Much of the rhetoric around vaginismus is about penetrative sex. But if you have had it, then the next milestone/thing to fear/avoid/power through might be the smear test. Or indeed you may be facing other internal, vaginal examinations that may accompany medical investigation, treatment, conception, pregnancy or birth.
For some sufferers, medical examinations are not a massive issue. Their muscles may be more relaxed in a clinical setting rather than opposite a penis, strap on, or whatever else may be happening to a vagina in the name of pleasure. For others, it is something that hurts, may be impossible due to very tight clenching and can also be very traumatic.
What’s more, wherever any vagina owner, not having their three-yearly smear tests, visits the doctor, they will likely have to explain over and over again, at every medical appointment - even just for a sore throat - where they are with their smears.
Some choose to ignore the smear test, particularly if they are deemed low risk from getting cervical cancer. But having peace of mind and checking that you aren’t one of those unlucky few to have abnormal cells, can lead the fear of the smear to become a dreaded rumble in one’s subconscious that rises whenever we encounter it in the media.
If you are wanting to have a smear test, there is a lot you can do to support yourself and minimise any pain or trauma. Therapists, like our house therapist Sarah Berry, have helped many people work out how to manage and/or overcome fears and bodily reactions to smear tests. Sarah has also penned The Vaginismus Network’s Guide to Smear Tests for both for vaginismus sufferers and also for professionals who smear them.
If you would like to share your vaginismus smear stories, do drop us email. Good luck everyone!