Tag sex

2 posts

What is Sex When You Have Vaginismus?

It’s not something I talk about much, it’s not something anyone talks about much because there’s so much weight to it. I’ve spent the last 5, almost 6 years that I’ve been sexually active trying to deal with the shame and confusion that comes from having a condition that makes penis-in-vagina sex painful, if not impossible. That hasn’t really left a lot of room for talking about it because I’m still dealing with a lot of stigma.
There’s this thing that happens when you teach people that sex is only sex if it involves penis penetration, and when you can’t do that, for any number of reasons, when you’re in a relationship with someone who has a penis, it does kinda wear on you. And when you’re the first of your group to get married (or have sex) and everyone is asking you questions about this mythical magical sex that you can’t have….it’s hard. You get good at deflecting, sending links to resources, and never, under any circumstances, telling them about your actual (lack of) experience.
Add on to that, a lot of people just don’t comprehend how having intense pain equals stopping – we’re often told that pain is just a part of sex, not that pain means something is wrong. Most people are expected to just push through it, but that’s not fun and doesn’t really foster anything good – at least my case. A lot of “comfort” or solutions to me feel tone deaf: oh just keep sticking things in it until your body figures it out. I realize this is also the only advice that exists, but to me it’s like saying, no keep inflicting intense amounts of pain until I can take it, and sorry but that just doesn’t…make me less tense.
So when everything you know and have been told and promised about sex is something you can’t physically have – or don’t have the emotional stamina to physically force yourself to have because pain…..where does that leave you?
It didn’t take us long to figure out that trying to do The Sex wasn’t working and was more upsetting than anything else. Which made it not a thing we wanted to do much…until we realized that sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for everyone. That the focus on sex only being insert-dick-here was wrong and damaging and narrow. That there were so many other ways to have fun sexytimes that would actually work for us, be fun, and give us the warm fuzzies.
Buying a butterfly vibrator was the first baby step and introduced us to a world of possibilities in which the way to have sex doesn’t even have to be or involve penetration.
This has turned into something I emphasize to everyone now: sex is what you make of it, sex is exactly what you and your partner decide it is. If you’re both happy with it, it counts. It is not limited to inserting one kind of genitals into or around a different kind of genitals and when you finally realize that, the range of expression you have is so much greater.
And as hard as it is for me, and as much shame and confusion I still have sometimes – especially when I’m bleeding and remember, oh yeah, not only do I have a uterus, my vagina is a problem too – redefining sex to be “what makes us happy as a couple of consensual adults” instead of “put penis here” has made us so much happier.
To other people who have this problem, it’s okay, it’s not the end of the world, and most importantly, as much as you feel broken and wrong, you are not. Just do what makes you happy, and fuck everyone who scoffs and doesn’t understand. You are valid, and what you do for sex is valid too.
If you want to learn more about vaginismus, wikipedia and vaginismus.com were useful to me in naming what was happening.
Also I want to be absolutely clear that the pain being bad thing I’m talking about specifically only relates to vaginismus, because it isn’t consensual, it’s a physical reflex of not awesome-sauce. Pain in other ways can be great for people who are into BDSM, and as long as it’s (obviously) consensual it is a beautiful and wonderful thing. There will be no BDSM shaming here. You do you.

Sex™ (and the lies I was told about it)

*”Sex™” for this post refers to traditional (procreative/penetrative) intercourse*
Sex™ is hard – and I don’t mean it in the cute double-entandra way. I mean it’s difficult.
It’s hard being newly married with an unhealthy body image, unhealthy (and untrue) understanding of what Sex™ is and means. Becoming quickly disillusioned by false promises perpetuated by parents and theologians and feeling horribly ashamed – and mostly? mostly angry. Because the lies of my childhood permeated every fiber of my being and made intimacy scary.
Imagine being told that you’re damaged goods and no one in their right mind would love you if you had sex before you were married. Imagine being compared to murky water in a glass, a scratch on a sports car, a chip on fine china if you were to be impure (which is so loaded that it could even mean something as simple as having a crush on someone. I know I felt guilty and apologized for having a crush once – thinking that made me undesirable). Imagine being scrutinized for kissing, or so much as holding hands while dating. Because that leads to Sex™ you know? And there’s no such thing as self control.
But then also being told, as a young girl, that when you’re married – you have to have A LOT of Sex™. Whenever your husband wants it, and you have to have unprotected, unsafe Sex™, too, because otherwise you’re ruining god’s design. Being told that essentially your job, once married is to be a baby and sex machine – because otherwise your husband would probably leave you (don’t get me started).
To make this worth it? To make not having sex before you’re married worth it, they tell you that you will have The Best Sex Ever™ just because you’re the purest of them all.
The Best Sex Ever™ is supposed to happen with absolutely no knowledge of your body, learning only abstinence, and being told your entire life that Sex™ is evil, bad, and ungodly outside marriage, but that as soon as the pastor announces you, it’s the most best thing ever and you suddenly know all about your anatomy and how your bodies work together?
It’s about time someone called bullshit.
Purity teachings, abstinence only education, and guilt/fear/shame tactics about my sexuality have been hard to get rid of. They permeate, they collect, they stay, they tell me I can’t talk about the fact that I did not, indeed, have The Best Sex Ever™ because I waited and proceeded to be ignorant about my body. My ignorance has cost me much, personally. Largely in embarrassment, but also in identifying physical problems, and forming a healthy relationship with myself and my own sexuality.
Those feelings of failure persisted for a while, failure because purity teachings required us to be ignorant. Our parents subscribed to “if you tell them nothing, they won’t do it or know how”. The ignorance that was required, the lies I was told – the fact that value as humans were dependent on first: whether or not sex was had before marriage, and second: on how many kids you’ll have after – anger me to no end.
The philosophy of, women must be 1) horribly self-conscious and paranoid about other women their husband see and 2) must be gods in bed because that’s what’s keeping their husband there strikes me as demented and generally makes me want to strangle whoever is spreading that lie around.
I often feel strange when I’m around people who live this way. Because I don’t feel self conscious or paranoid, I don’t care, and I trust my partner. Our relationship is based on so much more than that.
“Purity” teaches you that appearances and sex are everything, but also that you should in no way think about or know about your body, sex, or have any healthy relationship regarding your sexuality or your future partner’s.
“Purity” taught me that ignorance is safe, wanted, necessary and it lead to me feeling like a failure, guilty, ashamed, confused, and disillusioned.
I was homeschooled,  I bought the lie, I believed ignorance was best, and I was told I’d be rewarded. I know countless others have suffered at the hands of purity teachings, and abstinence only education, of not being allowed to know about our own anatomy. I was ashamed because I didn’t know basic things (like, about my hymen).
I wish that I had been taught a healthy outlook of my body, of my sexuality, of my existence; instead of one that degraded not just women, but all of humanity into raging sex beasts.  Even so, if there is one thing I learned the hard way (ha), the one thing that I learned that made dealing with the shame and guilt easier (if not almost completely go away)? Is that sex is what you and your partner make of it. Sex is about enjoyment, it’s about each other, it’s about what makes both people involved feel good and is not about procreation.