By Rashim Nabanja
Of late, the traditional and religious value of waiting until marriage to have sex is becoming more and more rare as time goes by. Although the percentage of people that keep their virginity until they get married keeps reducing, there are still some that have stuck to the righteous act for either religious or personal reasons.
Being a virgin on your wedding night can build some sense nervousness since you don’t know what will really happen. This bride had no idea that something like this could happen, she shares her story with The Mirror.
Kendra Blair was only 19years of age when she decided to get married to the man of her dreams. Little did she know that her wedding night would be the day she discovered something rare about her body.
Having grown up in a strict Christian family, Kendra Blair knew she wanted to wait until she was married to lose her virginity.
Just like any other bride, Kendra was excited to have her first experience with her husband. However, when the special moment came, she couldn’t do it.
“We tried to have sex when we went to bed the day after our wedding, but it just wasn’t happening. I thought I was just nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect but that wasn’t it,” shares Kendra.
She further explains that however much she tried to, her vagina couldn’t open to allow any kind of penetration, “It felt like there was a bone there that my husband couldn’t get through.”
The two spent the next few months always trying out but with no luck. At this point, Kendra finally worked up the courage to speak to her mum about it.
Her mother however thought she had a thick hymen – the skin surrounding or partially covering the vaginal opening – and just needed to really relax but this wasn’t the case.
Kendra says she and her husband endured months of frustration and she knew there was something else wrong, but everyone just kept telling her to relax.
Eventually, she decided to confide in her then husband’s stepmother, who took her to see a gynecologist.
The doctor’s suggested the same advise as people prior which annoyed her, “My automatic reaction was to hyperventilate, close my legs, squirm to get away and push the doctor away saying, ‘Don’t touch me.”
She was then advised to make another appointment for another examination but she didn’t.
It took Kendra five years to collect the courage to see another doctor but by this time, it had already started to affect her marriage.
“It did affect our relationship badly and we ended up splitting up after 12 years,” she said.
Besides Kendra’s condition, she mentions that there were other factors that triggered their divorce however; her condition was the major one.
“My ex started getting bitter and resentful towards me because of it. Unsurprisingly, he was very frustrated and questioned whether I was holding out on purpose,” she explains.
Kendra however adds that she had stopped wanting to work on it and maybe this is why her ex gave up. She had stopped wanting to try to have sex because it was causing agonizing burning pain which was not fun.
It was the second doctor that finally got to tell Kendra what was wrong with her.
“I was diagnosed with a condition called ‘vaginismus’, a painful spasmodic contraction of the vagina in response to physical contact or pressure, especially during sexual intercourse.
Kendra was advised to use dilators to stretch and retrain the vaginal muscles.
She felt some relief when she was diagonised. She proved she wasn’t just going crazy, “I felt calm when I was told I wasn’t the only one that had such a condition.”
Kendra was however scared of using the dilators, because she couldn’t even insert a tampon.
She however shares that despite his occasional frustration, her then husband was pretty supportive. He stood by her more than a lot of men would, considering that we didn’t have sex for 12 years.
“He was getting impatient, though, and had started putting a timeline on having kids. I understood his frustration, but it felt like extra pressure,” says Kendra.
Although she tried the dilators, Kendra says she couldn’t get any of them in not even the smallest that was the size of a tampon because she felt too much pain.
At this point, she felt like nothing was going to work, she had started sinking into depression because of the fear of never having a normal sex life.
“There are even days i thought about dying, I would even tell my husband to go and have sex or kids with someone else,” she disclosed.
After her marriage ended, Kendra met someone new, ‘Sean’ and this time round, since she knew her condition, she decided to tell him about it with in the first three dates they had.
“I seem to remember chatting to Sean online and sending him a text about it before we even met. His reply was, ‘I’m not in it for the sex, I want a relationship with you. We can deal with this down the road.’ Kendra shares.
The couple, who now live together and will be celebrating their first anniversary in May, have now had penetrative sex twice, according to Kendra.
She says Sean’s sensitivity and acceptance plus support from a Facebook group having over 2000 other women that struggle with the condition has helped her alot.
“My confidence has been boosted a little bit,” she said. “I don’t feel as broken as I once did.”
Kendra also says she now is less guilty of feeling like she was stopping Sean from doing something he wants to do.
Kendra swears that the physical therapy recommended by people in her Facebook group has helped her to become mostly cured.
“It involves performing pelvic floor exercises to stretch out the vaginal muscles, as well as practicing insertion with dilators,” she adds.
Kendra also says she practiced Pelvic floor stretches from time to time and again tried dilators from the smallest to the largest with no any pain.
According to Kendra, this condition really messes with you mentally. Normal conversations you hear day to day, about someone being pregnant, or people talking about having sex, make women with vaginismus feel really sad.
What is vaginismus
According to a medical news blog ‘Medical News Today’, Vaginismus is a painful spasmodic contraction of the vagina in response to physical contact or pressure, especially during sexual intercourse. It can make it painful, difficult, or impossible to have sexual intercourse, to undergo a gynecological exam, and to insert a tampon.
The condition has multiple underlying causes including fear that sex will hurt, which may be because of an underlying issue of trumatic sexual experiences like rape, causing the body to close out any objects out of the vagina, even if the person affected is willing.
Other factors include endometriosis, a condition where the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside instead overing the viginal opening.
Treatment may include behavior therapy, counselling, emotional exercises, graduated exposure therapy and gradual vaginal dilatation.
According to a search on Wikipedia, about 0.5% of women are affected by this condition but outcomes are generally good with treatment.