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Help. Scared of sex

(48 Posts)
sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 10:58:09

I have name changed for this because I am so humilated by my problem, it is a great cause of shame for me.

I suffer from a condition called vaginismus, which basically means the walls of my vagina go into spasm during penetration making it very painful and, at times, impossible. It's a purely psychological condition which I think arose from an unfortunate situation on a train when I was 16 with a guy who assaulted me in the toilet.

I have had therapy for this and using dilators was finally able to tolerate and even enjoy penetration. But in order for me to enjoy sex I need to be very relaxed and be with someone very patient. My previous partner was, and we managed to have an OK sex life.

However, we broke up last year and I now find myself single again after nearly 10 years with him. I would love to meet someone but I am so scared of getting intimate that I think any bloke would run a mile. I'm terrified of this ruining my life.

Blokes are interested in me, I've had several "expressions of interest" but knock them back because I know I'd just be a big disappointment in the sack. At univeristy (prior to being with my previous partner ) I used to get drunk and go to bed with strangers to try and get over this problem. Without exception it would not go well and I had to laugh about it in the morning or I would cry.

I am such a huge let down. I am attractive and funny and confident when I meet people, I am perfectly happy with how I look naked and have no hang ups about that. It is purely penetration, even with a finger, that I hate.

I just don't know where to turn. I guess I have to take the plunge with someone sometime but I am not 19 any more, I'm 31 and I guess expectations are higher. Surely I'm meant to know what I'm doing by now? In reality I have slept with one person in my whole life and even then only in one position and very gently.

thanks for reading

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jul-11 11:28:01

Speaking as a man, if I was really interested in you I would be happy to take it one step at a time, especially if you explained your problem at an appropriate time. I certainly wouldn't run a mile. Any man who does is not worthy of you. It may eventually become an issue if there was no intimacy and no signs of getting there but I certainly wouldn't be expecting you to jump into bed on the first date.

I don't know if further therapy would help you but putting pressure on yourself by assuming men will expect sex quickly certainly isn't helping you. You have no idea what any particular man expects until you start dating him. And you can always say no.

There are some good men out there. Find one!

^ What he said. Don't put yourself under such pressure.

AKissIsNotAContract Wed 13-Jul-11 11:34:54

I'm not sure from your post whether you want a sexual relationship. There are people who identify as asexual who would prefer to be with a partner who was not interested in sex. Perhaps you would be happy with a man like that?

Sorry, that seemed abrupt. I didn't mean it to. It sounds like you went through something quite traumatic, and I think any decent man would understand that things would have to go at your pace. The are decent men out there, contrary to popular opinion wink Don't be afraid of dating men and saying no if they try to take things further than you're comfortable with.

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 11:43:06

Thanks for your replies. I am certainly not asexual, I have "urges" and enjoy everything except actual penetration. I would not want a sexless relationship, it's just it takes me so blumming long to work up to it. It took me 8 months with my previous partner to manage sex, although admittedly I was a virgin (assault aside) so perhaps it wouldn't take as long.

I also don't really know how one is expected to behave on a date as I feel I've been out of the game for so long. If he tries it on am I meant to reciprocate? Is it OK to say no to certain things and yes to others? At some point I guess I'll find myself in bed with a guy "doing stuff". Am I then allowed to say I don't want sex or is that not the done thing?


It is always ok to say no, at any point. In your situation, I think I'd make my position and reasoning very clear before things became sexual, but you wanted them to go that way. Don't ever just go along with things if you're not comfortable, because that's likely to make you more anxious and ruin any potential for enjoyable sex. Just be very sure of your boundaries, and make sure any potential partner is also sure of them. I think that if you stay in control, you'll find things easier and more enjoyable than you think you will, iyswim.

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 11:55:20

thanks. I guess I have to just bite the bullet. You're right that any man worth being with will be patient and wait. I just feel so frustrated at not being normal and such an embarrassment to myself.

Stop giving yourself such a hard time <hard stare> You went through something traumatic. You know that you can enjoy sex, it just takes time. You are neither silly nor frigid. You met one man who was patient and caring. There are others. If it's getting you down, do you think that maybe having some more counselling would help your confidence?

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 12:03:10

I have thought about having more counselling but to be honest I hated it (although recognised that I needed it and would never have got as far as I did without it). It was in the psychosexual clinic of the hospital and it smelled of tcp and there were lots of rubber willies and phalluses (phalli?) being banded about. It wasn't very pleasant!

I know most women want things to shrink down there after children. I haven't had children yet but wish it would expand a little. Sigh.

thanks for all your help, it's nice to know there are people listening. No one knows about this in real life.

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jul-11 12:17:34

From a male point of view again, yes it is ok to say no to some things and yes to others. If he tries it on it is entirely up to you whether you reciprocate, ignore or say no. You can say no when you are in bed but, speaking personally, I would prefer it if you told me the limits and reasons before that. On the other hand it is certainly not something you should say up front before there is any hint of the relationship becoming sexual!

This problem doesn't define who you are. You've told us you are attractive, funny and confident. That defines who you are.

ameliagrey Wed 13-Jul-11 12:26:51

I think you need to focus on establishing a good relationship with any man before going into the sex side!

Don't forget that you are in control- and even without any former abuse issues, it's perfectly acceptable to pace any new relationship as you want to.

There are no rules saying you need to have sex on date 1, 2, or 10!

When you feel comfortable with a man then is the time to explain- if you need to- your worries.

Any decent man who cares will take it slowly.

Have you considered that the problem may have actually gone away? You are basing your worries on previous experiences. Maybe now you have moved on, even if it doesn't feel like that .

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 13-Jul-11 12:53:21

Aww S&F the first thing to say is that none of this is your fault. You're not silly, you're not frigid, you essentially suffered an injury because someone committed a crime against you. You don't need to feel guilty because some utter bastard assaulted you - it was his fault. And you don't need to feel guilty towards previous or potential partners, because you are not just something to have sex, you are a person and sound like a lovely one. Someone who truly likes you will be unable to believe their luck that they are able to see you and spend time with you, they're not going to be complaining to you because you are in some way "faulty".

Decent men (i.e. the vast majority) are extremely solicitous of the feelings of their partner, including in terms of sexual behaviour. If you meet someone you like, don't ruin things by thinking that you're a let down (sad) - just see how things go. If you get to the point where sexual beahviour is starting to take place (sorry sound clinical but YKWIM) then explain calmly to him that you've had problems with penetration in the past so you'll want to take things extremely slowly and what you are and are not interested in doing.

And please please always remember that agreeing to one type of sexual activity is not agreeing to another. You might partly be feeling like this because of the bastard who decided that he had a right to your body when you were so young. No-one has a right to your body or to sex with you, it is yours to bestow (or not) as you wish.

Gay40 Wed 13-Jul-11 13:31:27

What everyone else says. Any decent person will aboslutely take things at your pace, and anyone who insists on pushing it should be binned.

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 13:55:24

Thanks all. onwards and upwards!!

UnhappyLizzie Wed 13-Jul-11 14:01:08

Hi this might seem a really crass thing to say, I don't know what it's like to have your problem and really feel for you, but does masturbation help you at all? Are you able to have an orgasm by stimulating yourself or using a vibrator, without putting it inside?

Obviously the assault has caused this, I can't imagine the trauma you must have gone through. I am so sorry. I can't help wondering that if you can learn to relax and enjoy your body on your own it might help?

Forgive me if this is something you have done already and it hasn't helped.


sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:08:54

UnhappyLizzie - that was part of the therapy, to masturbate using these dilators which I dutifully did but it felt like an awful chore, every fecking night in front of Hollyoaks! I do masturbate without penetration, just for fun, but that;s about it.

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:15:24

Not that I'm saying I masturbated to Hollyoaks, just that it was my designated time slot - in case anyone thinks I'm weird.

But I guess having a designated time slot for masturbation is weird too. Oh well....

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:23:48

Oh dear. Killed me own thread now.

UnhappyLizzie Wed 13-Jul-11 14:29:35

Sorry, what I said didn't help. sad Only other observation I'll make is that masturbation as part of therapy sounds like a duty rather than a pleasure. This kind of puts more pressure on you, to make it 'work'. Other people have said that you need to take the pressure off yourself, maybe if you try to be more spontaneous in enjoying your body, not using the dilators in a stressed goal-oriented way, it might help.

Sorry if this more crap advice, really feel for you.

hightrees Wed 13-Jul-11 14:32:23

Oh gosh. Poor you. You sound lovely. Echo all the posts above. Question: how does the phobia (since maybe that's what it is) serve you? This sounds like a crazy question, but sometimes we bow to horrible phobias/addictions in order not to have to 'deal', or to 'punish' ourselves, or to 'test' others. does that ring any bells? Seems that bloke scared the living daylights out of you. Maybe made you feel dirty? Like you don't deserve sex? Or who knows what else. Sorry, should stop with the half baked pop psych. Just see whether you're hanging onto it for a reason (even if that reason is negative). Then maybe you might be some way to freeing yourself from it. IT IS POSSIBLE to free yourself from this. xxx

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:33:05

It's not crap advice at all. You're right, I put dreadful pressure on myself to perform and if it doesn't work I mope around in oversized tracksuit bottoms feeling pissed off.

I know even in "normal" people's relationships that sex isn't always swinging off the chandeliers, but with my former partner if it ever wouldn't go in properly or was painful, I found it really difficult to handle.

Sitting in front of shitty teenage soaps with a dilator up my fanjo wasn't very erotic to say the least. It's hard to "get in the mood" when you know the thing you've got to do isn't going to be pleasant but perhaps it's something I need to take up again now I'm single to practice, as it were, before I meet Mr Cool and Attractive (and Patient), just so I'm not a totally risible shag.

OohThatsMyTractor Wed 13-Jul-11 14:34:16

I would imagine that have a designated slot would definately make it feel strange and not overly enjoyable. This may not be a relevant suggestion, but have you tried reading erotic literature, so that you are 'in the right frame of mind' and trying things with your vibrator etc. There's a website that DP and I really enjoy blush called Lit Erotica (can't search to give you the link as I am at work! but a search would bring it up) that has all sorts of erotic stories, ranging from the mild to the saucy! Maybe worth a peek one evening, and definately more female orientated than porn.

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:35:51

hightrees - I'm not sure exactly what it is. The closest I can come is comparing it to something coming close to your eye; you instinctively blink - and that's what happens down there. As soon as there's a willy waving at it, it shuts down, my legs tense up and my body does absolutely everything it can to stop it getting in, whether I want to or not.

In order for sex to work I need to breathe, concentrate on relaxing (very raunchy!) and just go slowly. Not quite how they do it on TV

sillyandfrigid Wed 13-Jul-11 14:37:17

Tractor - yes, I have come across that site already blush

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