Sunday, May 29, 2011


So I saw that some people linked my blog, which I appreciate because it gets the word out.

What I didn't appreciate were the direct attacks on me, my religion and my intelligence level in the comments to the posts. I'm not stupid. I interact with the world on a daily basis. I have a whole lot of non Jewish and non religious friends. I don't have vaginismus because I'm religious. I don't even have a lack of information about sex solely because I'm religious. I had a lack of information about sex because I happened to approach the wrong source to tell me about it. I didn't know much about my own anatomy because I never used tampons (instead I used pads) and therefore it never occurred to me to randomly stick objects inside of me.

Whether or not I were religious right now, I'd still have a medical condition called vaginismus, something I don't think that most of you understand. Vaginismus is a mixture of a psychological and physical condition where the muscles of the vagina literally panic and don't allow penetration to occur. They freak out. They say stop, dangerous, scary, no entry. This is something I need to work to overcome and a lot of other women like me need to work to overcome. And instead of being compassionate and seeing how that is a struggle that ought to be respected, a lot of you are just blaming me for my religion. You also talk about me like I'm an idiot and unable to see beyond its tenets, calling me a "prisoner" of it or talking about how my religion has ruined me.

Seeing as the majority of you don't know anything about my religion, how dare you attack it? And attack me? Who are you to know me, judge me; how do you even know anything about why I chose this religion? You don't even know what my religion has to say about sexuality, which is, by the way, that it's the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing ever. I have a very positive view of sexuality and was brought up with the idea that it's pleasurable and holy; my only issue is actually performing the act.

Shame on you for attacking me and what's more important, the women I represent. I'm a woman who has a form of sexual dysfunction; in my case, vaginismus. And I'm working to get over it and beyond it. You should get on board with helping make sexual dysfunction less taboo rather than just shouting each other down in order to see who can do a better job of blaming the woman who has it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I was saying Tehillim today and I was on perek chaf hey saying pasuk yud zayin specifically and I started thinking about how much I relate to it.

Tzaros levavi hirchivu. The pains of my heart are widened. And then the request for Hashem to please bring me out of the depths and lift me up.

And I was just thinking how there must be some purpose in all this. A lot of really nice people have been emailing me to offer their support which I really appreciate. And a lot of them have been saying how I'm brave. Now I don't think it's brave to write an anonymous blog. But I am glad that people have been able to be touched by things I'm saying and hopefully will get help if they need it. I was thinking that maybe everything is sort of connected and that Hashem always gives us what we can handle. I'm sure if he gave this pekel to me and my husband it must be for a reason so I just hope we're able to shed light on it and make sure that people can benefit from the knowledge that this can happen.

I guess I was just thinking about Hashem and his greatness in general today. I mean, this is the Borei Shomayim vAretz that we're talking about. He who makes the makkos and nisim and is in charge of every malach who sits there davening for every blade of grass to grow. And this Hashem about whom we say lashem ha'aretz umloah decided that me and my husband had to go through this experience. Why us?

And the only thing I can really answer is that maybe this is related to our tafkid. Maybe it's our job to tell the world about this so that reforms can happen. Maybe there can be better sexual education in general. I sure hope so. Maybe Hashem picked us because he knows that we can do something about it, not just so that we can be in pain about it. I believe with full emuna and bitochon that Hashem is full of blazing ahavah. I also believe with all my heart that his love showers down on me and my husband. So somehow this too comes from Him with love.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I have such conflicted feelings about being a Nidah.

On the one hand, I hate being separated from my husband. I take strength from him and part of that strength is physical. I like to lean on him, to touch him and feel connected.

On the other hand, it does give us time to work out issues we won't otherwise address. It also, to some extent, takes the pressure off because there's no way for us to try to have intercourse when I'm a Nidah.

It's the Seven Clean Days I really dislike. I get the not sleeping with your wife when she's bloody. I don't get the Seven Clean Days. To me they're more like the Seven Awful Days. Especially because I bleed longer than five days in the first place, so I have seven days of bleeding and seven clean days and then how much of the month is left for me to even try to be with my husband?

But what I really hate about Nidah are bedikah cloths.

You're supposed to wrap a white cloth around your finger, insert it into your vaginal canal, move it around and see if there are any stains on it. The problem with this is I am very frightened of inserting my finger into the vaginal canal. I am comfortable inserting tampons now but I'm not comfortable inserting my finger.

I did do it with the doctors onlooking because they said I had to and I responded to the authority in their voices. But when I try to do bedikahs with my own finger and the cloth I just end up failing. The reason why, I think, is that it hurts a bit when I prod myself seeking entrance and I don't want to push harder and hurt myself more just to put the finger in. I wish my husband were able to do my bedikahs for me because I don't mind when he puts his finger in. I trust him so I'm not scared then.

I tried to explain to my kallah teacher even before I got married that I was scared of bedikahs and that I didn't think I knew how to do them. She wasn't helpful. She said to use tampons and that I had to insert my finger at least to my knuckle  by a bedikah. I don't think she got that at the time I had no idea where to insert the finger.

Bedikah means to search. Theoretically you're searching for blood, but in my case I'm searching for so many other things. Confidence. Lack of fear. The ability to push the finger in even if I'm scared it will hurt or it does hurt. I worry that I'll always be searching. That I won't get over this. That we'll both be unfulfilled and I won't have kids. I worry about the shame when I have to go to gynecologists for pap smears and I'm still a virgin even though I'm supposed to be married. I worry that my bedikah will be unsuccessful and I'm going to stay stuck for a very long time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


From what I understand, most frum girls have one of two responses to sex when they find out about it: horror and disgust or excitement and interest.

The ones who haven't been told anything think: "I'm expected to do that with someone?" They're usually traumatized.

The ones who have had a slightly more open upbringing try to romanticize it and focus on the pleasure part of it, like I did. They're the ones who get excited by it and think it will be really pleasurable and awesome. Of course, that probably means that the first time they're a bit disappointed because assuming you're both virgins, it's not like either of you know what you're doing.

Neither of these frum girls have a good view towards reality. Reality would be something closer to this: Sex, like anything else, is a skill which involves technique and practice. You have to learn how to do it well (once you're able to do it at all. Unlike me currently.) The good thing is, if you put in effort, listen to your partner and read books, hopefully you can make it better for both of you.

I wonder why no one just puts that out there. What would be so scary if we did.

Instead, we let our girls sit there with lots of misinformation and half-truths, either traumatized, scared and disgusted or excited but kind of air-headed and wait for them to just figure it all out on the wedding night. Because that makes sense.

Aside from this, there's only so much you can learn from books. Orgasms, for instance. My husband would love for me to have one. He's read all about the clitoris, stimulation etc. Also about how most girls don't really have one from vaginal penetration; it's more from clitoral stimulation. And yet despite all that we have no idea how to do it. I mean, we try, and I feel good for a bit but there's never that amazing wow-bliss that everyone talks about. In fact, usually it's too much stimulation so I just tell him to stop.

I just wish someone out there would address all the stuff girls really want to know in a non-scary way and suggest techniques, too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It probably doesn't make sense to most people why my husband would stay with me given this situation. I mean, isn't sex the only thing men think about? That's what our society wants us to think anyway. So how is my husband dealing with this?

Well, for one thing he's super understanding. And he's cute when he sneezes because there is cat fuzz all over the couch. But better than that he's in love with me. The kind of buy-flowers-for-no-reason, celebrate my being in his life, cover me in kisses deep sort of we'll-get-through-anything love. And I'm grateful of course but more than that this is making me fall more in love with him. Through the haze of guilt that's in my head because of course I feel bad for him that he doesn't get to have sex I realize how much he loves me that he is so careful not to blame me or hurt me (I mean aside from times when we both get into fights and lose our cool).

And I love him. I love when we wake up in the morning and his hair is all tousled and he blinks his eyes and adjusts to daylight. He looks so sleepy and adorable. I love how we debate politics until we both fall asleep from exhaustion. I love his willingness to put up with my owning a cat. I love our banter when we go to brush our teeth. I love how he does not judge me for my ADD. I even love when he gets upset and corrects me when I've been ignoring his feelings and have been being selfish. I love when he tells me about his day at work. I love the weirdness that is our normelcy in the middle of all this, like when we cuddle up to watch a comedy together and laugh. I love our ridiculousness when we are grocery shopping and start defending different foods in a  battle of cottage cheese against the tacos.

I love how he knows exactly when I need my dose of Ke$ha so he blasts his iPod and tells me to just let the crazy out and work off the steam on our elliptical machine. I love him taking a towel that's warm and dry and wrapping me in it when I come out of the shower.

I love that he'll sit through the "Water for Elephants" movie even though he has no interest in Twilight stars, elephants or Reese Witherspoon. I love that we'll go get fro-yo at 10 at night just because it makes me happy.

My husband's got this whole sugary side you guys don't know about it. I'm the only one who gets to see it and it's one of the things making sure we get through this while staying sane.

So darling, to take Enrique's line:

Tonight I'm loving you.


Suddenly there are all these visitors to this blog- wow- where did you all come from? Where'd you find the link?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


So today's visit to the Drs was epic. I went, my husband went with me, and it was awesome.

See, I went to see a woman who is a marital and sex therapist and also a kallah teacher whose husband is also a marital and sex therapist and also an obgyn. They are both frum in addition to this. So the way it worked is first my husband and I went into the office and spoke with the woman and told her who we were, gave her our information and told her what we had tried leading up to coming there (namely, how we thought we were having sex, found out we weren't from gyno who made me feel like a freak and my husband had spoken to the sex therapist who said to use graduated tampons and then one finger and then two and then when we couldn't do two said to go to them).

So then she asked us what position we were trying to have sex in.

So we said our kallah and chassan teacher hadn't really told us anything about positions but what we had sort of gleaned was that I should lay back on the bed, spread my legs and bend my knees but have the soles of my feet flat on the bed. And my husband should support himself on his arms and kind of try to come inside me.

And the woman's like, "That's so not happening." She explained that we need to do something called the knee-chest position where I hold my legs up to my chest with bent knees and spread them in the air so that my vaginal opening is facing straight rather than pointed down. My husband should kneel between my legs and then try penetrating me. This will make everything MUCH easier.

She then took out latex models of a vagina and showed us on the model everything about our anatomy. She explained there is no such thing as a vagina that is "too small." She showed on the model how the vaginal canal is narrow but the actual vagina is very large and people can hide jewels, guns or drugs in there which is why there are strip-searches. After all, a baby's head has to fit through there! She also explained when a baby can't fit through and they do a C-section it's not because the vagina is too small but because of something to do with the pelvic area and bones instead. But the vagina itself can fit anything, can stretch and there's no such thing as your vagina being too small. So why is the canal itself/ the opening small? Because the man and the woman want to feel the intercourse. "No one wants to have intercourse with the Holland Tunnel" in her words.

After showing us on the latex vagina the positioning as well and how one big problem with us is how we were positioned because my husband was trying to penetrate me when my vaginal opening was pointed down, she went on to talk about some other issues.

She explained with an example of how sometimes you really need to pee so you hold it in even though you have to go really badly and maybe one drop of pee actually even seeps out into your underwear. But let's say you have a train ride home, so you clamp your legs together and hold it and finally get home and rush to the bathroom and a little pee trickles out. And then, a while later, once you're relaxed, you can go back to the bathroom and actually pee. So why does that happen? It's because you tightened the muscles in order to prevent the pee from coming out and once you get home off the train even though your brain says 'Relax' your muscles are still tightened and you have to physically loosen/ relax to actually be able to relax and release the 700ccs of urine.

So it's the same with the vagina. If the vagina fears or senses pain in penetration, then it tightens up and unfortunately it's a vicious cycle because the more you tighten, the more pain you will feel when something tries to enter you. So you need to work on relaxing those muscles.

But that's not the only issue that could occur regarding pain. There can also be an issue with how your hymen is shaped. Some hymens have a septum, which is a piece of skin down the middle which is intercepting the hole, which is why there is pain. And some other hymens have lots of little holes but no one big hole that a penis can fit through. Also, some hymens are really tough like shoe leather so even if the penis could get in, that doesn't mean it could break the skin. So to determine what sort of hymen you have and the physical level of difficulty you might have because of it you need to be examined by a doctor. Sometimes in some cases you might need a surgery just because of how you were born.

Then she said how her husband is an Obgyn and if I want I can be examined right then and there. So I said yes and my husband came with me and we met her husband, who is a lovely older man, and he set me up in his office and I took off my underwear and lay down and he had me take a mirror and explained all my anatomy to me. Then he put in one finger and it hurt a little but no excruciating pain.

But when he put in TWO fingers tears came into my eyes and I cried out in pain and he said, "You're tensing up, I see it" and I really did tense up. But he wouldn't take the fingers out so I needed to sit there and calm myself and relax which I did eventually. Then he said instead of him shoving fingers inside me I would do it. I protested that I can't, I can't do it, I can't even put one finger inside me. But he said you can and you will. And all of a sudden I DID I put one finger inside me. And then he lubricated the other finger and said put it inside as well. And I DID. I don't know how I did except he and his wife told me I HAD to and somehow them saying I had to made me do it. And it didn't hurt as much when I put two fingers in as when he did.

So he examined me some more and he said like this. He said my hymen is a little tough, not like shoe leather, not super fibrous, but a little tough. It's like a thick rubber band a bit. So he's not sure if it will break even if my husband does penetrate me with force. But here are the options they gave me:

1) My husband and I can try to have intercourse with the new position they told us to use
2) The obgyn can perform a surgical procedure where he snips certain parts of tissue connecting the hymen and thus I don't feel the tightening that causes the pain and I can let this heal for a while (at least a week) and then my husband will be able to penetrate me
3) I can come in and use dilators under the lady doctor's supervision, which will give me more control and make me open wide enough that my husband should be able to insert his penis. But if I do this, there's no guarantee that even then he'll be able to penetrate me because of the fact that my hymen is a little thick.

So now I need to think about these options and come up with which one I want to do. I'm not sure. I think maybe I want to try us having intercourse and if it doesn't work, do the dilators. But if I end up having to get cut anyway, I don't know if the dilators are worth it.

I asked the doctor what I have and he says he coined a name for it called 'reactive vaginismus' and it's perfectly normal. It's not like vaginismus where there are women who have it all the time, with a hymen or without a hymen, because they were raped or sexually assaulted or something. Rather, it's tensing up and tightening and fear because of having something inside me that I don't want to have there because I'm scared and once my hymen is penetrated, it will go away. So it's not a long-lasting issue or condition.

His wife said I don't have a condition or label at all; it's just normal fear. She called it the SJG condition and said that's what it is, nothing else.

Really this visit went so much better than I could have imagined. It helped a lot that my husband was there. He wiped away my tears and gave me a massage and gave me kisses when the doctors left the examining room and told me I was brave and strong. The doctors also said I had done very well in the exam.

I'm proud of myself that I went even though I was scared and I hope we can fix this sooner rather than later. I just wish I had had this lady as my kallah teacher in the first place because maybe I wouldn't even be here now. It also seems like this is a combination of me and my husband being in the wrong position, him not using enough force, my 'reactive vaginismus' and the fact that I have a slightly thick hymen, so I don't feel as bad anymore like it's all my fault. I think that's a good thing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I made the calls.

The first doc I called has a horrible office. I was put on hold for a half hour twice. I told the woman I spoke to I needed two minutes of the doc's time to find out if she even treats the condition I have. The woman took my info but then called me back to say, "I talked to my coworkers and they said you have to make an appointment and come in to talk to that woman or she'll charge you to talk to you on the phone." And I said, "How can you expect me to make an appointment when I don't know if she can treat the particular condition I have? How much is an appointment?" "250 an hour," the other replied. "Sucks for you, I'm not making one," was my reply.

Then I called a different woman who someone who reads this blog had recommended. She was a totally different story. She spoke to me about my situation, took down my info, made me an appointment and when I told her that my obgyn had made me feel like a freak when I discovered I was still a virgin/ dealing with this unconsummated marriage issue said, "If you want to feel like a freak, you can, but just know I've treated about 200-300 cases of this." Wow! She put me at ease.

I'm excited. I want this to work. The sessions are very expensive and I'm not sure how I am going to afford it, but I guess we'll just have to work out a plan and hope everything goes well. It's good to know there are docs out there who can possibly help.


I don't want to get my hopes up too much.

By the way, just because this is the most major problem my husband and I are dealing with doesn't mean life just stops. There are a thousand things on my mind, other issues we need to be dealing with. This is an upsetting place in our lives in general. Imagine pressures of having to attend a family bar mitzvah in another state, the other one's graduation from high school, deal with work tensions, family expectations some of which are nuts and you also have this huge overwhelming issue underneath it all. It's just way too much. I feel like a ticking time bomb. It's hard holding all this stuff together.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Until now, we had been working on the therapy suggested by the first doctor. He said to go through the various sizes of tampons, then do one finger, then do two. Except I would scream in pain when my husband would try to  insert two of his fingers into me. Finally he managed to do it but this idea of being able to move them in and out of me is completely impossible. As well barbecue me over a bunch of burning coals.

So my husband talked to the therapist (I was not really in a position to be talking; I was too busy being miserable) and he said "The level of pain you're talking about requires professional attention. You wife should be examined by a physical therapist or ob/gyn who is expert in sexual pain. Let me know if you need help finding someone."

So now I'm scared. Because now I have to actually call up a bunch of doctors who specialize in sexual pain and say, "Hey, guess what. I'm a freak. I can't consummate my marriage because just having my husband insert two fingers into me is a struggle which makes me scream. Now let me take off my panties in your office while you insert your gloved fingers inside me and make me scream as well and then perhaps laugh at me for being such an idiot."

Now yes, doctors are supposed to be compassionate so it's not likely that that would really happen. But when I went to my obgyn, the sense I got was that the idea of people just not being able to consummate their marriage at all was foreign to her. Then she told the other obgyn in her practice, who was my primary one, and I felt like my secret had been violated because the whole reason I had gone to her partner and not my regular physician in the first place was because I hadn't wanted the primary one to know and judge me. So I definitely don't want to go to either of those women for treatment.

Aside from the issue of finding someone, I'm going to have to miss work in order to do these appointments, which are probably going to be extremely humiliating and involve me being naked where it matters most and potentially inserting different size dilators inside myself. Plus I have no idea what this costs and if I have the money to pay for it, because health insurance probably won't pay for it. So I have no idea how I will pay for this. And it's not like I can ask family members for help potentially because I don't want them to know anything about this.

I also grew up in a time where therapy of any kind was frowned upon and looked down upon. The idea being, "Oh, you're crazy, that's why you need therapy." I remember my parents boasting when I grew up, "All our friends had to go to marriage therapy, but we never had to." It's like a mark of pride never to need to go to therapy. And here I am, 24 years old, and I'm not only going to have to go to therapy but I have to go to therapy where I'm naked and bare and in a completely vulnerable and compromising position which is nothing like what or who I am in real life where I'm actually a very accomplished professional.

So I'm scared. And I've been pushing off making the phone call because of how I'm dreading everything to follow and worrying that the woman I see will laugh at me or talk about me behind my back to all her friends - oh, that nebach case I had with a woman who couldn't even be intimate with her husband! Hashem yerachem. And I don't want to be a pity case.

But I have to make the phone call because we can't live like this. On the positive side of things, my amazing husband insists on coming with me to the doctor so maybe that means things will go better.

I hate crying in front of people and I just know I am going to dissolve into tears in front of this woman when I go see her because this is just way too much to handle. I hate feeling weak and yet I have no choice. I feel like what is anything I have done worth when in the end I still need to walk into an office and take off my panties and be felt up by a doctor so she can officially diagnose me and then tell me about exercises I need to do to calm down my vaginal muscles so that I can finally- finally- one day, preferably before Mashiach comes- make love to my husband.

I just hate being in a position which makes me so dependent on the mercy of others.

Monday, May 9, 2011


After the gynecologist had told me to work on inserting tampons, I bought a box and tried putting them in. I did successfully insert them about three times. I figured that was enough. I also spent a lot of time with my husband just cuddling and caressing him and getting close. Then came the Nidah period.

We were really excited for our Mikvah night. This time, everything was going to go perfectly. I went to the mikvah. I went to the drying room, perfectly blow-dried my hair, put on my makeup and beneath my blouse I wore the same lingerie I had worn on my wedding night.

My husband, in the meantime, got our house ready. He closed the lights, lit romantic scented candles everywhere and put rose petals on the bed. When I got home, he was waiting for me in his robe. He had showered and shaved. I opened the door and literally walked into a fairytale. He handed me a dozen red roses and after I had told him I was pure now, kissed me.

He had also found the music I had walked down to at my chuppah and he had set it to repeat. It was beautiful music. The connotation, of course, was that this night was our true wedding night.

We went to the bedroom. He undressed me tenderly. He kissed me. I kissed him back. We slowly touched each others' bodies, watching as they came alive. The feel of his skin, my hand in his hair after such a long time apart- it was heaven.

The moment came. I knew I should help direct him. So I lay back, bent my knees, relaxed, opened myself to him. He pushed hard. I choked back a scream. Whatever he was pushing against, it didn't work. I didn't want to let him know that, though. I just gritted my teeth and tried to bring him closer. He pushed again. This time I couldn't stifle the cry that ripped from my throat. There were tears on my face. I was in pain and I was crying. His arousal started to go soft.

"No," I whispered harshly, angrily. "Keep going." My head against the pillow, I could hear my wedding music playing. I could see myself walking to that chuppah. I wanted us to be married for real.

"I can't," he said in anguish. You see, he could see my face, which was a blur of pain and sadness.

I forced him. I came up with ways to make him aroused again and then I had him try again. And he did try and I would scream and he would go soft. "I can't do this, SJG," he finally whispered. "I feel like I'm raping you."

"But you're not raping me. You have my permission to do it," I said irrationally.

"I just can't be aroused when you're in so much pain," he said and cradled me.

We hugged each other, sobbing. In the background was the wedding music, which made us both think of me the way I was, such a happy bride.

"Shut that off," I begged and he got up and turned it off. Then he started to berate himself.

"How could I have been so stupid to think that it would just work without us doing any work," he said.

"I did do work," I protested. "I put the tampons in."

"Not enough. We need to see a professional."

"I can't, I can't see one," I said and burst into more tears.

Then we started fighting. I blamed him for not knowing where the opening was and how to do it right and he blamed me because he said I had vaginismus, which I didn't want to believe. We both sunk to the lowest levels human beings who are supposed to be in a loving relationship could sink to.

We left our bedroom, which we felt was cursed. We were so emotionally raw, so completely unable to handle this. We went to sit on our couch.

"Why don't we try here?" I suggested. He shook his head. "Please," I asked. "Maybe in a different location- you can make sure I'm relaxed first."

So he did relax me and play with me and I was happy and even smiling. And then he would try to enter me and my body would actually push him back. My legs would literally clench together and just not open to him. The memory of the pain I had just felt was not letting me be open even though in my mind I was telling myself to be. So I lay down and pulled back the folds and tried then. Nothing. There was literally no way for him to get inside me; my body wasn't allowing it. I was way too tense.

That's when my husband said we needed to call a sex therapist. So we called a famous one. He heard our whole story and told us to start with a treatment of putting in tampons (lubricating them first), from the smallest size to the largest over however long a period of time I would need. Then either I or my husband should insert one finger and work on moving it in and out. Then two fingers. If we couldn't do two fingers, I would have to actually go see a professional in an office.

It was amazing. I had managed to keep the tears out of my voice while on the phone with the man. But once we hung up, I dissolved into a puddle of sorrow and misery. My husband held me for a long time.

That night scarred us. We can't even fully think back to it or experience it because it was a true horror show, the kind that haunts you. I haven't begun to describe to you the horror of that night.

And my wedding music has been poisoned for me. Now, when I hear it, I think back to my husband on top of me, desperately trying to help me and make me happy and incapable of raping his wife. He told me sometime later the most awful thing he's ever seen is the way my face looked that night. How I was in excruciating pain and struggling not to show it while tears were trickling down my face.

I love my husband. I love him so much. And after that night, I think we can go to hell and back without being severed. Because there is nothing I can imagine that can compare to the horror of that night.


A lot of you must be wondering what the purpose of this blog is. Allow me to explain.

The purpose of this blog is not to scare you, freak you out, make you worried that this will happen to you or that your marriage is doomed. It is not to say that you should get scared about marriage. It is to say that you should get educated. I want people to learn from my experience so that this won't happen to you. Here are some easy things you can do to make sure that happens.

1) Go to a gynecologist and have her show you your anatomy in a mirror, explaining what each part is so that you know exactly where the hymen is and where the little entrance where you can be penetrated is. In addition, explore on your own (all you need is a flashlight and a mirror).

2) Use tampons. Forget what people say where they are worried that you are going to break your hymen. It's not going to happen. Even if it did, you would still be considered a betulah on your Kesuba. The way that it works is that you take the smallest size tampon (Lites or Juniors) and lie down on your bed, spread your legs, bend your knees, pull back the folds of your labia and then glide the tampon inside of you. You can lubricate the tampon with olive oil or KY Jelly (I personally think olive oil works better). Work your way up to larger tampons. In this way you stretch the opening a bit and get comfortable with the idea of having something enter you there.

3) If you want to and are comfortable, practice putting your finger inside as well. You will do this anyway when you have to make bedikot, so you might as well get used to doing it now.

These extremely simple exercises can make you a lot more familiar with your own anatomy and give you the confidence to not worry about penetration.

Also: I have it on the best authority (that of my sex therapist) that penetration being painful is a myth. There is a little bit of pressure, but you are not ripped apart, you are not in incredible pain; you are going to be perfectly fine. All those stories which were told to me were either myths or came about because the woman was not sufficiently lubricated before her husband penetrated her.

So please just make sure that you're educated, you know your anatomy and you feel competent and confident and in control before your chuppah.

Now, if, despite all these preparations, you still find yourself presenting with symptoms of vaginismus, that's the other purpose of this blog- to let you know that you're not alone, there are people out there who are in your position and that it's okay and that you're going to be okay, just like one day I will be okay.


In my community, it's common for newly-married couples to have a heter for birth control for one year. After that, though, everyone starts to have children.

Well, our one year is up. (Our anniversary and how sad that was is a whole other story.) So I notice that when I go to shul, people quietly look to see if I'm pregnant. Or people always say, "Im Yirtza Hashem by you, when you have children." Or I just watch mothers pushing their babies in their carriages.

And I cry because I can't be pregnant, even if I wanted to be because I can't do something as simple as have intercourse with my husband. So all these well-intentioned remarks just make me sad. I know it's not the same, but I feel like I understand a bit of what women struggling with infertility deal with. Imagine a culture and community that is so focused on this one thing, and you're inept or incapable of doing this thing. There's a constant reminder in your face and nothing you can do about it.

I was reminded of the idea of Penina and Channah in Navi. I'm beginning to understand why Penina would lose her children for taunting Channah.

The question in all of this is why is it happening to me? What does Hashem want me to do with this pain? I don't flatter myself that I'm like the Imahos and Hashem really needs my tefilos (prayers) before my husband and I could finally be together. Only sometimes I do. I think maybe this is a nisayon (test) which if we pass, will somehow give us an amazing sechar (reward).

I also think that the only thing I know that I can do is let people know this situation even happens. I don't know how often it happens, but it does, and it should be dealt with.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I stumbled upon a piece of information tonight that made me so happy I started to cry.

It seems that due out in July 2011 there is a book written by Dr. David Ribner and Jennie Rosenfeld entitled Et La'ahov: The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy. 

I don't know how explicit this guide is (though I sure hope it's very) but the very fact that someone thought that this issue should be addressed and people shouldn't be in the situation that I am gives me hope. I hope that everyone who is in shidduchim or about to get married reads this book. I hope it is an amazing book. And you better believe I'm going to read it the second it comes out in July.

I'm so excited I can't breathe.


When you're partners in an unconsummated marriage, there's a lot of anger.

You find yourself saying things you would never say under normal circumstances. You see yourself becoming bitter and horrible to your husband. You tell him this is all his fault and that any normal man would be able to have penetrated you. You compare him to your ex-boyfriend and laugh at him.

The reason you're so mean and vicious is because of how much pain you're dealing with yourself. You hate yourself. You hate yourself so much that you want to take out that hate on anyone you can and of course the only one you can is him because it's not like you can tell anyone about this.

So you spend a lot of time tearing each other down. Then you cry in each other's arms, because how did it get to this? You had such high hopes for this marriage. How can you possibly be in this place? How can you be destroying all those happy thoughts and feelings you had for each other? And yet you do it methodically, trying to burn it to the ground.

We've been yo-yoing back and forth between this for a while now. Some days are good days. A lot of them are angry days. We get furious, we cry, we try to pretend we're normal and this problem doesn't exist, etc in a cycle repeating over and over. Even things we can do, like making out, are hard for us to do because we're so aware of what's missing.

If we weren't such a strong couple, I have no doubt our marriage would be over already. But neither me nor my husband are quitters.

Aside from that, he's crazy in love with me. I have no idea why. Why would a man want to be with a woman who can't even sexually fulfill him? He adores me, though. He kisses my tears away and holds me and tells me we'll get through this. He says he won't leave me. He doesn't look at porn or do anything like that. He tries to comfort me in my inadequacy.

I'm more selfish. I know he feels inadequate and that I've been making him feel inadequate, but since I'm the one with the vaginismus issue (that's what it's called, by the way), I'm the one who feels defective. Like a broken thing that can't really be repaired. And it's making me hate myself.

The only feeling that's stronger than the anger and the fury I feel with everyone from my husband to the entire Orthodox system is my deep wish for this to just be over. 

I almost can't imagine what life will be like when it finally is.


So pretty much the way I realized that I got served was because my husband loves me.

See, we thought we were having sex. We weren't, of course. He'd push into me and thrust back and forth and eventually reach climax. The thing was, it was super painful for me. I tried not to think about it. I figured it would get better with time. It didn't make sense that the whole world was so crazy about this one thing and it wasn't something I wanted at all.

I persuaded my husband to let me pleasure him in different ways. I know that halachically I wasn't really supposed to but I figured that the whole process was so painful for me that Hashem (G-d) would understand. So I had him cum in my hand instead. I tried to avoid having sex.

My husband, of course, realized this was an issue. He googled sexual dysfunction and came up with something called 'dyspareunia.' I didn't want to believe there was anything wrong with me. He literally begged me to go to a gynecologist. We joked a bit about how the issue might be that I was still a virgin. Still, that's not what I really wanted to believe.

So there I was, alone at the gynecologist. I told her about the pain and she made some sort of comment about how it usually takes six months for people to sort of figure out sex if they've never done it before. I tentatively said that maybe the problem was that we hadn't even had sex yet. Her eyes opened wide and she said, "Oh, I'm sure it's not that." Once she checked me out, though, she said, "I'm afraid your hymen is still intact."

I burst into tears. Hot, furious tears. I was humiliated, savagely so. I felt incredibly stupid. She  had me sit up, shined a little light down there and taught me about my anatomy and where the hole was. She said I should try inserting tampons before trying to have sex again. She also said it would have been better for me if my husband had been one of those people who had just barreled on through and kind of pummeled through the skin. I wouldn't have had time to be afraid.

I walked out of that office furious with my husband and everyone who had failed me, including the entire Orthodox system, my kallah teacher, my mom, and most of all, myself. I couldn't believe that I was that stupid person who had to be told by my gyno that we just hadn't broken through the hymen and that's why it had hurt so much. I couldn't believe I was still a virgin. I didn't want to face anyone with this failure imprinted on my face.

But I didn't have much of a choice, because I had work and I had to tell my husband. So I wiped my eyes, put on a brave face and just went on with my life.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Everyone said it would hurt.

All the romance novels always have the hero saying that it will only hurt for a moment and he wishes he could take the pain for her, but he can't. Then he slides in and for a second it's painful, but then there's passion and fireworks. In a way, I guess that's what I was expecting. I had read online that first time sex isn't always so good, so it wasn't like I was going to hold my husband to some sort of standard. But that's what I wanted it to be. Magical.

My cousin said it hurt so much when her husband penetrated her. I had been frightened before, but when she told me that, I got even more worried. Only later did I find out that she hadn't been wet, which is part of why it hurt her so much. In a way, she was raped.

So when my husband got on the bed the second night and tried to penetrate me, I couldn't let him do it. I don't even remember everything clearly. I remember I had been anxious about this from even before the wedding. I didn't really know my anatomy well. I mean, I had looked at a bunch of diagrams and read niddah books but I had never put my finger inside me. Or used a tampon. I grew up using pads and that's just what I stayed with until the wedding.

So I didn't know where the hole he was supposed to be entering was. I couldn't find it, or see it, and in a way I guess I was afraid it wasn't really there. Even though the blood that dripped onto my pads during my periods had to come from somewhere. 

He didn't either really know. The room was dark. He tried to open up my folds and push. This didn't work. I screamed. It hurt a lot. Just like everyone said it would.

But what hurt more was the bright smile I had to put on my face when I attended Sheva Brachos that night. And the night after that. And the night after that. Seven nights in total. Seven nights of fear, worry, pain, shame, guilt and horror.

I also felt like a terrible wife. What kind of incompetent person was I that I didn't even know where the hole was? And I knew that men had needs but I wasn't helping my husband fulfill his. I felt so lonely and ashamed. The happy parties that people were making for us had nothing to do with the reality. We knew something was wrong but we didn't want to admit ourselves that we simply didn't know how to have sex.

Because I mean, come on. It's the 21st century. Who doesn't know how to have sex? The man is erect and he penetrates the woman. What's to know? Even thirteen-year-olds know how to do it and get babies out of it, too. Besides, we felt that if we kept on trying we'd have to stumble upon it at some point. I had been told the hymen was a thin piece of skin which my husband would just break through. Unfortunately, in my mind I had images of skin tearing, ripping, shredding while blood gushed out. It's no wonder I was frightened. But I also wanted to be normal. So I kept on having him push into me, until finally, one time, he hurt me so much that I thought that had to be it. He must have torn the hymen. Nothing else could cause that kind of pain.

I was wrong.


The night of my wedding, my husband and I were totally exhausted. Our wedding had been really lively and had gone till some crazy hour of the morning.

So we postponed intimacy. I was nervous. He could see that. He tried to calm me down by suggesting we take a bath together. We did. I liked being in the warm water with him. It made me feel safer. But I was still scared. He was the one who suggested that, due to the hour and our exhaustion, we should just go to bed. I knew that was okay because my kallah teacher had said not everyone always consummates the first night.

So we did. I fell asleep, curled up in his arms. I felt safe, protected. I felt loved.

It was the only perfectly happy day of our marriage.