We think we haven’t written enough about men and vaginismus. In the spirit of our focus on “our menopause” we want to tell you about how men may be helpful in reversing the problem but how, sometimes, they may worsen it.
Our made up couple, Tom and Jane, went through a typical sequence. Due to low estrogen levels after her hysterectomy, Jane’s vagina was barely lubricating even when she felt aroused. In touching Jane, Tom knew she was dry “down there” which he interpreted as her not being aroused, interested, or ready for intercourse – and sometimes that was accurate. But, other times, she did FEEL sexually aroused yet her body wasn’t ready for intercourse.
When Tom tried to insert a finger in her vagina it felt tight. She sometimes winced or flinched or said “ouch.” Not surprisingly, he felt concerned about hurting her and backed off. From then on, he became tense and tentative about touching her genital area.
Tom and Jane didn’t talk about it. Each worried they’d hurt the other’s feelings.
Sometimes a man, encountering his partner’s vaginal dryness and tightness, will lose his erection or ejaculate while trying to enter the vagina. He may then go on to a pattern of impotence or premature ejaculation. Some men feel so much frustration and confusion that they react with anger. Part of that anger is being unable to play the traditional male role of problem solver. Their frustration is understandable but not helpful.
This is a crisis moment for a couple, whether the man feels angry or, like Tom, feels sad and helpless. Unless the couple talks, the situation is likely to spiral downward and, a year later, they’ll realize they no longer have a sex life together.
First you must stop any sexual activity that hurts. Then you must talk about what’s going on and about how you feel.Read more in Advancing Health After Hysterectomy