To find out that you have vaginismus is already daunting, but shouldering the burden all on your own is arduous.
When I first found out that I had vaginismus at 18, I kept the condition a secret from my family and friends. I knew my parents would be disappointed in me for having sex before marriage, but I was too embarrassed to tell my friends.
I tried to tell my mom, but she said she had laundry to do. I tried to tell my sister, but her response consisted of learning to relax and recommending herbal medication. I had roommates walk in on me using the dilators and laugh. They thought I was using a dildo, so I frantically tried
to explain. One of them laughed beside her friends and said, “Well, that sucks.”
I felt self-conscious, confused and alone. I had no one to talk to that understood. It wasn’t until late in my college years that I had to tell someone, so I told one of my closest friends. Luckily, she was supportive
and said that she would scour the internet to find a cure. Her response made me smile.
After college, I found the courage to tell more friends, and eventually the world. It was nerve-wracking to say the least, but I did it. Afterwards, I felt that weight lift off my shoulders. I felt free, and less shackled by societies’ standards of proper etiquette. I wrote my first book before vaginismus reached the mainstream media. This was during a time when I tried to get stories from women about their condition, but very few wanted to come forward. However, I managed
to get a few women to share their narratives and I was so grateful.
My family never jumped on board with me discussing my condition publicly. I wrote a book, was
interviewed by The Sun, The Daily Mail and RTL Television flew camera men out to my apartment for a TV segment. However, my family kept silent. I even asked if they wanted to be a part of the TV segment and they refused saying that it was too public for them on such a personal topic.
I let it go and decided that, if my family wanted to join me during this part of my life, they would. My friends did congratulate me for some of my achievements; however, they sometimes forgot that I struggled with vaginismus and talked about sex like they would with any of their other
girlfriends. After a while, I stopped trying to change the subject.
My advice to those who haven’t told their friends or family yet is to read the room. Are your parents strict or open? Are your friends understanding?
Sometimes, their responses will positively surprise you, but other times they will disappoint. Instead of dwelling on their negativity, find a group of women who share your struggle and vent your frustrations to them. We have reached a pivotal moment during our lives where women’s health is gaining more recognition. Use this to your advantage. Find groups on social media (like my Facebook Group, Living with Vaginismus. Selfless plug there 😉) or in person to communicate with and ask questions. Sometimes, these women will become your substitute families during this challenging time in your life.
However, you should never be afraid to be you. Having gone through the heartbreak and rejection over the years, I reached a point where I didn’t care anymore. I realized that I had
nothing to be ashamed of. You shouldn’t hide because others feel uncomfortable. Remember that you are strong, and without these mountains to climb, you wouldn’t be the woman you are today.