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.