7 Women Get Honest About Healing Their Vaginismus
Dr. Taru Jindal (she/her)

Dr. Taru Jindal (she/her)

Sep 15Vaginismus

7 Women Get Honest About Healing Their Vaginismus

Today we bring to you seven inspiring stories of women who were participants of the Vaginismus healing program started by Proactive For Her and Dr Taru Jindal in October 2020. This program is now in its seventh batch & in the past one year has successfully assisted 56 Indian women from across the glove.

Through these stories we will trace their journeys of embracing their sexuality & healing vaginismus.

 

1.“It affected my self-perception, my relationship with my partner, my hopes for the future, and left me questioning my self-worth.”

Sumedha felt disconnected from her body and even tried various therapies to move past this. She shares her journey and says that each person’s journey is different. There is no correct way to do it, and no matter what your goals are, it is worth taking the first step to seek help. Regardless, each of us has inherent worth, as we are.

After meeting her goals through the program, she shares her experience which was the game changer for her.

“I saw an Instagram post that spoke about the Vaginismus program and promptly signed up. I knew that I’d been facing it for a while, and I had started to give up hope on ever becoming better.

Due to vaginismus, I had body image issues and felt disconnected from my body. I was doubting whether I had any physical or sexual desire at all. I felt that something was broken within me, and by extension, I was broken too.

I had tried talk and art therapy, dance movement therapy and bodywork to overcome vaginismus. I was seeking support for a long time and hadn’t found the space to turn to, within India, specifically targeted for Vaginismus.

All these approaches helped in their way, particularly in identifying the many factors that were perpetuating anxiety and vaginismus. Yet, they weren’t very useful in helping me overcome it.

I enjoyed the program because it gave me a focused purpose for the 6 weeks. Although I was initially terrified of sharing my experience in a group setting, I found it extremely validating. A sense of community was built, and I now realise the importance of a support system regarding an area that is considered taboo and is layered in shame.

During the first physical relaxation session, the facilitator mentioned how it’s a privilege to work with the pelvic floor. That changed my outlook from self-pity and shame to feeling empowered about changing this narrative. Along with this, I also experienced how each of us has our own journey with very different milestones. It was challenging to accept this at the time since we were used to comparing our progress with each other’s, but it helped me chalk out my path and goals for myself. I managed to move beyond the goal and was able to focus on the journey of exploring pleasure and self, which made me realise how this journey is more layered rather than linear.

I feel incredibly powerful and in control, since I started from rock bottom and got to where I am. It wasn’t something I anticipated at all! Even during times, I feel like I’m back at Square 1, I am a different version of myself with more perspective, so I’m not back at Square 1, am I? Today, I feel more confident with my body image, have a sense of equality in my relationship with my partner, as well as feel motivated to tackle challenges in life."

2. “My husband and I completed 4 years of marriage without consummation.”

Manasa knew something was wrong in her late teens when inserting a finger into her vagina proved painful. It was after her marriage that she realized the seriousness of it.

“Not being able to have penetrative sex made me feel abnormal and out of place around friends who were married with children or who were in satisfying sexual relationships - always reminded me of the sexual experiences I was lacking. Additionally, it made me feel guilty for holding back my partner from having his sexual experiences as well.

While my husband didn’t consider this being an issue as we were compatible otherwise, I dealt with a lot of anxiety and broken self-esteem. Unable to partake in penetrative intercourse affected me in everything in daily life. It was a big hindrance.

There was a time in our marriage, where both my husband and I felt we could be asexual and I’ve questioned my sexuality. We would get bombarded with questions from family and friends about starting a family which added to all the stress that had built up over time.

I consulted a gynaecologist about the pain I felt during sex. I was blindly suggested to use a set of Dilators with lots of lubricants and was asked to reach back in 3 months regarding the progress. If I couldn’t make any progress within then, I was told, as a matter of fact, to choose the option of getting surgery done. And, in the midst of all of this- the doctor performed my first and the most painful vaginal exam where she just jammed the speculum right in and yanked open my vagina. I hadn’t felt anything that excruciating, ever! That was the last time I exposed myself to a vaginal examination until after I got on this program.

This program fell in my lap like a blessing in disguise when I heard about it on a social media platform. From the beginning, I was made to feel safe and comfortable. I felt reassured with the outlined program structure that is backed up with facts and proof, every step along the way to reaching my goals- This kept me motivated until the end. Being a part of the support group made me realize how unity and harmony can empower overcoming any obstacle in life. I fell short of words to show my gratitude to Dr Taru, Dr Dharav, the ’Proactive For Her’ team and my fellow warriors- Thank You!

Learning that there’s more to Vaginismus than just achieving penetration was in itself a huge game-changer for me! During the course of the program, I was able to unlock little problem areas that fed into my Vaginismus such as body image issues, lack of self-compassion and some unresolved personal issues from my past.

Another crucial learning was the whole concept of holistic pleasure. Something as simple as the fact that pleasure can be felt using all five human senses and that it needn’t be just about sexual organs blew my mind! Self-explanatory, yet profound.

If you are in the same boat, you’re not hopeless and it most certainly is NOT YOUR FAULT! Have faith in yourself and keep going.”

healing-vaginismus

3. “ I was depressed and thought my husband might leave me even when he stood by me the whole time.”

Ananya comes from a very orthodox and religious background. Talk about body and sex was taboo in her family and church. She was a people -pleaser and never went against her parents. She would even wear a chastity belt if she could.

“ I discovered I had vaginismus after marriage. I was inexperienced when it came to sex because of my upbringing and thought I could get over it. I used to push away my husband during intercourse. I used to get superhuman strength to push away my stronger husband. I joined him in the UK after my studies. My husband is very supportive but I felt less for not being able to have penetrative sex.

I felt very depressed and less of a woman for denying him penetration. I fell down the victimization spiral. I got married in 2017 and could only have comfortable penetrative sex in 2021. Adding to my trauma was the “well-intentioned” interrogation about my life and why we are not planning on having kids. I was terrified when one gynaecologist I asked my husband to forcefully have sex with me as it was his “right”. The traumatizing experiences cemented my feelings of worthlessness.

I heard about Dr Taru Jindal from Kamana Gautam, a social media influencer. I watched Dr Taru’s videos and felt a deep connection with her experience. I felt like she was directly talking with me and reached out to her. Dr Taru recommended Vaginismus Care Circle and I was glad for it. My husband was very sceptical about the outcome at first.

I looked at my naked body, and the vagina for the first time. I fell in love with my body and found a newfound appreciation in my body. Dr Taru is the right mix of Mom-boss. At times caring and at times pushing when needed, I was able to graduate from 1st dilator to the last. She made me feel at ease with my body, exploring myself internally and externally. She was always there to support me. The program helped me make good friends for life. We motivated each other. 

In this experience, I gained more confidence and learned to be a better person and a better partner. It helped me remove the blanket of shame and embarrassment to find the confidence that was hidden in me. This program opened my mind to many things. It taught me about pleasure and not just painless penetration. Group sessions with other women and Dr Dharav’s partner sessions helped us understand each other. He benefited from the sessions as well. It strengthened our relationship and helped us empathize with each other. I learned to shed the victim mentality and wish the same for other women with the condition too. Even though we started the program to achieve painless penetrative sex, which we did achieve, we realised towards the end of the program that sex is not just penetration. It has a whole additional meaning which will improve your bond. I could finally stop letting vaginismus affect me and define me. I strongly recommend the program for people with vaginismus.

4. “I was living in denial that sex is essential, and I will be able to do it eventually if I gave it some time. “

Pavithra on the other hand was unaware about her condition and grappled with guilt of not being able to be intimate with her supportive husband. This is true for many women in India where vaginismus is not discussed. She was unable to get a clear understanding and her confidence took a plunge. She was resigned to her fate until recently.

“ I was living in denial that sex is essential, and I thought I will be able to do it eventually if I gave it some time. But each time I denied penetrative sex, I felt I'm robbing my husband of his right, but my husband has been very understanding.

Over the years, it has affected my confidence and self-esteem to a greater extent, and I'd constantly question myself, "why me?". I woke up and told myself, "Enough of self-pity and self-loathing, I've been living this for 4 years now, and I've got nothing to lose, so let's find a way to cure this" and found Proactive For Her on Instagram and it truly was a sign from universe for me. So I didn't think twice and went for it right away.

I visited 2 gynaecologists before joining the program, and each visit was worse than the previous one. The doctor humiliated me in front of my mother, indicating how I will bear childbirth pain if I can't bear a finger being put inside my vagina. When the doctor put her finger inside my vagina, the pain was infuriating, and I shouted, and she scolded me for yelling and said it's not appropriate for a grown woman to shout for a simple procedure. She further went ahead and told me women should "bear" certain pain for the sake of family. My insecurity went from bad to worse.

I was very reluctant at first and procrastinated a lot even after starting the program. But Dr Taru was very patient and understanding. She answered all my questions, no matter how many times I asked the same, and made my fears disappear. She was a constant support and made me feel very comfortable. The program is very streamlined and designed especially for Indian women.

I learned a lot about loving my body and being kind to myself, and I stopped blaming myself for having vaginismus. I feel like a warrior. The pleasure sessions gave me a safe space to explore self-love, which most women are deprived of and are/ is underrated. In a nutshell, the sessions are more than just about curing vaginismus; they are about self-love and more.

Healing Vaginismus has opened new doors between my husband and me, and most importantly, it changed my relationship with myself. I became more self-confident and became more kind to myself. I learned that you're no less of a woman if you can’t enjoy penetration. We're strong women who are fighting our traumas, and that makes us stronger than anyone else.”

5. It was always this hole that I was trying to cover up or tiptoe around.

Bee knew she had vaginismus but didn't know what to do about it. Having an understanding partner didn’t help her feel better.

“ I found the vaginismus programme via an Instagram story, one night while scrolling on social media at bedtime. On the face of it, vaginismus didn't have an impact on my life, partly thanks to an understanding partner. But somewhere deep inside it had left me feeling "less", as if I was falling short in a way. The programme helped me find answers to the "why me?" question that has troubled me since forever. It made me feel supported, gave me hope and the strength to work on myself. Most importantly, it made me feel less alone. Meeting a bunch of amazingly brave and talented women, who were all fighting similar (yet different) battles was one of the best things about the programme. We all supported each other in a way our therapists or instructor couldn't. I'm glad that I was able to complete my goals in the programme. It gave me the confidence to work on myself, besides obviously obliterating a nagging feeling of not being good enough. It was a huge confidence boost to get results for the hard work and to see that with the right help it is possible to work on your mental health. I've also been able to become more accepting of myself and my body. Deciding to use the menstrual cup is among one of those achievements. It had long been an aim and one I was able to do only because I healed vaginismus. The experience of using a cup has transformed my periods, making them a lot less hassle and discomfort. The most important thing I learned from this wholesome experience is that everything you need is already within you. Patience, that’s all we need.”

6. “I had given up on the possibility that I would get the right treatment for this condition."

Priya says vaginismus had a huge impact on her life, resulting in broken relationships, damaged self-worth, isolation and a lot of money spent.

“ I considered going to a sex therapist once but backed off due to the high cost of sessions and not feeling comfortable working with a male therapist. I visited a well-known gynaecologist in Bangalore who put me through a very painful penetrative exam with a speculum and then told me I need to relax and not take this so seriously. I then travelled abroad to visit family and took the opportunity to receive sessions from a sexological bodyworker. Her approach was very gentle and the hands-on sessions helped me a lot in terms of dissolving shame and feeling more settled in my nervous system and resolving some layers of trauma. I did not stay there long enough to continue treatment in that approach. I found the Vaginismus program through an Instagram post a friend had shared in their stories. I finally healed through the program with Dr Taru. I began to see results almost from day 1 when I attended my first session.

Here’s what I learned from my experience:

  • Having a lead therapist who herself had healed from vaginismus and knew the condition from a deeply personal place made me trust in Dr Taru's guidance. Her empathy and conviction were the hallmarks of my healing journey.
  • Meeting and being on the journey with some incredible Indian women with similar struggles led me to a lot of self-understanding and acceptance. Suddenly I was not alone anymore and that made a big difference.
  • Ease of access: Being able to do the process at the comfort of my own home allowed me to settle into a deeper safety in my body.
  • Having a structured daily relaxation and dilation routine through the program led to consistency and the body began to respond positively.
  • I learnt how my childhood conditioning and beliefs around sex had a big impact on my relationship with my body AND that it was possible to change and rewire those beliefs to heal and thrive in my sexual and overall wellbeing.
  • I have developed a deeper self-compassion which in turn has deepened my relationships. I have increased trust in the wisdom of the body and the value of attuning to it and tending to its guidance.

Getting to know one's pelvis is a truly worthwhile and rewarding journey to take and perhaps there is no end to how much love we can experience for ourselves in deepening our relationship with the body. Once the body feels safe, seen and heard, its intelligence and healing mechanism takes over.”

7. "I am on the way to healing."

Tania has never shied away from speaking about vaginismus. Her experience with gynaecologists was not fruitful. There was a case when one doctor suggested the use of botox as a cure which she didn't agree to.

"My husband was very understanding. I am happy to say that vaginismus didn't have a negative impact on my relationship or sex life. To be frank he was very empathetic that it kind of made me complacent. I found out about Proactive For Her through a friend who shared an Instagram story. The program was really helpful from the start and I graduated to the 5th dilator quickly.

Due to my parents' health issues and my relocation, I couldn't find time to continue the process. I'm part of the long term program so I am still able to key in some time for my treatment. The sessions were enlightening. I became more self-aware and it opened up aspects about myself that I never knew about and it encouraged me to work on other aspects of myself and my life. I learned to appreciate the little joys of everyday life. Group sessions were a blessing, we could encourage each other and learn from shared experiences. It's been an incredible and wholesome journey. To the women out there struggling with vaginismus, understand that you are not to blame. Don't be guilty, having vaginismus is not your fault. It’s curable and we can heal."

In conclusion

Vaginismus is a condition that can be cured. It takes time, effort and patience. Don’t let stigmas and society take away your life and your relationships from you. It’s time to be proactive.

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.