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?