Today's appointment at the Center for Female Sexuality was TERRIFIC.
It was awesome. It was amazing. It was inspiring. It was fabulous.
I went to the office in Manhattan. It is a little office on the seventh floor of a nice official-looking building. It is nice and innocuous; not imposing or scary at all.
First, they explained to me how payment works. The deal is they have a certain amount of money that they submit to the insurance as what they think their procedure is worth. So let's say the Center says vaginal dilation is worth $500. The insurance evaluates and tells them how much they think the procedure is worth. Let's say the insurance thinks vaginal dilation is only worth $100. You only have to pay whatever amount is left over after the insurance pays their portion of what they think the procedure was worth- you're only paying what is left over out of that $100. So just hope your insurance estimates a low cost for procedures and you're home clear.
After I filled out some paperwork and surveys, I went inside into a nice room with a round table and three chairs and a window and a bunch of very interesting books about sex to meet Barbara Gross. Barbara is a sexual counselor and she asked me to explain my sexual history and background to her. It was like a therapy session where I just explained and gave background and she asked some more details in order to clarify some things I had said. Barbara is really understanding, compassionate, kind and supportive. I had a great time with her. She even complimented me on stuff and she made me feel totally normal about everything. She says we'll work together on my vaginismus.
After I had finished the psych evaluation regarding my sexual life and history, I went with Kathleen, who is either a nurse or a physician's assistant, and she did a basic physical on me. She took my blood pressure, did a breast exam, had me breathe in and out and listened and then she checked if I had vulvar vestibulytis by taking a Q-tip and swabbing me very gently around my vulva to see if it hurt, which it didn't. Then she worked on dilating me. We started with the smallest dilator- she took it out of a box (it was brand new) and cleaned it and put gel on it and then told me exactly what she was going to do before she did it. I didn't tense up AT ALL. We were able to put THREE of the dilators (sizes Small, Small Plus, and Medium) into me and I only tensed up a teeny-tiny bit the last time, nothing like what it was like with my husband or the two fingers.
I took home four dilators- sizes Small, Small Plus, Medium and Medium Plus. She wants my husband to practice inserting the Small one into me and out of me so that he can understand the angles and not be worried about hurting me because he'll see for himself it doesn't hurt me. The Small Plus I'm supposed to insert into myself and move around and up and down. The Medium I am supposed to dilate with- just let it sit inside me for 10 minutes while it opens me. If I can work my way up to the Medium Plus, that's good, but if not, that's also okay. She'll just work with me the next time I see her.
There are only seven sizes of dilators so I'm already halfway there! They use a dildo for the last size and it looks like a man's penis. I think that's smart because it allows you not to feel frightened because if THAT can fit inside you, then your husband definitely can!
Kathleen mentioned that a lot of times women buy the dilators on their own and they can't get them in, only to come to the Center and with their help, suddenly they can. Sometimes having that person there as a support and an extra push can really help. I asked her how she got involved with the Center and she said she and some of the other women at the Center had worked for Planned Parenthood and then had also moved here. She's really dedicated to this job- she commutes 2 hours to get there!
What was really nice about Barbara was I told her how I felt about how all the Hasidic and Charedi couples can figure sex out and have kids in a year or so and she said that's actually not true. A ton of these couples come to see these people in the Center because they need help. What's nice about Barbara is she can be as open or not open as you need her to be. If you are into using vibrators and experimenting, she'll help you with that. And if you just want dilators for intercourse and no frills, she'll do that for you. She won't try to put her point of view on you, and that's really nice.
Basically I'm super psyched and excited to do my homework working with the dilators this week (which I bought- they cost $15 each) and I'm looking forward to the day that me and my amazing husband are going to have gloriously amazing sex.
Another thing- using the dilators means at some point I'm going to break my hymen myself, most likely (just because of the insertion and penetration of the things). Once that's out of the way, any remaining fear I have will likely disappear.
I feel really blessed that my vaginismus case isn't as severe as some other people's. I feel like there's a light at the end of this tunnel and I recommend that anyone who isn't seeing progress goes to see the people at this Center because they are great and this visit was nothing like that other one I had been on which just traumatized me even more.
I like nice people.