Aunt Vadge: My vagina is so tight I can’t fit a penis into it

Hi there Aunt Vadge,

I’ve been having lots of issues with sex for the past three years. Penetrative sex doesn’t work – it has never, and I’ve stopped believing that it ever will. It’s as if I’m so tiny that nothing can enter, and it’s not as if my boyfriend is particularly large.
We’ve been trying for so long and it’s resulted in a lot of frustration and even labia minora tears that weren’t painful, but have left a tear nonetheless – changing the landscape of my vagina entirely. 

Over the past three years we’ve both been researching and researching – and I am aware that it may be vaginismus – but I can take up to two fingers, and I don’t even know if sex hurts because it has never been achieved.
I’m worried that I’ll never be able to have sex, or achieve this intimacy with the person that I’m seeing. It may be dramatic but I’m constantly thinking about how this is going to affect my life.

I keep hoping it will just disappear, but I know I’ll have to see a medical professional at some point. I would just love to have another informed opinion before I do so.

Sincerely,
Afraid
Age: 20
Country/Area: South Africa

Dear Afraid,

I can see how that would be very distressing for you, and sorry to hear you are having such a hard time getting laid! It’s always a bit bewildering when our bodies don’t do what we think they are supposed to, especially a part of us that we can’t see.

You are right about needing to get professional help. Not only do you need to be fully examined to make sure you don’t have any underlying anatomical abnormalities, but then to be referred to a specialist to help you figure out what the best course of action will be. Knowing why this is happening to you is the only way you can work on strategies to overcome it.

The important thing to remember is that not everyone gets to have sex the same way. If you do have a really tiny vagina, maybe that is your cross to bear in your lifetime, but even still, this should not stop a penis entering your vagina – the vagina stretches. Many couples work their way around all manner of sexual and anatomical differences, so understanding that human bodies are imperfect in many ways is going to be important for you adjusting to how your body is – for now. Learning about your body and vagina is a process for all women, and you still have many years to go in getting to know yours.

You could have a teeny tiny mini vagina, you could have an anatomical difference, you could not be turned on enough before you start, you could have tight pelvic muscles, you could have anxiety… the list of possibilities goes on.

You need to know the facts before you start jumping to conclusions about your vagina, so you need to go and start the process by getting examined thoroughly by a good doctor you trust, including being referred to a sex therapist or gynaecologist to be sure. Regular doctors are not vagina experts, so find a doctor who knows about this stuff to avoid time wasting with a regular GP. If possible, find a female doctor and don’t let them fob you off saying it’s all in your head if they can’t find anything.

You will figure out a way to have sex, no doubt about it. You will learn and learn and learn and you will cry and stamp your feet sometimes at the unfairness of it all, and then you’ll keep learning and keep trying, as you are doing. You will get there, so don’t worry that you won’t be able to ever have sex. You will.

In the meantime, there are a thousand and one ways to enjoy being sexual with another person, and it can feel like the booby prize ‘just’ doing oral and whatever else all the time, but sometimes that’s just how it works. Frankly, you could do worse. Good sex is whatever type of sex works for you guys – penetrative sex is not the be-all and end-all, though obviously you do want to be able to do that at some point.

The vagina is incredibly stretchy, so even if you have an anatomically short or unusual vagina, the walls can be moved. That’s the beauty of the vagina.

If you do have vaginismus – which is simply a name for what you are experiencing, like a cough, not a helpful diagnosis because it can have many causes – then at least you have a starting point with options for treatment.

You will get there, so the sooner you get started with your experts and scans and pelvic exams, the sooner you’ll be doin’ it all day and night.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.