Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Le Belle Dame, Clamp?

Evening Vaginistas,

I've not written anything for aaages on here, and you know why?

Drumroll please.............(A bit better than that, come on now, put some effort in.....Thanks)

I'm cured.


I mean.......I can't even really believe it still to be honest. After years of uncertainty, humiliating doctors appointments, two years of therapy, lots of hilarious, agonising, awful moments, body-crippling pain, confusion, self-loathing, border-line hysteria, and buckets and buckets full of over-sharing, I beat vaginismus. I fucking BEAT the fucker!

I wanted to come to you all with a lovely fairytale ending, but actually when it comes down to it, it didn't take a prince on a steed to sweep me off my feet, which isn't really very *me* anyway. OK, maybe it is a little bit....

oh Eric, when will you come for me?

Obviously at SOME point it did require a man's involvement, and without going into too much detail (I know, I know, why start now right?!) not only can I now DO the sex, I even ENJOY the sex. Waa!*  but even so, it isn't really down to my partner. (Sorry. You did very well though dear). Ahem.

It took determination, and patience, and a bloody huge dose of being able to laugh at myself, and laydeez, it has paid off. From this very self-effacing speech you would be fair in saying that that I seem just a little bit proud of myself, and I really am. I'm also amazed – I don't think I ever really believed it could work, until it actually did.

I'm cured.

Thank you so much for everyone who has been involved in this blog, to the lovely friends who've listened to me telling them in great detail about my vagina, and to everyone who is going through the journey too - I hope that if you take nothing else from my blog, you take this – we can beat the fucker. I did it, and I am capable of tripping over perfectly flat surfaces.....which is possibly slightly irrelevant, but you get my drift.

Thanks so much. With lots of love from me and my fully functioning, no-longer the lady-with-a-clamp vag.

Keeks x

* In case you're wondering who the frightfully lucky young chap is, I managed to bag myself the aforementioned posh totty,from previous posts - the lucky devil

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Keek’s Excellent Things to do on a Date

Hi Vaginistas,

In the world of dating, I am much happier being the one who puts the leg work in. I think it’s because generally I am more attracted to shy men, and am a headstrong and rather opinionated wee rascal, so I anticipate that they will need me to chivvy things along. Patronising? Perhaps, but I am comfortable with this. I am also the sort of person who would rather ask and be told no, than not ask and instead spend my time dithering around waiting hopefully to be asked out, like a regency lady fluttering my fan at any potential beau in a desperate attempt at flirtation, and then watching with dignity as they run off with the society belle, happy that at least I have not put myself out in any way*. Incidentally, this doesn’t translate to other areas of my life, where I am generally too scared to throw myself into doing the things I truly love in case I fail and oh god this is getting depressing, back to dating.

I think we have all agreed that I do not set much store by dignity. I’m just not very good at it, apart from anything else; I am one of those people that can trip over a perfectly flat pavement, so I’ve really given up trying to hang on to it. It’s easier that way.

With that being the case, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I have been very proactive in my pursuing of a certain young man of my acquaintance. I am happy with this, it seems to be going rather well at the moment, but there is still a niggling feeling at the bottom of my stomach that tells me “if you’re not careful, he will think you’re a very forward sort of a female, and that would just not do”**. I think that this is really one of the most permeating of patriarchal propaganda - women are still in general not expected to be the ones to pursue romantic encounters. In fact, I know plenty of women who actively would NOT ask a man out, and find it incredibly odd that I do (I say odd, they usually say things like “I think it’s GREAT how you’re brave enough to do it, I just know I couldn’t” which is clearly nonsense). If you have moved away from home, developed a career, heck if you can just wield a bread knife in the general area of a loaf with little personal peril, you have already undertaken far braver things than just asking someone for a drink.  

Anyway. I think I have been making excellent headway in my pursuing of said attractive man***, though given disappointing past experiences I am trying very hard not to let myself get carried away. Saying that, I had a mental mini-meltdown recently, where a lovely and indulgent friend was on the receiving end of many, many self-loathing diatribes of the “oh GOD, it’s bound to go WRONG, why am I such a DICK” variety. Nevertheless, I persevere, and after a couple of what I am calling successful dates have compiled a list of excellent things to always do on dates:

1. Make sure you do a dreadful and frankly offensive impression of your date’s accent, at all times.
2. Talk about bras, often, and for long stretches. If the conversation turns to other matters, make sure you frequently draw the conversation back to bras. People love bras, right?
3. Do a loud and highly inaccurate impression of what you imagine the singing mice to sound like, in a busy and quite respectable restaurant.

So there you are, three top tips for a winning date! YOU’RE WELCOME VAGINISTAS, YOU ARE WELCOME.

*it’s possible I have been reading Georgette Heyer novels recently. Possible.
**Heyer again.
*** he needs a moniker. I will have to work on this. Suggestions? 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Um hello, so I think I like a boy.....

Hello Vaginistas,

Lawks a-mercy, it has been so ruddy long since I've written anything on here! Sorry about that, did you miss me? Just pretend. PRETEND you've missed me? Thanks. 

What to tell you? Life has been steadily ticking on, as it does, and some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. I'm currently temping in a really lovely company - all of my new colleagues are straight up peaches, which is brilliant and slightly overwhelming. One colleague, in particular, is really rather lovely.....

It's taken me a little bit by surprise actually. It's been a really long time since I've had that wowzers-this-has-hit-me-right-in-the-guts excitement about someone. A really, really long time; I'd sort of forgotten how it feels. I'd actually thought for a while that maybe I just wasn't capable of it any more, and was mentally cataloguing the rabbit breeds I was going to start stock-piling for the sad spinster years. 

But anyway, I'm not good with it. It's terrifying really; anyone with horribly low self-esteem can probably back me up on this, but instead of just feeling excited about it, I am just really, really scared that it's all going to crumble down in a big sweaty mess, and hurt. 

I think I should just be excited - he's told me he likes me too. We had a date last week (I asked him out - screw you, the patriarchy) which was unbelievably good. Game-changing good. We talked about a particular early church heresy that we are both interested in and it was SEXY. But he's gone on holiday now for 2 weeks, which means that my evil, naysaying inner voice* has come out to play. 

"He's going to AMERICA" the evil little self-loathing prick pipes up, "Where everyone has flat stomachs because they don't eat piles of mash and drink too much red wine, and don't trip over perfectly flat flooring, and he's going to be out there thinking about how rubbish you are in comparison". 

Shut up evil little voice, you are a twat and I will not listen!

But the evil little voice knows there is precedent for this. It reminds me of the last time I really and properly liked someone. I had just started to think that maybe it could be a thing, and he ended it all. And the time before that it happened too - and both times they told me they "liked me too much" to see me any more.  These things happen, I know that, but I really would like this to be a thing. A proper thing......

So I am not going to let myself be excited, not yet. But maybe, if you like, if you want to, maybe you could be just a *tiny bit* excited for me? 


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Woe and despair - a pointless moany update

Morning Vaginistas,

I haven't blogged for ages, mainly because I am overcome with ennui, which has recently started to transform into despair. I'm trying my hardest not to totally give in, but the tug of war between ennui and despair is starting to go in favour of the latter, and ennui is clearly too "meh" about the whole thing to put in a proper fight. Even calling it "Thierry Ennui" isn't helping any more. An endless round of job applications and fruitless interviews has been sapping me of my strength.

I'm sorry I don't have anything interesting to say. I am somewhat of a fairweather vaginismus-warrior, and when things aren't going my way the last thing I want to do is grapple with the hubble telescope.

Anyay, just thought I'd put my head above the parapet and say sorry - I will be back on it and feeling positive again soon I'm sure. I think. I mean, probably.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Naked lust

Hello Vaginistas,

As I type this Andy Murray and Roger Federer are head-to-head in the men's final at wimbledon. It's an exciting game so far (I say, with as much confidence in my own knowledge on the subject  as my Mum musing if it's possible to check her email and be on "the internets" at the same time). Two men, in the peak of physical condition wearing delightfully well-cut tennis whites, running around all sweaty and flexing their arm muscles.


Now, I know what you're thinking, and if it sounds like this blog post is just going to be a big perve fest, where I drool over pretty men for my own gratification, let me reassure you now - it most definitely is.

You see, I've noticed something lately, that I only haven't noticed before because it seems to be quite ingrained in my pysche and that of people around me - I've realised that we're meant to find men physically repulsive. 

"There is nothing more disgusting than a naked man" Russell Kane said recently on a stand up show which I forget the name of.

This is Russell Kane: 

Oh dear, that perfectly toned torso is quite repellent, do put it away
Yes, quite hideous. 
This isn't the first time I've heard this, but it's the first time I really noticed it and paid attention to what it meant. I had a conversation with a friend recently where we both admitted, a little embarrassed at our own audacity, that actually we both very much like seeing the men that we are attracted to naked. It's actually pretty darn good. But apparently we aren't meant to think this.

Now, you might be thinking "I have no idea where you have got this idea from Keeks, are you a crazy?" but think about it - have you really never had a conversation with your girlfriends where someone has said "I love men, but honestly women's bodies are so much more aesthetically pleasing"? Or seen a film where a totally beautiful "out of his league" type babe ends up with some geeky nerd, whose body she couldn't possibly be after? Because she couldn't just, you know, have a thing for skinny indie boys....

Insert "sonic screwdriver" joke here

Whilst women's bodies are constantly under scrutiny in the press, it's a running joke that men's bodies are really something quite hideous. What sane woman would possibly find a naked man in any way attractive? Their bits are just there, all flapping about and bulbous and that, how absolutely dreadful. Why would we find a penis attractive? And of course, there's that constant fail-safe that is always bloody well dragged out and flogged for all it's worth - that women's brains aren't visual and we need music, and compliments, and convincing, and dinner, and diamonds, and dim lighting to be possibly interested in doing the nasty. A quick google search turned up this which summarises lots of the points I've often heard.

Well, I just want to say, right now, that I think men's naked bodies are brilliant.

I know, this is just getting gratuitous now, I'd like to say I'm sorry but you know...

Hooray for naked men, and hooray for penises! I'm really very fond of them. 

A male friend mused to me recently "it must be so difficult, being a woman, as every part of your body is sexualised in a way that men's aren't." Perhaps this is true to a point, but it is not completely the case. A pair of broad, muscular shoulders reduce me to a wibbling wreck. Those two little lines, from the stomach down to the groin, that the chap above is sporting? I think most women will agree that they are a thing of beauty. Why do we think that men's bodies are not sexualised?

Fighting the inherent sexualisation and objectification of women within society is vital. But when we say things like this, when we reinforce this ridiculous notion that men's bodies are actually pretty unattractive we are not only insulting men, we are still objectifying women. When we pooh-pooh the notion that sexual desire can be inspired in a woman by the sight of a sexy man in naught but his birthday suit, but reinforce the utter sexualisation of a womans body without reciprocity we are reducing her to an object - the female naked form is desirable, the male is not; the female form inspires lust in man, the male doesn't inspire lust in women.

Now, I am not saying that we should even the odds by sexualising men, and obviously I'm not saying that this is the case across the board. It is just an undercurrent, something that bubbles away underneath, but undercurrents can be dangerous.

I am not in any way arguing for naked page 3 men, or that we all just happily agree to objectify each other. I know I have put up a couple of pretty topless pictures of men up here, but they are there for purely scientific reasons to prove my point, OK? IT'S SCIENCE, OK YOU GUYS? Sheesh.

I absolutely think that objectification is a bad thing, and reducing men to their bodies in the way that society does to women is not at all the way forward. But I do think we should stop saying that men are not attractive and women can't possibly find them so. It is disempowering to women as it denies their position as full, sexual human beings with their own compulsions and desires, and it is insulting to men. 

In conclusion - PENIS! 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Keeks: How to tackle sexual dysfunction

Hi Vaginistas,

After watching Cherry Healey: How to get a life last night eating a peach on the sofa (I am having a health kick, which basically means still sitting around, but eating fruit instead of crisps) I have decided to briefly turn my hand to writing TV reviews. I know, jack of all, master of none as they say. It's relevant to the blog, I promise.

                                   Do you get it? Do you get it? AHAHAHAHA!

Cherry Healey, journalist, has set out on a journey to find out what life is like for those of us who are not smug, married new Mums in the "Modern World". Or something. In this recent episode she decided to investigate addictions and why people are drawn to taking pills. 

She talks to some guys who like sucking laughing gas out of balloons first, which seems nowhere near as fun as doing it with helium quite frankly, and the buzz goes after literally 5 seconds, so not sure what that is all about, but anyway. They all seem happy, and enjoyed it, except for one chap who has anxiety attacks and quite rightly doesn't want to do anything that might trigger one. Fine.

On to the 2 people in this programme that I am most particularly interested in. One, Suzy, is an ex-professional dancer who has become addicted to diet pills since taking a new career path and losing her dancers body. Cherry pulls a wry face at the camera as she wrangles with some pesky jeans and tells us about her ongoing battle with her weight, citing a truly horrible episode at university where she took laxitaves to keep thin. I wait for her to smirk and mention the baby weight, but she doesn't, which is a relief to us all. Anyway, she has happily left those days behind her now, but says that she understands where Suzy's desire to find a "miracle cure" comes from. I'm hoping to hear something about underlying pyschological or emotional causes at this point, but perhaps that'll come later.....

Suzy shows Cherry (who are both about a size 10, I would say, 12 at a push) around her flat, including a kitchen cupboard with a worrying lack of any food and is rather chock full of dieting pills, and her bedroom mirror which is surrounded not only with pictures of her as a genuine bonafide CHILD (a body which she really and actually never will be able to get back) and of celebrities whose jobs are to be slim and beautiful. Cherry rightly points out the body types on show here are so varied it seems her ideal body is actually impossible for her to achieve. She then asks her to talk her through some of the pills and what they do. Suzy mentions some diet which involves drinking pepper and water or something?! Which sounds truly horrendous, to which Cherry only responds that she tried a liquid only diet once too. 

At this point, a pyschologist and a doctor come on screen to talk about the pyschological basis to Suzy's dependancy on these pills, and about the long term effects of bad nutrition, of starving the body and so on, about how she has a lovely, perfectly healthy body and instead of taking pills she should eat healthily and do exercise......Oh hang on, sorry no that didn't happen, MY MISTAKE! Sorry about that. Instead, they go and try on some Bikinis, truly demonstrating how tiny they both are and how unneccessary and quite probably damaging to the health taking these pills may well be. Suzy is so upset that she crys. CUE PSYCHOLOGIST....

Nope, nope, sorry! What actually happens is that Cherry decides to take Suzy to a dance class, not to remind her how much she loves to dance and how good exercise makes you feel but as an alternative "solution". Suzy emerges looking glowing and happy and remembering why she loved dancing so much, but at the end when they catch up with her, she admits she's been unable to quite bring herself to throw away the pills in case there is a day when she is feeling down or indeed "ill." Ill?! Er.....I'm not sosure that's the day to be drinking slim fast personally, which Cherry tells her. No, no, sorry! Haha, sorry, Cherry actually tells her that she was so impressed by Suzy's perfectly health and well balanced approach to managing her weight that she went out and bought some of the pills.

On to the 2nd interesting case of the programme, and to my mind not an addict of any kind at all. Without re-watching the programme I can't seem to find out his name, (which is not going to happen because I have far better things to do with my time like sticking carpet tacks into the soles of my feet), but he was a lovely young welsh chap (I can't remember his age, but I'm going to take a stab at early 20s) with erectile dysfunction problems. As a result he was "addicted" to Viagra. Cherry talks to him about various other options, including a penile implant. She shows him a video of the procedure itself, where they both scream and look away from the screen, and Cherry gurns at him in horror, as the surgery goes on. They dismiss this as an extreme option.

Then, they take a visit to a specialist in erectile dysfunction, who goes through various options with him and then refers the chap to a qualified sexual therapist who will take him through a course to understand and work out the underlying pyschological reasons behind his problem.

Ah, no, sorry.....sorry, me again, sorry! Got muddled up! What they actually do is a quick google search and find a hypnotherapist. He has a session with the hypnotherapist, and is full of hope and feels as if a burden has been lifted off him, at which point the highly insightful Cherry says:

"Seeing how you're reacting now I'm starting to think that this is probably an emotional problem" (or words to that effect, I already told you I'm not re-watching). 

The chap is successfully treated after 2 hypnotherapy sessions, which is really and properly fantastic, and has gone on to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with his boyfriend. Later in the programme we hear that they couple are engaged and in my favourite and sweetest bit of dialogue of the whole programme shyly admit that once they're married "we'll move in together" (my heart melted at that).

Now, I know this is BBC3 and a lighthearted look at lifestyle choices, but by the end I was really fuming. Not only about the way that sexual dysfunction was included in a programme about "Addictions" but also about the way that Suzy's problem was treated in such an off-hand manner. I am not a doctor, but I would personally have brought in a nutritionist and a GP to talk through her body issues. Perhaps they did this, perhaps they did all of these things, but where was the mention of it in the programme? What made me most angry is that the negative and seemingly destructive way she related to her own body wasn't in question at all - it's a given that young, slim women feel shit about themselves, that is just the nature of our society. Young women watching that (and let's not forget that BBC3's target audience are the younger demographic) wouldn't come away with an affirmation that we should love and respect our bodies, that we should do exercise and eat well to be healthy and feel good, but that we should be beating our bodies into submission, whether that is through using dieting pills or through exercise.

I am still waiting for a decent programme about sexual dysfunction. Cherry at one point admitted that she hadn't realised problems such as erectile dysfunction were actually such big issues. The only good thing about this particular segment was that the man they interviewed was young and healthy, which at least showed that erectile dysfunction can actually effect anyone, and can have a pyschological basis.

Anyway, this was all redeemed because right at the end, there was a bit where they said "If any of the problems in this programme have affected you please...."

Oh, who am I kidding. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Porn - An update

Hi Vaginistas,

The sun is shining in London town, I am unemployed, and so I'm going to go and have a walk somewhere new soon, to a folly which isn't a folly - exciting. I love a walk I do. What? I'm unemployed, I've got to find my free kicks where I can. I'm going to put a long floaty dress on and pretend I'm a regency lady. Later I might pull the labels off some empty beer bottles and see if they have enough adhesive left to stick to my forehead. It's going to be a veritable jamboree of excitement.

But before I do that (steady Keeks, steady, the labels will still be there later), I thought I'd squander some valuable sun time by writing an update on the NHS porn, hooray! A friend asked me about it (I AM BRILLIANT AT ANONYMITY) and it seemed like a good idea to follow up on it.

Well. I'm afraid it was just too much for me. I'm sorry, I tried, I really tried! It's just too dated, I can't hear the filthy saxophone wailing and see the flouro pink eyeshadow and perms without it all simultaneously disgusting and tickling me. Whilst it is entertaining in it's way, it doesn't do what it's meant to do. I mean, for me that is, some of you might love it, I'm not judging.....(I am a little bit)

The point of it, as I said before, was for me to look at normal happy couples having sex, and realise that it doesn't hurt when they get to the main event. Fine. Except I know other people have sex and that it doesn't hurt. We all know that; after all women with Vaginismus are the dirty little secret, not the ones having lots of lovely, pain-free sex. But watching a fella humping away on an impeccably-permed lady in tasteful soft focus doesn't make me think "hang on, her face isn't scrunched up in agony!" it just makes me think "Look what he's doing with his PELVIS! Why is he doing it that hard?! That would definitely hurt, if it were me. She looks happy though."

The face of allure

I suppose it's about changing perceptions, in fact I know it is, but going back 30 years apparently isn't doing it for me. Who knew?! 

What I have discovered though, which I've found really useful, is that if you find porn that does do it for you*, using the dilators, sorry trainers - we have to call them trainers and not dilators! News bulletin vaginistas! My therapist told me this, because you're not making anything bigger, you're showing the muscles that they can expand. Which makes sense really - is a whole different kettle of fish. I wish that this had come up in therapy, but it actually makes complete sense - you're training your body to realise that penetration isn't painful, and you'll (hopefully) be attempting penetration only in a state of arousal. It's completely different, and so much easier. Since I discovered this, using the trainers has become so much easier. Really! In fact, so much easier that I am on the 2nd biggest one. 

This is a metaphorical rosette. But I really have one though.

I KNOW! 2ND BIGGEST! Look at me and my stretchy, stretchy vagina! Behold! The wonders of the stretchiness! What's that? You heard that my stretchy vagina is on the 2nd biggest trainer? Why yes, you are correct, here's my autograph, NO PHOTOS!!

The hubble can fuck off though.

So, if you're using the trainers and are struggling with them, this is my suggestion - don't do it, as I was originally instructed, in the manner of a Victorian lady, sitting back and thinking of England, breathing deeply and calmingly, and pretending the whole thing isn't happening. Finding a nice, sensible novel to read to take your mind off the process is fine, but actually you want your body to know that when things get steamy and you try penetration it won't hurt, and so getting into that zone is better - and honestly, so much easier. You don't want that disconnect, of letting it all go on down there and counting down the time til you can remove the thing, that's (hopefully) not what will be happening during sex after all. You want to be able to feel it, you just want it to feel good, and not painful. Try it ladies, it is better.

Now, I'm off to find a folly, and maybe have an ice lolly.

A parting rhyme. I know, I'm just all give, I really am.

 * Porn that women enjoy. I know. I KNOW. It's a big and contentious issue. Bloody the patriarchy.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The vaginista and the pea

Hello Vaginistas,

I'm sorry I haven't written anything for a while. Quickly, I just want to say thank you to those of you who sent me emails; I'm sorry I haven't replied, I am struggling in a fug of unemployed and new-spinster lethargy, but I promise I will drag myself out of it and reply soon. Needless to say, I am so happy and humbled (if I can say "humbled" without it coming across as the opposite) to receive emails from you all. I have received amazing, inspiring, heartbreaking stories from amazing men and women, and I'm really quite overwhelmed that you contacted me. Honestly, it's a surprising and beautiful side-effect to this blog. I'm hoping (with the authors' consent) to get some of the stories up here soon.

Anyway, all that aside, things are a little funny at the moment. Breaking up with someone rather makes you put sexual therapy on a back burner, but I think progress is still steady. My vagina and I are more or less at peace. I do however have one quite funny story to tell you.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I had a tiny, quite painful little lump on my labia. My heart did that one big THUMP followed by the rush of panic that floods up from feet to head that you get when you realise something bad. I calmly went through all of the most likely reasons for the appearance of the lump:

I conjectured.

When I had my first (failed) smear test, the well-meaning but nevertheless patronising nurse told me not to worry, as "Virgins" are at 99% less risk of any infections or diseases in their nether-regions than the sexually initiated. But there's always exceptions right? And there is still that 1% to consider, lurking balefully in the background.

Having accepted that conjecture and panic probably wasn't going to help, I decided I had to go to the drop in gum clinic, grit my teeth and put up with any sort of incredulity or - if I was really unlucky - dismissal that might be sent my way. A painful pea is not a normal thing to find on your foof, after all.

I sat in the waiting room reading, trying to push the thought of horrible, cold and cruel speculums out of my mind, and was shortly joined by two women. As they sat down on the other side of the room, one turned to the other and chuckled:

"Did you see? The receptionist recognised me. Haha, I'm in here all the time!" 

Her friend duly chuckled. I mentally punched myself in the brain to stop it from unfairly judging. What a cow my brain is. It did help me to relax slightly however. "Other women do this all the time! All the time!" I thought. It can't be so bad......

Eventually, my name was called and I went in to see a male Doctor. Now, I know that perhaps some women would prefer to see a female Doctor but honestly, it doesn't bother me either way - as long as they are professionals and not squeamish, then I'm happy. I'm really more worried about what the Doctor uses, than whether the Doctor is male or Female. I was mainly worried in case he turned out to be one of the Vaginismus un-initiated.

Happily, he turned out to be actually and properly amazing. I told him the problem, and he very calmy said it was probably nothing, but definitely a good idea to check it out. 

"I think we should try a speculum" he said, at which point my heart did that big BOOM! Thing again, and all the blood left my face "But we will take it very slowly - I promise. If it hurts, we can stop, if you don't feel comfortable, we can stop. There is absolutely no pressure at all". I loved him. I wanted to give him a hug, but I didn't. 

A Nurse took me through to a treatment room, where I was told to undress from the waist down, get on the bench and put my legs in the stirrups. 
But, I don't see any horses?
Oh, the stirrups. I'm sure you all agree that sitting like this, vulnerable and wide open to the world and it's wife (Yes, OK, so a Doctor and a Nurse, but STILL), with a light pointed directly inside you, is not a fun thing. I was already dreading the painful muscle spasming. Obviously, a smear test is not a fun thing for anyone. I doubt there are many women who look in their calendar and shout


But vaginismus is an extra cherry on top of the whole affair.

I sat there until the Doctor came in, with my legs in the air, gazing whistfully at my disgarded pants. I duly made small talk with the Nurse about the weather, because I am British dammit, and making small talk about the weather is my duty in ALL SITUATIONS. Even situations where I am laying spreadeagled with a stranger snapping on some natty rubber gloves. That done, the Doctor commenced with the examination. It turned out the little pea had disappeared, and was in all likelihood a gland that had become blocked, which is apparently quite normal and can happen from time to time. I am adding this to the list of things that No One Has Told Me About My Vagina (thanks a LOT Catholic education).

He decided we should try a smear test anyway. I felt all the muscles in my body clam up tight. He told me to relax, and started. I squealed. He stopped. He tried again. I squealed and started to cry. He stopped.

"I'm so sorry" I said, feeling the full and mortifying failure of my body.

"What on earth are you apologising for?" He said mildly, putting away the horrible instrument of female torture. I considered asking him to marry me. 

"It's OK dear" Said the nurse cheerfully "We can try a smaller one".

WHAT. WHAT IS THIS? A smaller speculum?! That is a thing?! WHY DID WE NOT TRY THIS FIRST?! At the time, I was too relieved to feel anything but glad that the Evil thing had gone.

The smaller speculum worked fine. I realise in hind-sight that a previous Nurse had told me about them before, and I wish I'd remembered on the way into the examination. Anyway, after that everything went fine. The actual smear samples were nothing; I could barely feel them.

"All done" The doctor said cheerfully, removing his gloves, and leaving me to get dressed. I was exultant, euphoric! I was a proper, real woman, a woman who has smear tests! A woman, with a vagina, that can have SMEAR TESTS!

As I sat there, beaming at my naked ankles high in the air and thinking to myself "I AM WOMAN. I AM PROPER WOMAN. ME VAGINA HAVE SMEAR" the nurse pulled the curtain across to let me dress and turned to me one last time,

"If this happens again" She said kindly "Just make sure you ask for the Virgin speculum."

With that, she left the room.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Breaking up.....

Hi Vaginistas,

I'm sorry I haven't written anything for a while for the (4? 1000? OK, 2) readers of this blog. Basically, it's been a shitty couple of weeks, including losing my job and now, this week, splitting up with my boyfriend. He is wonderful and lovely, and has done nothing wrong at all, it is just one of those things, as THEY say. THEY = WANKERS.

I'll be back on track and writing again soon, but in the mean time, sorry. I'm so happy that this blog seems to have found people that want to read it, and love getting messages and things from the ridiculous rambles I write.  I didn't know what to expect what I started it, but am loving hearing from people and having an outlet for everything. I guess this is just another of my usual outpourings, just rather more melancholy than usual.

If you need me I'll be in my PJs, gin soaked and weeping at episodes of Doctors. Probably.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bras, nipples and complicated feelings

Hi Vaginistas,

I thought I'd do a post about how vaginismus feels - not physically, but deep down, in your achey feeling-pit of a centre. I think in my opinion, this is one of the hardest things to overcome with the big ouchey, and also one of the most important. So here goes.

Every now and again, about once a year, I thrust my feet into my very old and stinky, but still delightfully comfortable carpet boots*, grit my teeth and march out my door, with steel in my eyes and determination vibrating through my very being. 

Bra shopping.

I've pretty much given up on this most feminine of consumerist activities. It's not that I'm afraid of them, or have rejected them as patriarchal strapping and shaping devices. I quite like bras. They're pretty, and they stop people going "OOH! NIPPLES!" at you, and at certain times of the month when your boobs are aching, they hold you up and stop them from jiggling around painfully. Amiright fellas? Yaknowwarramsaying.You see, the problem is they just don't make bras in my size.

you mean....they meet in the middle?!

One day when I realised it was that time of year, I wandered resignedly into a high street department store, telling myself I would leave the second the panic set in from seeing all those bras made for normal women, with normal sized boobs. To my delight and surprise I stumbled, ecstatically, incredulously, upon a whole range of bras which were all in my size!! I couldn't believe it - hail to thee, oh wondrous department store and this, thine glorious bounty of bras! I thought. Or something along those lines. I didn't notice right away the abundance of pink patterns, hearts and the like, which covered them.

I picked a couple up, and noticed they had copious amounts of tags attached to them. Curious as to how a bra needed such an awful lot of reading material - maybe they were a new invention? Maybe they were some fantastic eco thingamajiggy, and as I walked they would turn my body heat into oxygen? - I opened one of the pink tags to have a look. 

"If my breasts are still growing, is it OK to wear an underwired bra?" The tag questioned. It went on to answer itself, but I had already stopped reading, and replaced the bras in a hurry.

Training bras. 

My boobs are SO SMALL, they are considered by this highly respected department store to be NOT QUITE FINISHED GROWING YET. I am 28. 

I practically ran out of the store, feeling appalled and humiliated, a little bit giggly at the ridiculousness of it, and resolved never to try this again.

Now, honestly, I am really a normal sized person. I'm quite small, sure, but not unusually so, if you saw me walking down the road I'm almost 75% sure that you wouldn't think "How strange! That woman is fully grown, and yet her breasts are still the same size as an adolescent girl! I shall put her in a cage and parade her about town with my mermaid and hairy woman, and charge tuppance a stare!"

I know it is not done for one to talk about being "too small" and please believe me when I say I am not trying to show off! Really and honestly. I know that women have - and have at various points in my own life also felt - negatively about thighs which seem to be just too big, for stomachs that seem to be far too round, and of course I know that this is a whole, enormous issue. What about women whose breasts are so large to the point of being painful, of being a health issue? For women who have had masectomies and are left only with scars, or prosthetics? 

The reason I compare this particular sentiment to vaginismus is that there is something so particular about a woman's breasts, and their importance to a woman's femininity that at ridiculous moments times like these, when I can't find a stupid bra my size because they actually don't come small enough, that I feel like a failure, like I'm not quite a proper woman at all. I feel de-feminised.

Burn the flipping things, and then lets go and get nachos!

If this sounds frivolous, overblown, conceited and lacking in any sense of wider perspective, then I would say you could well be right, though I've tried to show that that isn't the case. But when it comes to one's own appearance, and certainly one's appearance put in the context of what it means to your inherent womanhood and sexuality then perhaps you might start to see why it is to a degree, important. You see how this applies to vaginismus? It's all one and the same thing - my body isn't how a woman's body should be and so I am a failure as a woman. I feel awful, and sad, and ashamed of myself.

I don't really care about bras anymore. I've stock piled on the few that I've found that fit, and often I just jiggle about without a bra on, WILLING people to say anything to me. And vaginismus? Well, I've found peace with that too, in as much as I want to stamp the bastard out. Stamp that bastard RIGHT out, jiggling all the way.

*if you don't have a pair of carpet boots you are a) missing out on all the excitement of static shocks and b) not as comfortable as me)

** Side note - have you read The Beauty Myth? If not, you should!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Keeks gets a porno

Evening Vaginistas,

As London is resolute in its decision to be gloomy and october-esque, I thought I'd cheer us all up in Summer's absence with a little tale about porn. I know, I'm all heart.

I was at a therapy session, ensconced in the classic sepia carpet chair (found in all good treatment rooms). We'd just moved on to how things were progressing with the treatment, having talked about what had been going on in my life recently - which, incidentally is the part I love; I can talk as much as I want about ME without having to ask her anything about herself; the narcissists DREAM!.

"Tell me how you feel about the concept of sex." She of the fabulous coral earrings asked me.

"Er......It's nice? I like it?" I answered cautiously - playing it cool, obviously. I don't want the woman to think I'm a sex fiend.

"Good, that's good" She nodded, and wrote something on her notebook (probably something like THIS WOMAN IS A TOTAL SEX FIEND.)

"And, regarding penetration, how do you feel about that? For example, do you think it will hurt?"

I looked at her in some confusion at this. I mean.....Call me mad, but I thought that that was an established truth. I wondered what she thought I was there for, if not because I think that sex hurts. I mean.... I know sex hurts, I've tried it.

"Yes." I said firmly, confident that at least I knew the answer to this one. "I think it will definitely hurt."

"Really?" She said, apparently surprised (I started to wonder idly how many sessions I'd had and if perhaps somewhere along the line they'd replaced my original therapist without telling me. Didn't she remember why we were there? Thinking about it, they could have distracted me by handing on the fabulous coral earrings to the replacement, the clever swines!)

"On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how much would you say you feel certain about the likelihood of penetration hurting?" She glanced at me, and continued to scribble on her notepad.

The pain game - Fun for everyone!

"Er...." I shuffled about a bit in my chair. Honestly, I was surprised that she was surprised, but decided to go along with it. "10." I said firmly "Definitely a good solid 10."

"Really?" She said again, with that irritating lift on the first syllable that people use to make sure you know they're surprised. "Really? That's interesting." Scribble, scribble went the pad.


"This is something we're going to have to work on, this dependence on the certainty of pain" She said to me. I nodded in agreement. Yes it was. Remind me again, how many sessions?......

"Now......I know you're only a young girl, so I hope you won't mind my asking, but have you ever watched any porn?" She said gently. 

", not really" I said shrugging, all nonchalance. It's a times like this in our conversations that I most feel a little bit like I'm having a conversation with an unruly aunt, who out of the blue will say something dreadful without realising, like referring to the cupboard where she keeps her secret chocolate supply as her "glory hole"*. You know, a bit embarrassed, a bit flushed, and always half a muscle twitch away from histerical giggling.

She nodded again, scribbling away. "Well, perhaps it would be useful for you to spend a bit of time watching some. I know there is a lot out there, lots of it very nasty and aggressive stuff, I promise I'm not suggesting anything like that. Have you ever heard of 'the lovers guide?' " She fished out a box set of DVDs from one of her drawers and handed it to me. "I think you should take it, and spend a bit of time watching the sections specifically focussed on penetration. It might help you get this idea out of your head that it hurts."

Now, I hadn't heard of the lovers guide, but dear sweet jimminy crickets I have now. It is an 80's rose-tinted, sex-saxophone-backed vintage extravaganza, that is not in the least bit sexy. Not for me anyway, I dunno, you may be into that sort of thing....
This isn't from the lovers guide, but my hairdresser has this poster on his wall.
I know they are all lovely, real couples who are genuinely in love and all that, but I really didn't need to see that amount of perms. Not with soft focus. It was too difficult to distinguish collar from cuffs. And I actually feared for the penises of some of those men, really I did - they were brave soldiers indeed to let such fuscia talons anywhere near their cock and balls.

That said, I'm sure it is just another facet to this interesting and often baffling process, and I'm also sure that it will help, just like the breathing exercises (which I haven't written about, but are basically yoga breathing type things, to help relax and calm you) and especially just like the dilators. That hubble telescope is not going to conquer itself. I haven't found the section on penetration yet (Honestly, there are SO MANY CDs to this thing!) but maybe it will help, seeing relaxed happy couples doing it. Maybe the perms will help? Who knows!

If you would like to share your porno/therapy stories please do in the comments - share and share alike!

* Yes. This has actually happened. I know, HILARIOUS. I didn't correct her.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

How not to cure vaginismus

Hi Vaginistas,

Back before I had been diagnosed with lady-zip, I was going out with a young fella who I quite liked at the time, but who in hind sight was a bit of a knob-end. Sorry, is that a bit mean? OK so he wasn't a bit of a knob-end, but he wasn't right for me (*cough* total knob-end *cough*). We'd been together for a little while, and hadn't managed to have penetrative sex, or as he liked to call it - ACTUAL sex. (I don't know what he thought all the things we did do were, but apparently they didn't count as proper sex. Really, as he was that ungrateful I should've just saved my energy and watched re-runs of Dr Who instead. Much more fun. And less sticky. And easier on the knees) ANYWAY. Obviously, we didn't know then that I had vaginismus, but we knew there was something wrong, a matter compounded by another problem. 

He was a big boy.

When I say big, I mean it was enormous people, it would easily eclipse the hubble telescope; in fact it would quite possibly eclipse the moon thinking about it. It was a huge pillar of man flesh. A manaconda. It was the nelson's column of penises*. IT WAS BIG, is what I'm getting at here.

Now, believe me, I am not bragging. Bigness is not something that us lady with clamps are impressed by. We are scared of it. We see bigness and we run away covering our faces and screaming "DEAR GOD THE HUMANITY!!!!" 

"There is no WAY that you are getting THAT in THERE"

But on the plus size, his bigness meant that he was prepared for tricky sexual situations. It had been difficult with past girlfriends, he told me (not without a touch of pride), and that what I needed was practice with other, smaller phallicy things.

Now, he wasn't far wrong in some ways......but without any knowledge of vaginismus, the sort of practice he had in mind was really not what I should have been doing. Not what I should have been doing at all.

I bought myself a big, plastic, pink vibrator that had 20 different speeds and rotating ballbearings, a happy face on the tip (seriously) and rabbit ears (Side note - why the bunnies, why?! The bunnies are innocents, they don't need to be a part of this! Leave the poor bunnies alone!) The thing was bloody terrifying. It was like some sort of a hellish "barbies first torture chamber" set. I proceeded to torture myself with it. 

I thought, in true British stiff-upper-lip style that what I needed to do was stop being so ruddy silly, and of COURSE it was going to hurt, until I just pushed through the first bit of excruciating pain and then things would be fine. But of course I was wrong! You see, as I've explained in other sections of this blog, the muscles need to be taught that penetration shouldn't be painful, and this takes time and various sized implements, a lovely therapist and patience and no qualms about dignity whatsoever. I set about proving to myself quite the opposite.

I forced that stupid thing against the shrieking and protesting of my muscles, and let me tell you it really, really hurt. Really. It also in no way helped to cure me. Please, please don't try this if you have or think you have vaginismus, it will really only reinforce the psychological conviction that penetration is painful, and won't help in the long or short run. It'll just convince your muscles that they are right and should continue to do everything they can to keep that thing out, out, out. It hurt, and I felt more ashamed and freakish, and overwhelmed with panic.

Having carried out this self-torture a few times, Mr (Not a) Knob-end and I decided, unsuccessfully, to attempt sex. As I lay teary, hyperventilating, shaking and humiliated, he did his best to comfort me, but couldn't resist saying "You're just not practicing enough!"

It wasn't his fault of COURSE, because he had never heard of vaginismus, and didn't know how it should be treated and thought that what I was doing was the best thing. That's why we're here today, dear vaginistas, because people DO need to know these things. But if I had never been diagnosed I wonder if I would still be trying the same thing now, hurting myself because I thought it was the only way to be cured. 

We split up eventually, without too much fuss on either side, and unsurprisingly we never did manage penetration through these methods. In fact, as I stood on his porch and we said our final goodbyes, he smiled ruefully, without irony and said:

"It's such a shame we never actually had sex". 

You know what? I don't think it is actually. I really don't think it is. 

*are there too many references to the napoleonic war in this blog? 

Monday, 30 April 2012


So, just a quick message to say thank you to the lovely vagenda magazine, for publishing this: which is a sort of snap shot of my blog; I'm so excited to have it up there on a wicked feminist website. 

Thank you for coming and checking out my blog and for the really lovely comments, and also to the people who sent me private emails; it is wonderful to know there are so many strong Women (and Men!) dealing with Vaginismus and other similar issues. I'm really so happy that you felt compelled to contact me in whatever way, so thank you again. Please do feel free to comment and send me messages, I love hearing from you! 

Have a flower 

Proper blog soon, right now I'm eating hula hoops.....


Friday, 20 April 2012

Auntie flo

Ugh. Don’t start with me today vaginistas, OK? DO NOT start, because I’m feeling irrationally teary and am craving a bushel of doughnuts like nobody’s business. And ouch! My stomach feels like I’m early-career Britney, and I’ve just spent the morning stomach-crunching my perfect little abs in matching tracky b’s and crop top, which I know for a FACT isn’t the case because my skinny jeans won’t do up (and did I mention the doughnuts?). UGH. Pass me the hot water bottle, would you? And the Sharpe DVD boxset. And doughnuts.

Some things about being a lady-woman just aren’t as fun as others, like this monthly ritual of aches and blood and hormones and men shuffling away looking a bit scared because I’ve mentioned aches and blood and hormones. At best, it’s an inconvenience – a messy, achey, undignified inconvenience.

For the lady with a clamp, it can be another irritating hurdle.

I refer of course to tampons. Ah, the humble tampon. They’re stored down supermarket aisles that have names like “Feminine Hygiene”, “Women’s Healthcare”, “Blood-trappers”, and “ALERT! YOU WITH THE COCK AND BALLS! THIS AISLE IS NOT FOR YOU! GET OUT, GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”. And then there’s using the flipping things. The suggested stance of putting one leg up on the bath, like it’s a valiant beast you’ve overcome with naught but your wit and a ruddy great gun, while fiddling about *down there* is one I’ve personally never mastered. Now I come to think of it, it’s probably a very particular form of yoga.

For women with V, tampons can be more than an inconvenience; they can be simply unusable. They sit there on the shelf in the lady-aisle, all prim and multi-coloured, and mocking the reluctant frou. I know this to be a true fact, because this was the case with me for years and years. Until 3 years ago, I genuinely thought that it was probably because I was a *whisper it* virgin, and gave up trying, but know now that it was because of that dastardly vaginismus.*

Now, I went to a Catholic all girls school, so my sex ed wasn’t exactly cutting edge. It was fine, but it wasn’t, you know, progressive. One particularly memorable class featured a video of a woman giving birth, and the message “DON’T EVER HAVE SEX OR YOU WILL GET PREGNANT AND GIVE BIRTH AND PROBABLY DIE, unless you’re married, in which case go for your life but DON’T USE CONDOMS”** Basically, I was an innocent type.

If you are struggling to use tampons, and are wondering if you may have vaginismus, ask yourself the following:

  •  Do you I feel anxious, scared or panicky when I think about, or try to, use a tampon?
  •  Am I certain that I am inserting it in the right place?
  •  Does it hurt when I try to insert it?
  •  Does it feel like something is physically stopping the tampon going in properly? (If you’ve got it in, but it doesn’t feel quite right - that is, you can feel the tampon - it’s not in properly.)

If the answer to any or all of these is yes, you may well have Vaginismus - maybe have a look at my page "do I have vaginismus?" to check further. 

Now, I know there are lovely, soft, un-intrusive sanitary towels, which obviously ladies with V can use. But that is not the point. Because honestly, tampons are amazing. They are OK? They have really and properly changed my life. I can swim! I can wear normal, not awful knickers!*** I can quietly change one in a communal toilet without that loud CSSSSSHHH! sound that lets EVERYONE in a mile radius know you are changing a sanitary towel.

They are a start. Honestly, if you are just in the process of starting to treat vaginismus, they are a good, small, manageable size. If you are struggling with using tampons, try applying the tips I’ve given on using dilators to see if they can help – it is important to say also that I’ve found applicator tampons are far, far easier to use than non-applicator types. I still can’t use these without the old familiar feelings of panic and fear. Applicators all the way.****

And now, strap on your favourite thong sister, and welcome to the club!!!!!....The…tampon club… yes, OK so I didn’t really think that sentence through....shhh.

*I don’t blame everything on vaginismus OK? I know that I only got a B in my BEST SUBJECT at school because I was a bit lazy and didn’t try hard enough, and not because my fnny doesn’t work properly. But in this case, it IS V’s fault. So there.

** Shame on me. This is incredibly reductive; I went to a brilliant school, and I’m pretty sure they never shouted this at us… Pretty sure.

*** I said CAN, not DO

**** Obviously make sure you properly follow all the instructions for usage etc in the tampon packet. *disclaimer face*

picture from

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Reluctant Frou

Hello Vaginistas,

I've been thinking, it's about time we came up with another name for vaginismus. I mean, it’s not a pretty word is it? And it really doesn’t tell you anything about what it stands for; quite frankly it just sounds a bit icky.I think it’s about time we came up with something a bit more catchy/whimsical. I’m a big fan of whimsy. In fact, I'm quite sad I didn't think to call this blog "The Reluctant Frou", but this post will have to do. 

To that end, here are my suggestions; please feel free to contribute below (a friend of mine suggested “The Lady is a Clamp”, which I am very pleased with): 

The Big Ouchy
Lady Zip
The Reluctant Frou
The Impenetrable Forest of Bwindi
A Nun’s Vagina
No Stuffin’ the Muffin
Fanny Flincher
Love Lockdown
The Uncompromising Clam
The No-Manny Fanny
Minge Cringer
The Lady is a Clamp
The Pissed Pussy
The Stubborn Drawbridge
The Gates of Mordor
Vagelina Clampbucket
Vaggy Voodoo
Pandora’s Box
Cunnot / Cun’t

Saturday, 31 March 2012

How does Vaginismus feel?

Well hi there! Come and pull up a chair, join me on the porch why doncha? Have some lemonade; it’s made with real lemons you know. Come on; settle down, that’s it. How’s your Dennis these days? Still got that dodgy ticker?... Well, as I’ve been sat here, I’ve just been thinking. It’s a funny thing, memory, isn’t it? When I first started trying to figure out what was wrong with me way back when, I hadn’t heard of vaginismus and had no idea what was going on with my body. Now, having got so far on the journey to “recovery”, I sometimes forget what it felt like not to know what in the heckins was happening to me.

If you find yourself where I was then, experiencing difficulties and not knowing what’s going on or why, you might want to know how vaginismus feels to see if it is something that resonates with you. Today then, I present to you my guide to how V feels. I’m not saying this is exactly how V is to everyone, but just personally how I have experienced it*, there will of course be variations from woman to woman.

This being a *whisper itsexual disfunction, it has to be put in terms of a sexual situation so buckle up; things are about to get steamy, yo…..

Picture the scene: You’ve managed to insinuate yourself into the solo company of some delightful creature who likes Murakami novels and rides an up-cycled bike to the local farmers market for his weekly shop. He’s got a delightfully mischievous smile and come-to-bed-eyes and is most DEFINITELY looking at you in a very promising way indeed. Together you’ve polished off a very good bottle of wine from Tesco (when I say very good, I mean drinkable for under a fiver) and finished discussing that TOTES EMOTIVE film you just watched together at the local picture house before popping into his for a night cap. His housemates are all out. Things are getting interesting. You both DEFINITELY want it. Then, this happens:

  1. To begin with, everything feels fine. Good, even, if Mr up-cycle knows what he’s about. Vaginismus itself doesn’t prevent you being turned on, and the physical process of the body becoming aroused is the same, so for this part things are pretty exciting. V doesn’t prevent orgasm either.
  2. You’re approaching the main event… but when any sort of penetration is attempted, things start to go wrong. First off, it hurts. You try to breathe through it. Then it really, really hurts. It feels a bit like you’re being ripped in half, right down the middle. This is due partly to the psychological side of V kicking in (of which, more later), but it’s primarily because the muscles physically clamp themselves closed. They are not keen on that weird looking thing coming towards them and trying to force its way in, in what is - quite frankly – a very pushy manner. The muscles, instead of relaxing and widening, start to spasm, which forms a sort of physical barrier. It’s the pushing against this wall of muscle that hurts, along with the actual spasms themselves.
  3. It feels impossible, like there’s no physical way on earth anything is going in there, let alone anything THAT size, you horrible brute! That can’t even be NORMAL can it?! That thing is like a missile or something! The pain makes sense, you think, because obviously it’s going to hurt if you’re trying to push something fairly sizeable through an impossible barrier.
  4. Finally comes panic – waves of butterflies and sometimes frantic tears, and then the indisputable need to be right out of that situation. RIGHT out. At this point, it is the gentleman’s duty to cuddle and reassure. You hear me gents? PUT THAT THING AWAY AND CUDDLE AND REASSURE!
  5. You don’t necessarily know what’s happening or why. Before I started therapy I didn’t know that the muscles were spasming, all I was aware of was the pain and the feeling of physical impossibility. I thought that perhaps there was something physically wrong with my anatomy, that perhaps I didn’t have a fully formed vagina, or maybe I had an intersex condition I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t know why it was happening or what to do about it.

Crucially with vaginismus, there is nothing physically wrong with the vagina. Everything anatomically is the same** Vaginismus is, at heart, a psychological issue. Something - of which you may or may not be conscious – is telling your body that whatever is going on down there is very wrong and needs to be blocked, so your body reacts as above to prevent it. This could be due to an experienced trauma such as sexual violence, or there could be absolutely no obvious reason for it at all, as in my case. Sometimes shit just happens.

Through therapy and the use of vaginal dilators, you can train your body to stop reacting in this way. It is a totally treatable condition, and not one to be ashamed of or to be blamed for. If Mr up-cycle is worth his salt, and realises how flipping well amazing you are he will be there on the journey with you, but if not then obviously he is a massive dick and can cram his pretentious art house films right up his a-hole. And who does their weekly shop at a farmers market it anyway?!

*Please see my disclaimer page - I am not a medical doctor, my understanding of vaginismus is personal and not something I have been medically trained in. Also, I am straight, so I’m going to be talking about this from a straight woman’s perspective, but v obviously affects lesbian as well as straight and naturally therefore can affect someone who enjoys penetrative sex, whether that be with a man or with "sex aids".

** There may of course be other conditions which accompany vaginismus, and also of course there is the possibility that the vagina may in some way be slightly different. I'm literally at this point just describing vaginismus