Guest Post – Cat introduces herself12/30/2009 at 6:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: body image, female sexual dysfunction, guest post, relationships, sex, vaginismus
Hi! My name (for the purposes of this blog) is Cat, and I’m a guest poster.
I’m hoping to write at least three posts – one about me, my vaginismus, my sexual history, etc.; one about my conservative religious upbringing and how that affected me; one about how I feel about depictions of sex, violence and sexualised violence in popular culture.
So, this first post is all about me.
I have vaginismus. I discovered this almost two years ago, when I first went to bed with a new boyfriend. He has an unusually large penis (as far as I would know with my limited experience, see below), and we had trouble finding a condom large enough to fit him. I think by the time we had found a suitable condom brand and actually got ready to try to have sex, I was freaked out and nervous. And there was pain, and a bit of blood, and both he and I were weirded out and disturbed by the whole thing.
I wasn’t a virgin then, but I only lost my virginity (in terms of penetrative sex) at 27, due to the aforementioned conservative Christian upbringing. Before then I had had boyfriends but had not had full penetrative sex with them. With one I went as far as mutual oral sex, but I never relaxed enough to have an orgasm. Anyway, at 26 I lost my faith, and at 27 I arranged myself a one-weekend stand with a friend, in order to lose my virginity and start exploring the possibility of a sex life. By that point I was really fed up of being a virgin, and wanted to know about what this thing was that everyone goes on about so much.
(I still feel as if I’m missing out, and it’s something I worry about a lot.)
I had almost no idea what to do, since the only depictions of sex I had seen were in tastefully lit and faded out mainstream films. I didn’t know where to put my legs, or how to tilt my hips. Luckily my friend was much more experienced than me, and 10 years older, and he helped me a lot.
The first night, when we tried actual penetration, I had an episode of vaginismus, but didn’t at the time know the name of it or what it was. My friend didn’t make it a big deal, and when we tried again the following night I was a lot more relaxed, and we were successful in having penetrative sex. He’s still the only person I managed that with.
I didn’t get an immediate chance for further experimentation, due to not meeting a suitable man, and anyway my life was significantly derailed at that point by other factors.
[I got a cancer diagnosis, and was effectively out of the dating pool for three or four years.]
The cancer was a big knock to my confidence, with weight gain and a visible scar. My confidence had never been that high to begin with. I’ve never been conventionally attractive, and I am tall and clever and combative and have high standards in possible partners. All of these things narrow the pool of viable men. I also had depressing and humiliating experiences with internet dating.
So anyway, about 5 years after losing my virginity, I lucked out and met my boyfriend. He is also tall and clever and combative and has high standards, and we both feel lucky to have found each other. However, his sexual experience is on a par with mine, and he isn’t in a position to be able to help me through the way my first sexual partner did.
We are still together, almost two years after the episode above, but we still haven’t had penetrative sex. We do a lot of affectionate cuddling and hand holding, but not much else.
I don’t know what changed in between having successful intercourse with the first guy, and being unable to have it with my boyfriend. The only other factor (other than cancer, or the passage of time) I can think of was an extremely traumatic pap smear, which left me in tears.
During those two years since my boyfriend and I got together a lot of other things have happened. We went for a referral to a sexual specialist, and the first one was very good. Then she retired, and the second one was much less sympathetic. My guy was involved in a horribly stressful work situation, which ended up with him suffering significant depression and loss of libido, so he wasn’t really able to work on anything with me. I had some progress with the dilators, but found the whole process difficult and upsetting and lonely, and I found it hard to do without moral support from my boyfriend.
The lack of sex in our relationship really bothered me, but it didn’t bother him so much since he was able to compartmentalise it and ignore it. Meanwhile, his lack of libido left me feeling unattractive – again – and my attempts to get things moving left him feeling pressurised.
More recently, we have done a little experimentation together again, but no significant progress.
That’s all for today. I am writing this partly to interact with other readers of this blog, and partly to get it all straight in my head, and try to deal with some of my own issues. I’m hoping that writing about this, and potentially talking to you all in the comments, will help me move forwards.