It Happened to Me: My Vagina Said No To Sex

Vaginismus -- or, as I like to call it, “lady zip” -- is no joke, but you know what it IS? Really bloody common and really bloody treatable.

Aug 17, 2012 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

Being young for my age really set the standard for my adolescence. On my first day of secondary school, I thought my brand new peach Forever Friends lunchbox was the height of cool, right up until some fifth years shot me down with killer 90s cusses (“Cool lunchbox – NOT!”, and "What is she, FIVE?!").

At 14 I went to a church-run school disco (the highlight of our social calendar) and felt gawky and immature. I had no visible tits and was short and skinny with bushy hair -- like Hermione Granger but, you know, not magic -- and with absolutely enormous purple corduroy flares. My more developed friends started to pull the Lynx-infested, hair-gelled sixth formers from the local boys' school, but I could only daydream of being so sophisticated that I got touched up to Boyzone ballads on the dance floor.

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A super cool Forever Friends lunchbox.

I finally got my first boyfriend at 16. He was from my church, waaaay older than me (2 years) and had added rock star status -- he was the church band leader. We were both committed Christians, so sex was always off the cards, but we spent a long time engaging in sloppy, ineffectual teenage snogging.

It's not really surprising that I didn't find out I had a "problem" until I left my god squad days behind me and entered the world of mainstream dating.

I was about 23, and had started going out with someone from my office. He was incredibly pretty, with long dark eyelashes and beautiful green eyes. His personality I quite wilfully ignored.

The first time we tried to have sex, everything was all nice and fun and sexy and shit, until we tried the actual penetration part. This was the bit the Christian me had been most aware of as a SIN (you know, until you're married, then you can do it until you shrivel into a dried-out husk if you like) and so the part I was therefore most nervous of. It just wasn't happening.

Without hyperbole, as soon as he started pushing, it felt like my whole body was being ripped in half, right through my vagina. I shoved Pretty Boy away and collapsed in tears and panic, feeling scared and humiliated and with no idea of what the fuck had just happened.

Confused, PB tried his best to comfort me, and explained that as far as he was aware, sex for women was always a little bit painful the first time. I couldn't believe that ANYONE in the history of everything had ever got past that first hurdle if THAT was how it felt.

A few days later, when we tried again, the same thing happened. The pattern was set: pain -- tears -- humiliation. Neither of us could understand it. Things continued in this messy and frustrating vein until eventually I gave in and went to a doctor, and after a series of farcical miscommunications, was diagnosed with vaginismus.

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ONE of these is a vaginal trainer, but both of them are FAB. Okay, not FAB-fab. 

I found out that physically, vaginismus is the spasming of the vaginal muscles when penetration is attempted, which prevents coitus and is really fucking painful, and has a psychological root. It's a condition which (as far as I understand) can affect any woman at any time in their lives.

You might have been a total VIRGIN like me (HEY! CHECK OUT MY FOREVER FRIENDS LUNCHBOX!), or you might have been having lots of bouncy rampant sex for years when vaginismus decided to pay a visit.

I have a friend who developed vaginismus -- or, as I like to call it, “lady zip” -- who had been in a long-term relationship for several years, and only had anal sex with her boyfriend for months because vaginal sex had become way too painful, and neither of them had any idea why.

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It's a party in my vagina and all the vaginal trainers are invited! 

Vaginismus is no joke, but you know what it IS? Really fucking common and really fucking treatable. Since I've started talking about this on my blog it seems that SO MANY WOMEN I know have had it at some point too.

So what now for me? Well, after a couple of years of treatment, my vagina and I get on so much better these days. Using vaginal trainers (or “dick on a stick”) I've coaxed the muscles slowly but surely into believing that penetration isn't necessarily as scary as they thought.

My vagina even lets me use tampons now, which is a revelation (I can go swimming! When I've got my period! AMAZING!) and, though I'm single at the moment, who knows? If I meet someone nice enough she might even decide to be accommodating, when the time comes.

You can follow Keeks’ anonymous adventures in vaginismus on her blog, La Matadora