Avoiding vaginismus diagnosis and treatment keeps many women suffering needlessly. Taking positive corrective action is key to breaking the cycle of avoidance and defeat.
It is common for people to avoid issues that are difficult, painful, or have uncertain and potentially disheartening outcomes. This is especially true with vaginismus. The pervasive hopelessness that couples feel with this sex problem is defeating and paralyzing. One of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting through vaginismus is simply dealing with avoidance. Encouragement, love, patience, and communication can go a long way in helping to sustain relationships during trials, but there is no simply no substitute for taking positive corrective action. Facing the problem directly, educating oneself and taking the positive necessary steps to overcome vaginismus are key to breaking the cycle of avoidance and defeat.
The sudden presence of vaginismus sexual problems in relationships puts heavy pressures on women. When every sexual attempt brings pain or failure, and no simple explanations can be found, women may begin to withdraw emotionally due to feelings of hopelessness. Their whole world may seem wrapped in the despair of the condition, and avoidance may become a part of survival or an ongoing coping mechanism. The emotions may seem overwhelming. Feelings of failure, worthlessness, guilt, frustration, loneliness or shame often surround or paralyze women with vaginismus. Some women begin to define themselves by these negative characteristics and find it hard to even consider treatment solutions.
If the initial attempts to diagnose or prescribe appropriate treatment for vaginismus fail (which they often do), many women react to the emotional pain by withdrawing or avoiding even discussing the problem. Complacency begins to develop and sometimes months or years slip by with no resolution or effort to find solutions. Relationships are frequently overtaxed from emotional strains, grief related to family planning disappointments, or the obvious sexual problems and conflicts, and often begin to flounder and fail. Complacency about unresolved sexual issues typically erodes spousal trust and slowly builds resentment. Couples attempting to just 'get by' without a sexual component usually find themselves drifting apart and losing feelings for each other. In some cases, women with vaginismus experience husbands with increasingly passive character traits, trying to adapt to the sexless relationship while fighting back feelings of continual rejection or frustration. Going through the trials of vaginismus can definitely test a relationship to the limit.
The famous quote "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (Franklin D. Roosevelt) in many ways can also be appropriate for dealing with vaginismus. Vaginismus can be overcome. Fear and avoidance are often the biggest obstacles in overcoming the condition (beyond getting proper diagnosis and treatment information). A woman needs to make a decision to not allow her future to be defined by the frustrations, failures, or hurts of the past. Facing a difficult problem is never easy. It is normal to experience discouragement with challenging steps in the treatment process and avoidance tends to beckon. Nearly every woman who has faced vaginismus has battled with avoidance. Those who have overcome have not allowed it to imprison them.
To stay motivated and positive, the following additional suggestions may help women to combat avoidance and complacency:
"I can recommend use of this resource by all patients with vaginismus" - APTA Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy
- Beth Shelly, PT, BCIA-PMDB