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Friend has vaginismus

My best friend of over 10 years recently told me she was diagnosed with this, which has prevented her and her husband of about 14 mo. from consummating the marriage or ever being intimate at all before. She is a virgin and terrified of the consequences of sex - the initial pain, what if she hates it, the fear of becoming pregnant right away. We're both nearly 30, and her hubby just had his 30th.

Complicating things, I am concerned for her because she also revealed she is not sexually attracted to her husband. She does love him, but doesn't seem interested in sex with him at all; they definitely don't see eye to eye on what they like to do to get in the mood together - example, he likes S &M and toys, she hates all of that. She is talking annulment if they cannot come to terms soon. I think that is jumping the gun... counseling seems like a critical need for them both if this is going to work, though.

I have tried to reassure her and suggested things that might help ease the fears and tensions, but it is difficult for me to relate to something I have never experienced personally, especially because my fiance and I are in such a different place in our lives - we love each other without question, are very attracted to one another in every possible way, and look forward to starting a family shortly after we are married. How can I help her even when I have not been there myself? 

Re: Friend has vaginismus

  • I suggest a sex therapist and a psychologist who is passionate and empathetic towards any type of sexually dysfunctionate issue. That is half the battle won.

    Is she from a background where there is extreme religiosity? is it possible that she was sexually assaulted in the past or molested? Both can play a role, I believe.

    And the pregnancy issue is cut and dried: I am sure she knows that there is the pill, IUDs, diaphragms and other birth control -- I am sure also that she knows that no birth control method is foolproof and 100% effective all the time: condoms break, IUDs get dislodged, certain meds can inactivate the pill and other oral BCPs temporarily.  And there are people who misuse and incorrectly insert diaphragms and vaginal film nd yep, it's possible to wear a condom the wrong way. (if you don't squeeze out the air at the top right after you apply the condom, the condom can burst)

    Does she know the basics of male and female anatomy and physiology of both reproductive systems, what happens during female arousal, what happens during male arousal, etc?

    Her other issue:

    She isn't physically attracted to him
    They have different sexual likes.

    S&M isn't for everyone, same as certain fetishes are not. Lots of women don't like toys, the same as there are men that do not like them.

    The horse is out of the barn here. This is a shame for her and her H --- did she know she had a very big issue with consummation before she got married? I am sure she did -- she should have sought counseling then and addressed the issue.

    The both of them need sexual counseling, along with honest open dialog and working on the problem together as a team. Communication is key.

    ANd if this issue reared its head after they got married, all the sadder.

    You can suggest that she see a psychologist and sex therapist -- has she had sex education at all? Does she know what birth control methods are available and what success/failure rates they have, how they are used, etc? Maybe her fear of pregnancy is tied to more or less ignorance of birth control methods.

    I don't know how she was brought up, if her schools had sex ed, etc. Maybe her mother and/or her schools taught absolutely nothing about sex ed/birth control or the education the schools had was minimal and she had a mother who refused to talk about anything sex related with her daughter.

    Does she feel comfortable with him? Is it possible that this marriage is an arranged one and she does not like her arranged partner at all -- again, anything can be afoot here --- I'm coming up with possible scenarios that your friend might be in.

    Have they kissed? Necked? Petted? How far did she go with him before and after they were married? does she at least like the guy?

    The thing is this:

    The sexual differences between she and her H have to be resolved and she's got to find a doc/therapist who will help her with her vaginisimus.

    And I don't know if she masturbates --- I don't know if you want to ask her -- maybe she's also completely ignorant of her body, what turns her on, what makes her orgasm --- I don't know. She would know.

    And if it turns out that these issues can't be resolved, it would be very sad for them to break up. She can, of course, offer him the option of an open relationship: he gets to seek sexual activity/partners outside their marriage but he remains married to his wife.

    And even if this marriage winds up annulled, she still needs to seek help for herself. She's missing out on a whole world of intimacy and togetherness.

  • Encourage her to get into therapy. I have to admit, though, I'm kind of with her on ending the marriage. Sexual compatibility, at least a decent amount of it, is IMO absolutely vital in a marriage. And it really doesn't sound like they're ever going to have any.
  • There are also books you can refer her to:

    Our Bodies Ourselves
    Woman's Body: Owner's Manual
    Sex for One (by Betty Dobson -- they call her the Mother of Masturbation)
    The Joy of Sex

    And here are many mainstream sex manuals for couples -- Amazon, B&N and many bookstores sell them.

    If he wants a family and she will not consummate (or adopt) for that reason alone he can pursue an annullment. Something like this would also be cause for a canon annulment or some other religious dissolution of marriage, depending upon what faith he is.

    The main thing is this: they need to get these issues resolved or this would be a sad end for the both of them. this is tough for all involved.
  • I am confused as to why you would get married if you have no intentions on ever having sex with your husband....and why would he marry her if hes in to S&M and she doesn't put all? I think it should be annulled but not because she "isn't attracted to him sexually", but because she married him on false pretense...I don't know one guy who gets married to become celebate..the guys who do that become monks...not marry girls. If there is no sex in a marraige there is no marraige..even in arranged marraiges sex is part of the deal. She needs to stop leading guys on if shes not willing to have sex even after shes married. I see this a completely her issue because he might be interested in other things sexually then her, but at the end of the day I'm willing to bet he would be interested in any sex from her but she wont budge one inch.

    As pp mentioned it sounds like there might be abuse issues from her past that shes not willing to admit/deal with...she needs to free this man to move on and find someone who can love him completely and to start to work on her own issues by herself until she can figure out what the problem is..and she needs to not get married if she doesnt want sex, period.

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