First written about two months ago.
It’s been about ten years since I first developed my chronic vulvar pain condition.
I didn’t know what was happening at first. By the time I figured it out and got my self-diagnosis confirmed at Planned Parenthood, I knew vulvar vestibulitis meant a condition that virtually no one knew how to treat, let alone cure.
I felt broken, defective, and ashamed to my core. I would be insanely jealous of random women I saw on the street, because they probably didn’t have the intense burning during sex and for 48 hours afterwards. I had sex anyway and just dealt with the pain as long as I could. I couldn’t handle being vocal about it with the sexual partner I had at the time, and he didn’t care enough to check in.
It was a couple years later that I found the treatment I’ve been using since. Topical capsaicin burns quite unpleasantly when I use it, but it is pretty effective at depleting the chemicals that cause the pain cascade during intercourse, and it leaves me sexually functional.
Eight years later, a few months ago, I decided to see what else I could do.
Tomorrow, I start PT; specifically, pelvic floor rehabilitation. I will be going to a clinic with two PTs who do only pelvic floor rehabilitation, and we will work primarily on getting one specific muscle to relax, along with whatever else is connected to it. My new specialist, one of the best doctors I’ve seen in my life, thinks that this should solve the majority of my issue, addressing it at the cause.
Sometimes I think it would be easier if there were trauma I could associate with it. Sometimes I feel like there has to have been something, that I’m missing something, bypassing some memory, or maybe it was small and cumulative. I haven’t been able to find anything, and I don’t know whether I’m missing it or not.
I’ve been ashamed of this condition since I developed it. Sometimes I’m ashamed that I have to make adjustments during sex to keep my pelvic floor muscles reasonably happy. Sometimes I still feel a little defective.
But I’ve batted around the idea for years now of being more open about it, because that’s what kills the shame, and because I know that some women who read this are experiencing, or have experienced, the same thing, and because there is power in not being alone with it.
And because I want them all to know that there are people like my partner who, both times I have ever apologized to him for needing to make an adjustment during sex because of my muscles, said, “You don’t EVER apologize to me for your muscles.” People like my ex of years ago, who, plenty flawed on his own in so many ways, never once complained when we stopped having intercourse before I found capsaicin, and just had a lot of oral sex with me instead.
For all the several uncaring partners I’ve had, I’ve had several who’ve made it clear that I was always what was important, not that slightly deeper thrust. That I was never defective to them.
It’s amazing to think that, after ten years, I might be able to correct the underlying problem.
Wish me luck.