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Pain-Free Intimacy with Jess Seitz, Occupational Therapist - My Intimacy Therapist Podcast Episode 94

Jess Seitz, Pain-Free Intimacy

The following is a show transcript from the My Intimacy Therapist Podcast - Episode 94. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Work with Jess Seitz:

Instagram: @painfree.intimacy

0:00 - Introduction


Welcome. Welcome. Today's episode is specifically for women who are working through vaginismus Vaginismus being a catch-all term for the pain you feel when you are trying to have penetrative sex with your boo. There are multiple types of vaginismus, too. I think that's the word that people are most familiar with, but you'll hear some of those other terms thrown in there in this episode too.

But today's guest is one of the people that would be on the team of providers, health providers, that help a woman or a couple that's experiencing vaginismus. She works with the physical attributes, and she'll explain some of that here as well. I, as you know, am a sex therapist and I work more with the individual and the couple on their relational dynamic, on the psychological barriers, and different intimacy exercises meant to open you up to intimate connection again.

All of us work together, so this conversation was really fun of getting to cross reference with someone who comes at the same core issue, but from a different angle. So. Without further ado, let us dive in.

1:57 - Meet Jess Seitz


So, would you mind introducing yourself to the people?


Yes. Hello. So my name is Jess Seitz. I am an occupational therapist, but also a vaginismus recovery coach. I have been an occupational therapist for going on 10 years this year, which is wild. Um, and so I haven't always been in the pelvic health space though. I, my background is more of a neuroscience. I used to be a nurse informed occupational therapist, working with chronic conditions, but now I work exclusively with, um, women who are facing vaginismus and I love it.

It's not where I thought I'd be, but I'm really grateful to be in this space. Um, so yeah, it's a little bit about myself. I'm in Florida. I'm married to the most incredible man ever. We've been married for almost 13 years and we have a sweet, sweet golden retriever. Who's a therapy dog at the hospital and just brings me so much joy as well.


Okay, well first, congratulations on 13 years and also I did not know that you had a therapy dog. That is very cool. Did you adopt them or her as a therapy dog or did you train her?


Yeah, we trained him. So we got him as a puppy and, um, he's really chill and laid back. So I'm worked in the hospital as an occupational therapist, always loved the therapy dogs. And so. Yeah. Started training him up and his personality naturally blended itself. He does actually really well around kids. So he's in the children's hospital with the pediatric units. And we go in once a week and it's like Christmas morning, every morning to wake up and get to take him to the hospital.


I love it so much. So sweet. Yeah. So for anyone who's tuning in and listening right now, they likely already know about vaginismus, which is probably why they clicked on the episode. Um, and I have plenty of other podcast episodes that go deeper into what that is. But one of the things I talk about is that when you are looking for vaginismus recovery, you really want to have a team around you that's supporting you.

So with me as a sex therapist on the team, I often ask my clients to get that medical side brought in as well, but pelvic floor therapy versus occupational therapists, that might be something that people don't know the difference between. Could you explain that?


Oh, I love this question. Yes. So pelvic floor therapists can either be physical therapists or occupational therapists.

4:19 - What is Occupational Therapy?

I do feel like majority of the world usually refers to them as physical therapists, which is something as OTs we're trying to kind of advocate, you know, to be included in that conversation. But, occupational therapists are similar in the physical therapists that we do rehabilitation. But our framework for how we focus on rehabilitation is largely through occupation.

So occupation is anything you do throughout your day, whether that's eating, drinking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, having sex, driving, golfing - whatever it is you do during your day, we're going to help you get to that, maximize your potential to that, and access that with the least amount of barriers possible.

So sex is one of our basic occupations that we do, and so, it's something that I personally specialize in and I focus on kind of the holistic approach. And that's what we as OTs often do is we look at the whole body and what's limiting the body from being able to access the occupation. Well, so as an occupational therapist, I'm going to take a look at the occupation of sex, break down, what are the barriers to why we can't enjoy sex? That occupation. Well, what's hindering us from being able to enjoy sex, and to not have pain with that.

And so vaginismus OTs really fit well because we do the multi-modal approach where we do mind, body, sensory systems, nervous systems, muscles, joints, ligaments, all of those things we are trained in and skilled in to be able to kind of break down an occupation and see what's keeping us from being successful in this. So that's a little bit of a difference.

Physical therapists tend to focus really, they're really knowledgeable on joints and muscles. OTs are too, but PTs tend to do tend to focus more on the biomechanical model, the musculoskeletal model. So they really get into the nitty gritty of, kind of the physics of the body, which is really, really skilled and awesome. OT tends to look, why do we need that physics? What are we trying to do with that physics and how can we do that well?


So probably the next question someone might have would be, how do I know if I should go for an OT or a physical therapist?


Really good question. And both will serve you well, especially with pelvic floor therapy.

It depends on what your ultimate goal is. I do find with vaginismus specifically that I work with the goal sex. And so this is why a lot, and this is a part of my story. I personally have vaginismus. I went to pelvic floor therapy for four years. I started, It's all physical therapist and I did all my exercises.

I did all the dilators. I did everything I was supposed to do and I couldn't transition to sex without pain. And so I think physical therapy is really good at getting you to do your exercises. They're really good at getting strength going. But an OT is probably going to help you make sure that we make that transition to your occupation and what your personal goal is better.

So, it depends on what your ultimate goal is. If it's to get stronger, to have, um, you know, more strength and flexibility and stuff, PTs are really great at that. If your goal is to have better functioning within a certain activity, OT might be what you want to look for. But again, both are going to be super skilled and very, probably pretty helpful in this area.


Very cool. And I think that once we get into the field of sexual health, because we're all so specialized on that, I think we kind of pull from each other's areas to accomplish the same goal. But let's say there's someone who says, "Okay, that sounds great." When you're seeing someone for sexual health, what type of vaginismus are they coming in for?

7:46 - Different Types of Vaginismus

So I talk to my clients a lot that there's vaginismus is the catch all term for what's going on here, but there are multiple types, and I have a quiz on my website too to help people narrow down what's going on for them. A lot of my clients, I would say maybe 70%, it is more of a hypertonic pelvic floor that they're working with in addition to other relational factors. But then you've got folks with a slipped disc or like any other thing that is contributing to their pain. So for you specifically, what's most of the people's presenting issue?


That's hard, because I think there is a huge range. What I tend to specialize in is a lot of the clients who have failed traditional public floor treatments. And so we might not have a great answer as to why they're having pain.

So I do believe a lot of us women, women, especially have hypertonic pelvic floor.

It's just the way we hold ourselves. We suck in our guts all day long. We spend a lot of time sitting. So I think it's a society. We tend to have hypertonic pelvic floors. Um, some are worse than others. And so I do think, you know, I do address that with a lot of my clients. We're going to work on the hypertonic pelvic floor.

But for a lot of women, there's. You know, we're not so straightforward, I find, and that's why I love kind of figuring out more of like, what do we have under the surface? Yes, there's pain. Where is this pain coming from? A lot of times I find the pain isn't necessarily due to a hypertonic pelvic floor. It's due to our brain deciding that it's going to give us pain, and we link it to something like a hypertonic pelvic floor. But there's many women out there who have hypertonic pelvic floors who don't have pain with sex.

And so what is the difference between them? What's the difference between them and my clients with vaginismus versus, you know, I have a hypertonic pelvic floor still to this day. I don't have pain with sex anymore. I still use my pelvic wand, um, which are just little like ones that go in and you kind of massage the muscles. Just like I would go get a massage from a masseuse for my shoulders. If I have tension, I hold tension in my pelvic floor, but it doesn't give me vaginismus anymore.

So why did I have vaginismus then? What about my pain led to me getting this visceral involuntary nervous system response that resulted in this worsening heightened pain response. So I like to kind of, yes, there probably are these reasons for the pain, but what really is leading us to getting this involuntary freak out response that we're getting?


I can definitely appreciate that because for a lot of ladies, they do have more of a complex situation where it's, "I don't know why I still have pain." And that can be frustrating maybe in the traditional medical model where it feels like either you get a specific answer or we're just going to, well, mislabel you or we don't know and we can't help you.

And so then they were tapped out after going to two or three or four or ten specialists who just couldn't help and they feel very, very hopeless. So it's helpful to know that you, it sounds like you specialize in the complex, "e're not quite sure" types of cases.


Yes, I do. Um, that was me. So that's kind of where my passion is.

Um, so I fell into this category of we don't know what to do with you and, and through my discovering of like, what do people mean by this? Using my OT backgrounds, kind of taking that holistic, like where are the holes in my recovery was able to kind of see, okay, I'm more complicated than just, you know, X and Y equals Z. There's a little bit of more nuance there to this.

And that's now where I find so much joy in getting to help women figure out like, okay, yes, we see this and we experience in this, but what does that space in between say? I do specialize more in that. I would say kind of the chronic pain window, that mind body connection piece that's there, that's a lot of where my background kind of comes to play.

And then we put that in the category of pelvic floor therapy. So it's kind of a bit nuanced and, and niched at this point.


Very solid. And too, it's like helpful to see that it doesn't have to be a really clear, neat answer, um, no answer, like "just relax more," or "maybe you should have more sex and then you'll feel better about it," or "maybe you should drink wine and then you'll feel better about it." All of those super quick and easy solutions that are not helping at all. There's a bigger picture to it. So If you wouldn't mind, could you share your specific journey with healing in this area?

12:30 - Jess's Personal Story with Vaginismus


Yeah, of course. My journey starts sooner than when I got married, but that's when a lot of this came to kind of my more immediate attention. So, my husband and I both valued saving ourselves from marriage in terms of having sex. And so we found out on our wedding night, that sex was not exactly how we anticipated it going. I kind of was like, "Oh, this is going to be full of stars and fireworks and fun!" And it was not, it was just like pain and explosions and just not how I anticipated this going.

And so throughout our honeymoon, it just persisted. Weren't really able to accomplish pain-free penetrative sex. It was, you know, I say with vaginismus, it's oftentimes painful and impossible. We were able to occasionally be able to successfully, theoretically make it happen, but most of the time it was just not possible.

I actually remember calling my gynecologist from our honeymoon. We did the honeymoon in Southern Turkey - which, Turkey is amazing. I highly recommend a honeymoon to anyone on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Um, but I put Skype credits on my phone to call my gynecologist and was like, "um, excuse me, can you tell me how this is supposed to work?

Cause this is not working." And she was like, "oh, you know, you're probably just anxious and stressed. You need to relax, drink some wine, make sure you're using more lube." And I was like, okay, I'm pretty sure this is more than that, and yeah, it wasn't okay. It just, it continued to persist and become a problem.

I could have probably guessed I was going to have problems because tampons were always pretty painful for me. And I had been seeing gynecologists since the age of 13 for just very long and painful periods. And those were always super miserable. I was, I remember being held down on the table to get that speculum and the Q tip thing inside me. And that probably, you know, helped. I kind of just thought once I got married, the penis was going to fix everything and just make everything okay. But that wasn't the case.

So unfortunately it took me four years of continued pain and frustration before I finally had a doctor who listened to me. And a lot of doctors would just tell me kind of the same thing.

I think a lot of our clients hear it: "Drink wine, use more lube, it's fine. Everyone has some pain. You just got to push through it." All this not-so-great advice. But finally, after four years, I had a doctor mumble the word vaginismus. He didn't know much about it, but he knew that I should go to pelvic floor therapy.

So I skirted on over to pelvic floor therapy where I spent the next four years. Going through dilators and breathing and exercises over and over again. I got through all of the dilators twice. I was not able to transition from dilator to my husband. My pelvic floor therapist would just say like, "Hey, there's nothing else we can do for you. It must be all in your head." So then I would go see a sex therapist or go see a counselor. I'd go see a specialist and I saw so many people, and everyone dabbled a little bit in this, but no one really had a great solution. There were just a lot of holes and I just didn't really find a lot of providers who knew anything about vaginismus. I actually found that most of the time I had to educate my, like, the specialist about what vaginismus was.

So, after eight years of this, as you can imagine, I was not in a good place. I was pretty frustrated. I was pretty angry. I was depressed. I was angry at myself. I felt like I shouldn't have gotten married. I felt like I was broken. I just, you know, a lot of questions. Our marriage wasn't doing well. I was Like kind of snapping and like out being like aggressive towards my husband in a way, almost as like a self preservation technique.

I mean, my husband is amazing. He is the kindest, most generous, gentle hearted man on this earth. And he did nothing but encourage and support me in this, but I just felt like he didn't deserve me. So I just pushed him away. And so at that time, thankfully, I had finally finished my studies and got my, um, certification as an occupational therapist and was working with patients with chronic pain and chronic conditions using the biopsychosocial model, a nervous system based approach. And like any good therapist, I didn't really listen to my own advice. And so I thought, you know what? Maybe, maybe vaginismus isn't all in my head, and maybe it's not all in my vagina. Maybe it's kind of in this space between.

16:51 - Jess's Story Transforms

So I kind of took a step back, looked at my, what I had done and realized there's a lot of holes here.

There's a lot of things that just didn't support me and our marriage well. There's a lot of things that just didn't look at kind of the bigger picture as well as some of the smaller details well. So I created my own treatment plan, gave myself my own goals and treatment strategies and everything. I would for one of my clients.

And after implementing that and trying that for about three to four months was finally able to transition to pain-free sex, which was shocking to both me and my husband.

And so still to this day, it's been about five years now, and I don't have pain. I enjoy this. I don't use dilators anymore. And I'm really happy.

I actually have a sex drive and initiate this because there is certainly a period where I was like, I could go the rest of my life without sex and be totally happy. I know a lot of my clients have said the same. I wouldn't recommend saying that to your spouse personally, but, um, yeah, now I can, I look back and I'm like, "Oh, Jess." Like my heart just breaks for that old Jess.

And like, yes, it's so good. It's so good to finally be past this and enjoying intimacy the way I really do believe it was designed to be. So. That's a lot of, you know, eight years of kind of a lot in a short little span, but yes, there's, it was a journey for sure.


Yeah. I know that there's a lot in your story that people can relate to for sure, whether it be trying different providers or trying different interventions that have worked for other people that don't work for them.

18:15 - Not all Vaginismus is due to Trauma

And I know a big one is people going on Google or whatever online forums, and reading other people's journeys and then comparing themselves, like, "why am I not on that same timeline?" That part's really hard. And I think gets in your head and can make the problem worse in a lot of ways.


Yes. One of the things when you Google vaginismus, that was really hard for me to come to terms with was, um, a lot of times it is linked to sexual abuse or sexual trauma. There's a huge link between the two of those. But I would say 90 percent of the clients I work with do not have a history of sexual abuse or sexual trauma.

And so when me Googling this and I, you know, every counselor and therapist I had seen had said that I had to have had a past of sexual abuse. And so we spent a lot of effort trying to dig through my past to find the time where I was abused. And it just left me feeling so defeated to know that I had a condition that only women who were abused had this condition.

So I felt I was so broken that something traumatic must've happened in my past. You have led me to this place when I didn't really, I was unfortunate to not have that past. And so one of the big things I'll just say is yes, definitely, f you have a history of sexual abuse or sexual trauma, vaginismus certainly can be a part of that story.

But there are a large majority of women who don't have that, that history or don't have experience with that who also have vaginismus. But the internet doesn't showcase that well. So if that's you, you are not so broken beyond the point of repair. You are not, you know, uh, an anomaly amongst women. So I do like to just point out like, yes, Google says one thing.

But for me, 90 percent of my clients do not have a history of that. So just to kind of shed some light on what the internet likes to say.


Definitely. Thank you for that, too. I would agree. Even in starting out training to become a sex therapist, I think that that was, well, rephrase: for me, learning about some of the sexual trauma-related types of vaginismus was part of what motivated me to get into this field, from the trauma lens. But you're absolutely right there. Arriving to the field, doing sex therapy work in the beginning and realizing, "Oh, a lot of these people have no history of trauma at all." So then it opened up a whole very specific world, almost like picturing chronicle scenario, like going through the wardrobe of providers in sexual health who are specifically focused on this, who are looking into the research, who are using client data to help inform new treatment conditions...

20:59 - Choosing the Right Vaginismus Specialist

You said earlier you'd seen sex therapists, you'd seen pelvic therapists and weren't able to get the help that you needed. And I think it's important for people to take away that just because a practitioner has the licensing credentials does not mean that they have the specialist training in an area. Even if they are an OBGYN. And you might think, "well, duh, they deal with vaginas, so they should be able to help me with my vagina." That is not necessarily the case.


You're so right. You're so right. And I wish that was the case. Um, I also wish every provider who was in this space did have some knowledge on trauma informed care and how to provide that. But unfortunately, just because they are working in a very intimate and vulnerable area does not mean that they have that. Lens of that perspective on offering that, um, slow, compassionate, understanding care. That's so needed in this space. So yes, I know not just because there's a certification or a license or something doesn't mean that we're, you're going to get that specific nuanced, um, compassionate care that, that you're so worthy of and so deserve.


Yes, which is why I always try to help people think of the questions they need to ask in order to know if they're the person they're considering can help them in this area. I work with my couples a lot on that before they even go to the medical side. Let's find our questions that you want to ask them so that you feel prepared because you get to that appointment and your mind goes blank on everything you wanted to say. And depending on the practitioner's disposition, you might be feeling a little of that power dynamic. So you feel hesitant to say something, or even if you have anxiety about medical situations because of past events that can make you feel a little bit out of out of balance as well. So. Yeah, I'm glad podcasts are a thing now because I think it helps people to take more ownership over their experience without having to come up with everything on the spot in front of a provider.


Oh, for sure. We do have a lot of amazing ways to access great information to advocate for ourselves these days, but I feel like it just wasn't there in the past. Um, I wish I would have had access to all of the great resources there are now, um, for women's health and women's sexual health for sure that I, but you know, we're growing, we're learning.


We are. And you know, I think that once you do find some of those people that, you're resonating with, it opens up a lot more doors because then there's a chain effect, right? Because I can send someone to you and then you can send someone to someone else. And so we just kind of find some of us and then we'll take care of it from there.

But it is hard getting into that bubble to begin with. I mean, from what you're describing in your story, you didn't even necessarily find the safe haven bubble you Started your own and then from there able to connect people.


Yes. Yeah. And that was, I mean, I wish I would have had, like I said, access to a lot of this stuff back then.

And that, that was my heart in my, you know, I created this space was to tell women, we can do better. You deserve better. We can handle. Things like vaginismus with a lot more specific, nuanced, compassionate care. Um, and you know, I think you are also doing this where we're trying to change the game in men and we're trying to, you know, get women access to the care that they deserve in a well, a healthy way and that promotes healing and promotes safety within this.


Yeah, and I think right now, if we were to talk about the broadest and most available messaging on sex, it really is on the more polarized side. So either you're getting very much, I think something that clients would feel uncomfortable with it, where it's almost so sex positive that they feel like, "whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, what if I don't want that?

Or what if that's uncomfortable for me, or what if. Me and my partner don't choose to engage in some of that, then what do we do?" Or it's on the exact opposite side where they're getting the messages of "don't talk about it, you should already know how to do it."

Even going so far as like the Just Pray kind of messages where it's like, "but what if you have done that and that still isn't producing what you felt like you were going to get on the other side of marriage."

So, it's great to be able to have the in between space, and at least in my office I really try to provide. Just a non judgmental space where we consider what is going to help you guys as a couple to achieve your goals. You know, and sometimes people, most times people have not had anyone to talk about this with. So sitting with me or sitting with you is the very first time someone's been able to hear their story outside of their significant other.


Yeah, and it's it is hard to find those spaces in such a vulnerable topic in such a, like you said, a polarizing world. Um, and so creating that that. You know, I'm gonna say safety net, but just this environment that puts the couple and their relationship first puts the woman and her body and where she wants and desires of her body first, instead of saying like no you need to do this and you're expected to do this and you know you shouldn't think about that like that's what we're trying to fight against.

And so we want to create these spaces that are so, um, I'm trying to think of the word like enabling of that, I guess, that just foster and develop that confidence without fear of having to go too far and not going enough and just suppressing or, you know, Exploding, I guess.


Yeah. Yeah. Either side of the spectrum is hurtful and harmful and can probably contribute to that pain just being manifested somatically.


That's why we have vaginismus probably.


Yeah. All of the above. So you created something quite amazing. And, um, for those of you listening, I heard about your work through a client of mine who had found you. So it's cool how all of this comes together, but would you mind sharing what you created?

27:32 - The Pain-Free Intimacy Online Coaching Program


Yeah. So I have a 12 phase program. I call it the "Mind, Body, Sex Reset," and we take a comprehensive approach towards not just getting a penis inside you without pain, but transforming your intimate relationship with yourself and your partner. So we do that holistic approach.

And so we're going to do the mind part where we're going to work through some of those shames, fears, frustrations, questions, like, those kinds of things that are sitting under the surface. We're going to ask questions and we're going to dig into that. We're also going to do body where we're going to work on that pelvic floor. We're going to do some of that neuromuscular re-education with those pelvic floor muscles. We're also going to use the nervous system, which kind of ties everything together to make sure we're not going into that involuntary freak out mode that happens to so many of us when something comes out of the vaginal opening. Then I do incorporate spirit into this. A lot of my clients are Christians, and so we do work through and heal from some of the purity culture beliefs that have sprung up in our lives that we may not be always so aware of. We're going to work through and heal from a lot of that too.

And so we do have a bit of like the spiritual side. We kind of like reset all that we're going to have in different approach and different frameworks. So I do take you through dilators, a very specific approach on how I do dilators. Because I, personally, before healing, went through dilators so many times, I've learned a lot of things that don't work. And my whole goal is to get you beyond dilators, which for those of you who aren't aware of dilators are just like cylindrical tubes made out of either plastic or silicone that are gradually increasing to the size of usually a penis, but they can, you know, whatever your goal is, is what you usually work towards.

But my goal is to get you away from a dilator. I always say, I want you to be able to throw dilators in the trash can at the end of working with me so that we don't bring them into the bedroom. We leave them, we ditch them, and then we heal from vaginismus. Um, and so I, yeah, that's my whole approach is I'll take you through a very, very short Specific way to get you through these. So we throw them in the trash can.

But the whole program is designed to reset our whole mind, body, soul, spirit relationships with our spouses and nervous system to get us beyond vaginismus to enjoying pain free drama-free PIV.

We love holistic around here too, so the mind, body, soul of being integrated is super important to my work. I'm really glad it's important to yours. And I think something that stood out about your program - at least stood out to me - is you have that group component and you have a group for the husbands as well?


We do. It is very community-oriented in that we have two group calls a week where you get to meet other women who are in the exact same shoes as you, you get that support, that encouragement. We have optional, if you're interested, smaller prayer groups of two to four women for more accountability and prayer. We have like group chats and we have monthly challenges to kind of keep things fun.

And then my husband does lead a husband support group for the husbands of our clients in the group. And so this is just a way for the guys to kind of connect, be able to have a safe place to express frustrations or fears or share concerns to get that support and that encouragement. And then within my program, we do have a, like a partners one-on-one mini-course that my husband created that kind of outlines like some of the things that we do.

The ways that you can either, that we can support him, but also how he can support his partner as well. Because so many of our husbands are like, yeah, "just tell me what to do to help." And you know, us women are like, "what the heck? I have no idea what to tell you." So this is like practical things that he can do to come beside his partner in her healing journey.


Yeah. Yes. Then that's pretty unique because yeah, I think the guys get left out of the conversation a lot of the time, even though I would say most of the men who are with the women who hold vaginismus in their bodies, most of the guys are really cool guys. They are supportive. They're kind. They do love their wives. Do they say things every now and then that might be counterproductive? Of course, don't we all?


They do have frustrations and yeah, they have no one to express this to a lot of times these frustrations. So the wife, who's probably the worst person to hear it, gets to hear it. So there is the element of getting to support them through this.

But most of them, like you said, are amazing, incredible men who want nothing more than to be there for their, their partner. So we see them and we want to help them in their journey as well and helping their wife.


Yeah. And I really think that broader spectrum of all of us and what we're doing is we, we do take care of different types of folks and different types of couples and we each reach them in different ways. Like I was talking with you, I primarily prefer to work in-person because I really like that sensory element of being in the same space. And because I do the sex therapy side, I'm also working with couples who maybe are not doing great or maybe have had relational trauma, or maybe the partner is not so supportive, or they've got communication stuff on top of this.

And then from your side, I really liked how you described the occupational component and really getting to focus on that. So, for those who want the support of the prayer and the spiritual groups and getting to talk with other women, we're just all taking care of different parts of the body, so to speak.


For sure. Yeah. It takes a village.


Yeah. Hmm. So if there's anything that you would want someone listening to walk away with and to know about what you offer, or even just speaking into their story, what would you say?


Painful sex is not okay. That is my primary thing.

It's so often us women, we push through the pain because we want to serve. We're kind hearted. We want to be there for, no, it's not okay. You deserve and you are worthy of pain free amazingly pleasurable sex. And it is so possible to get there. And so, so. So many women just suffer thinking that this is what it is. And no, it's not. So painful sex is not okay. We can do better to get you past this and to make this something so desirable and so enjoyable.


So yes, that's, that's my main thing is I want to speak into every woman out there and say, don't push through it. We can, we can heal. Yes. Thank you for saying that too, because a lot of the origin story, a lot of the ladies I've talked to have, especially those who chose to wait for marriage for sex, was being told by someone in their community and other woman "expect pain. That's gonna happen. That's gonna be part of it." So they're walking in thinking that's the, the groundwork they're working with is pain. No, no, no. Pushing through.

Well, thank you so much for being willing to share and all of your expertise. Where can people find you?


Yeah. So you can find me at I have a whole bunch of free resources on there that you can look on my resources page. I also have a private Facebook group. Um, it's like tips and tricks

for vaginismus recovery. It's a long name, but there are all kinds of great free trainings and things in there.

My heart is to get good access to quality research based information for vaginismus. So that Facebook group is chock full of stuff. Then I have an Instagram @painfree.intimacy. And if you're interested in working with me, you can schedule a free consultation call. 30 to 45 minutes. We go deep and open up and talk. And it's such a great space to just meet someone else who's been through vaginismus. So you're always welcome to schedule a free consult call with me if you'd like as well

But thank you so much, so much for making space for this, because this is a topic that needs, it needs airtime. It needs to be talked about. So thank you. Thank you for doing this and for, for creating space for such a vulnerable, delicate topic. I really appreciate that.


Definitely. And bonus question, just because I thought about it as you were sharing. If there is a lady who has not gotten married yet and, or is not sexually active, but suspects she might have this situation, can she also work with you?


Yes. Yes. I do work with all kinds of women. I work with dating, engaged, married, not married everyone. So yeah, we, we have capacity for all, and I won't tolerate vaginismus for anyone.

Sade: Yes, thank you. Because that is another thing where I feel like women who are not sexually active or unpartnered currently feel like they're left out of this entire healing conversation and they just have to wait until someone shows up to get access to care.

Jess: True, so true. Oh gosh, we could have a whole other conversation about that. Right, exactly. We'll have to continue it.


Yes. Thank you.


about the host of the My Intimacy Therapist Podcast:

My Intimacy Therapist Podcast host, Sade Jovanne

sade is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the metro Atlanta area specializing in couples and sex therapy. she also provides supportive dating coaching for singles in the United States and internationally.


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