vaginismus to do list

The First 5 Things You Must Do if you Have Vaginismus

Maybe you’ve recently received a formal diagnosis from your gynecologist, maybe you just got married and discovered sex wasn’t possible, or maybe you’ve been battling painful sex for years and just recently realized after years of pain that there’s a name for this – vaginismus. Whatever your situation, take a moment to breathe. You’re not alone in this, and understanding there’s an explanation for what’s happening is a powerful first step.

As someone who spent four years grappling with painful and impossible intimacy before hearing the word “vaginismus,” I remember the overwhelming relief of knowing it wasn’t just in my head – it is a medical condition and there is an answer for this. And if you haven’t formally been diagnosed with vaginismus, that’s okay. You don’t necessarily need to go seek out a formal diagnosis to get started on your recovery.

1. Take a Deep Breath and Acknowledge Your Vaginismus Diagnosis:

Sit in the fact that you now have clarity. Understanding the reason behind your struggles is the first step toward healing. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but don’t let the diagnosis consume you. Instead, let the the “label” provide hope and structure. Knowing that others have overcome vaginismus can be a source of inspiration and provide some direction.

Sitting in this moment can be a big part of allowing your mind and body to process your recovery. So often we jump into “fix it” mode and start working towards healing before we’ve even had the chance to accept and process this new shift.

2. Get to Know Your Body:

One of the challenges with vaginismus is a lack of awareness about one’s own anatomy, we don’t quite have a grasp of what’s happening down there. Take the time to explore and understand your body. Grab a mirror and familiarize yourself with the different parts of your vulva and locate your vaginal opening. Learning, exploring, and accepting what you see can really contribute to a healthy foundation as you heal and process. It’s an essential step that should not be skipped. I’ve developed a unique and specific protocol to help guide my clients through this process, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness.

If you need, use this diagram to help label the different anatomical parts you see and notice and feelings of shame, disgust, or fear that you may encounter as you do this. And an important note- everyone’s vulva looks different. Some are asymmetrical, some have larger inner labia than outer labia, and most vaginal openings are not perfect circles.

3. Write Yourself a Letter:

Before you jump into the practical side of recovery, start with writing a letter to yourself. No, seriously! This can be really helpful! There’s a decent chance that future you is going to get discouraged and side-tracked in this journey, having something to come back to can be super motivating and helpful! Here are some things to include in your letter:

  • How you’re feeling about your diagnosis or decision to start battling vaginismus. Why are you feeling this way right now?
  • Your desired end goal! What is it you really want? It’s possibly even something bigger than just pain-free penetrative sex
  • Why is this your goal? Establishing your big “why” is going to be crucial for helping you remain focused and goal-oriented during your recovery. Make this “why” super personal and vulnerable, the more it speaks to your heart, the deeper you’ll connect with it and stay focused.
  • Write a few sentences on encouragement. Offer future you self-compassion if you get “off-track” or discouraged. Provide your future self with a framework that offers grace and compassion and space to rest and reset if needed.

Put this letter somewhere where you can easily find it and reflect back on it when needed! You’ll thank yourself later!

4. Explore Dilators:

There’s not much of a way around it, dilators are apart of the vaginismus journey. But the most important thing to learn and recognize about dilators is that there not used to “stretch your vagina out”. If you have vaginismus, you don’t need vaginal stretching, you need vaginal control. Your muscles are freaking out and they need help learning that penetration and insertion are not to be feared.

For specifics on dilator recommendations (brands, how-tos, tips, and strategies), I recommend downloading my free Dilator 101 Guide. This guide gives a pretty general overview on how to start and progress with dilators. But I’ll be honest, the in-depth overview I offer my clients ensures that not only will you be able to work through the dilators, but you’ll be able to transition from dilator to penis- a struggle that many women with vaginismus don’t anticipate.

5. Seek Professional Guidance:

While it’s possible to navigate the recovery journey alone, having a skilled professional by your side can significantly enhance your success and speed up the healing process. Whether it’s a counselor, pelvic floor therapist, or gynecologist, ensure they have expertise in vaginismus. These professionals offer guidance, skills, and crucial support, keeping you accountable in your recovery. It’s easy to get stuck and discouraged, and having someone who truly understands the nuances of vaginismus can make a significant difference.

If you’re looking for support, consider my Mind-Body-Sex Reset Vaginismus Program. As someone who endured eight years of vaginismus and is now a pelvic floor therapist, I have helped dozens of women from around the world transition from dilator to pain-free penetrative sex and I have the experience to guide you through this journey. Remember, you’re not alone, healing is possible, and you are worthy of pain-free and enjoyable intimacy.

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