When I was 25 years old, I came across the word "vaginismus" in a book about sexual health. It was the first time I realized that what was wrong with me, what I had struggled with for years, had a name. Vaginismus.
This was after years of seeing therapists and gynecologists, searching for an answer. I spent a lot of time and money and didn't get very far until the day I found this word and read the symptoms. I remember being in a bookstore coffee shop and my heart dropping as I read. This is me, this sounds like me.
I've never been able to use tampons or have sex. I have my vagina to thank for that - vaginismus is a condition that causes the muscles around the vagina to contract involuntarily, forming a kind of impenetrable wall. Before finding out about this condition, I thought I was alone. But now I know that there are a lot of women who are experiencing the same thing - many are like me, who know what it's called and are furiously working toward overcoming it. But many more were like me pre-25, living in the dark, afraid and hopeless.