Things I wish I'd known.....

I wish I'd known so much when I was younger. I wish I'd known that I wouldn't ever, ever turn out to be a magical princess from a faraway land with magical powers. I wish I'd known that my intolerance of alcohol would make me act, on many occasions, like a total dick. I wish I'd known that semi-permanent red hair dye takes more than 8-12 washes to remove. But specifically, regarding vaginismus, here are a few things I wish I'd known:

1. Not all Doctors seem to know about it. - Crazy, no? I mean, presumably they all DO know about it, but it took me 3 to find one who actually did (you can read the full story here). This means that when you go and see the doctor, it might be you who has to tell them to take the condition seriously. Harsh, but true. Ladies, you may need to stick to your guns. Here is what I would recommend when visiting a doctor (sorry if this all seems completely obvious, it really wasn't to me)

 - First, explain exactly and precisely what happens to you during sex. Then, see what they say. They may send you straight to a gynecologist (which is excellent) or they may offer you an internal examination (also excellent). If they don't offer either, request it. If it hurts, TELL THEM.  Don't be all stoic and "lie-back-and-think-of-england" about it. If you feel all flustery and panicked, TELL THEM. That's what they're trying to find out, after all.

2. Vaginimus can be cured, but there is no one cure - A good friend of mine had been sexually active for years, but one day her and her boyfriend just couldn't have sex. Every time they attempted anything, it felt like she was being torn in half. They got around the issue by cheerfully going in the back entrance instead (which a comedian once, brilliantly, described as "an unexpected item in the bagging area), but every time they tried to have sex it kept happening, and in the end they went to a doctor together. The Doctor told her that she had had a minor infection, resulting in this case of vaginismus. He prescribed her antibiotics and a fortnight without sex. After following the advice and taking the pills, the next time they tried it her vagina was happy and willing again. My story, which you can read on the main blog page, is much longer and more convoluted than that. So you see, there's no one-size-fits-all solution or cause

3. Vaginismus doesn't make you "frigid" - Such a lovely word and concept. Put about mainly by the sort of men who don't take rejection very well and feel better about themselves if they can tell their mates that, simply, the woman is some sort of asexual beast-hog. People with vaginismus can get turned on, they can have orgasms (there is another condition which my therapist has mentioned whereby the patient can't have orgasms, which I believe can sometimes be related, but not necessarily) they can watch an episode of True Blood and wish, just a little bit, that Eric would rip their shirt open and bite them in a fit of passion (not too hard, obviously), and they can very much fancy their partner and want to jump their bones. Vaginismus is involuntary.

4. You might need to be a fighter to beat the bitch - But we're all fighters, and there's no way in hell it's going to beat us.

5. Vaginimus is not your fault - It is just one of those things. That being the case, you should never, ever blame yourself for it. It is a condition, not a fault with you. You are LOVELY. It is sometimes hard to accept, and sometimes you just feel like a massive mess of a failure, and the only way to feel better is to climb under your duvet and eat your way through a whole tub of phish food singing along to an old Natasha Beddingfield album and meaning EVERY WORD. But you are not a failure. Not even slightly. Not even a tiny, little bit. You are not a failure, and neither is your body. And never, ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.