly understand if you didn't want to see
another gynaecologist for a long time, but just in case
you one day wanted to (or had to), then we recommend you
check out our guide on how to have a painfree visit..

I'm really glad you found our forum and that your mother
helped you find a name for what you were going through.
It sounds like you had very little understanding around you
and a forum and this site could be a good place for you
to start healing in that way..

take your time reading around.
thank you for sharing so much.
All the best .
It can just get better now.

vaginismus problem

Dear Curious,

Many thanks for being so open about your thoughts.  I really hope you find some useful information and support writing on the forum.  Your experiences of medical dealings really resonated; there is nothing more frustrating than being told to just relax when, if you could, you would!

Thank you again and all my best wishes
vaginismus problem


About the readings:

A lot of what I've got is in book form, not electronic.  However, there are some electronic journals which you might be able to access.  These include Journal of Sex Research, Women and Therapy, The Journal of Sex Research, and Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.  If you are university you might be able to access these through a library catalogue.  I have yet to go through them thoroughly, tho there looks like there are some good articles there.  If I can (depending on my technical knowledge!) I will try to post a link to any good ones so people can have a look.


I know all those journals of course but i was hoping for
specific  titles?

As for the books, can you please write their titles too?

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