Sorry, but we can't actually have penetrative sex...
August 29, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

How to handle dealing with vaginismus and dating?

I have vaginismus, but I'm also interested in dating. I've been going through the program from, have an upcoming appointment with an ob-gyn who specializes in sexual disorders, and will probably start therapy in a month when my insurance starts covering it. It's a process.

Oddly enough, I didn't have vaginismus with my ex-boyfriend when we were together. Sex was not necessarily comfortable, but PIV sex wasn't an issue. Vaginismus is definitely a psychological order for me, not a medical one.

How should I deal with this when I'm dating? My body definitely tends to close up when I attempt to have casual sex/one night stands, which is definitely frustrating for those times when I would just like sex. It's occurred to me that perhaps I would not have vaginismus if I was in a committed relationship, but I haven't been in a relationship in a few years now, and the added complication of vaginismus makes me nervous. I also feel as though I was wasting someone's time if we can't have sex, although the guys that I got naked with were pretty understanding about the whole thing and we still found other ways of having fun. But I don't know how someone would feel if we were in a relationship and he could not have sex with me for what will probably be quite some time. How should I bring this up with someone that I'm interested in having a relationship with?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Everybody has something, and as long as you're willing to have sex in other ways, a good guy, who values you, will be willing to work with you on this.

Date, have fun, and when it comes time to do the sex thing, have a conversation about it, you should anyway. Let your partner know what the deal is and what you're willing to do instead of vaginal sex. He may have issues too.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:31 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a very brief relationship with a girl who had similar issue. She told me very early on that she wasnt comfortable, had problems, had history and it really wasnt a problem. Once she was comfortable we had a great time.

IMHO it's OK to want to take time to have sex.
Or even to never have sex.
It's OK to want to be in control of when you have sex.
Anyone who tries to pressure you to have sex when you dont want to is a prick and someone who you probably dont want to be around.

Be honest and straight up with your date. You might be a bit uncomfortable about it, but after the meal, towards the end of the evening (whatever) just before he starts wondering about how to get you into bed, politely say you dont want to have sex. I can only speak for myself, but that seems perfectly reasonable to me and, although your date may be disappointed, I'd hope they are polite enough not to show, and I'd hope that the 'right' relationship will continue to develop.
posted by BadMiker at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

But I don't know how someone would feel if we were in a relationship and he could not have sex with me for what will probably be quite some time. How should I bring this up with someone that I'm interested in having a relationship with?

It will separate the wheat from the chaff; the guys who are in it because they like you will probably work with you, while the guys who are only in it to hit and run will run and you won't have slept with them.

If you get rejected, try to keep in mind that the short term lousy feeling of being rejected is better than investing long-term in a partner who isn't going to be there for you when you need it. I know it's hard to frame a medical condition as a positive, but think of it as a "nice guy detector."
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:59 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

You are defining 'sex' too narrowly. If you're open to and interested in other activities such that you can say to someone "we can't do PIV because of this so we'll need to use another way to make you come" then you're having sex.

I wouldn't bring it up before the hot-and-heavy starts. If they're the sort of person who is going to be a jerk about it - either by being put-out or by being wheedler who want to convince you to "just try again" - I think it's a good litmus test for whether someone is a keeper. Sucky to find out in that sort of circumstance, but useful.
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on August 29, 2012

MeMail or email me. I deal with this as a queer lady in an open relationship with a straight cis guy but who is primarily sexual around women, and whose vaginismus was a result of sexual assault.
posted by divabat at 10:51 AM on August 29, 2012

Tell them directly and learn to enjoy other forms of sex. There are many.
posted by ead at 9:01 PM on August 30, 2012

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