When I learnt I was going to be the maid of honor to my best friend Nkechi, I was excited; it was something we had been talking about since we were ten. Even though she was getting married first, we both knew she would still be my maid of honor for my own wedding.
From the moment Charles proposed, we started planning for the big day, not a second wasted. The best part was the shopping for the wedding dress, the planning for the shower. Of course I was in charge and I loved every bit of it. The sad part was my friend was going to be moving to another city as her husband lived in another state the euphoria of the wedding didn’t let me dwell on that for too long though.
The wedding came and it was all fun and glamorous. I didn’t catch the bouquet but I had fun all the same. The best man was cute and I caught him staring at me one too many times. Hey! That was better than catching the bouquet right?
Anyways I waited patiently for the honeymoon to end like the well brought up girl I was before I did the thing that was topmost on my mind. The day after she got to Nigeria, I called Nkechi up. I wanted all the juicy, naughty details of the wedding night. We had both been saving Sex for after marriage and what other person would give me the unedited, unadulterated wedding night details other than my best friend?
She didn’t sound too excited about it when I asked and I wondered if she had caught the “married woman syndrome “already .What she told me left me shocked and confused at the same time. In her own words: “We couldn’t do it”. Charles could not penetrate, it was so tight and painful I just couldn’t bear it. We have been trying for weeks now Nkechi said. She was crying
It turned out they had not consummated the marriage. Any attempt at penetration left her in so much pain that she fought him off. it was frustrating for him and she felt insecure and inadequate at the same time. The worst part was she couldn’t talk to people about it, even her mother, it felt awkward. I encouraged her to talk to a friend who is a doctor and that was when we first heard the word:”Vaginismus”.
Vaginismus is a condition that makes the muscles of the pelvis tighten impulsively, preventing a woman from having sexual intercourse. It can be likened to when you close your eyelids on reflex when an object comes too close to your eyes. The muscle tightening is not done consciously and the woman is not able to control the reflex, making sexual intercourse painful and unbearable. Women have described this pain as a feeling of tissue tearing or as the penis hitting a wall.
This condition is usually linked to anxiety and fear of having sex.
Vaginismus can have psychological undertones as women who have experienced past sexual abuse or trauma can develop this condition. It has also been linked to witnessing violence as a child or even linked to some religious beliefs that sex is dirty or bad. Sometimes there is no identifiable cause.
Medical conditions like urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted infections, menopause and hormonal changes can also cause vaginismus
Experts have recommended kegel exercises: Squeezing the same muscles you use to stop urine flow. Squeeze the muscle and hold for 2 seconds then relax the muscle. Squeeze and release about twenty times for a round of kegel exercise. It is recommended that the exercise is performed as many times a day as possible. Vaginal dilation using plastic dilators are also recommended. However this should be done under the direction of a sex therapist or doctor.
Patience and gentleness is key to easing the pain with vaginismus. Extended foreplay and adequate lubrication will help ease the pain. This is something both partners need to work together on. If you are experiencing this, do not feel inadequate. There is a solution to it, however it needs cooperation of both parties, so work on it together with your partner and be patient.