Step 3: Use Vaginal Dilators

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The third step toward treating vaginismus/vulvodynia is to use vaginal dilators. There are many different types of dilators. Their purpose is to slowly accustom your vagina to having larger and larger objects inserted. They are typically vaguely in the shape of a penis. You start with the smallest one, then move on to bigger and bigger ones until you are able to insert the largest one, which is slightly larger than the average penis. If you can get to the point where you can insert the largest dilator, you are usually good to go for sex, as long as you use lubricant. Keep in mind that dilators take a lot of patience - it can take time for you to move up even one level.

How to make dilators less expensive

Let's be honest here. For a lot of people, spending $50 or more on vaginal dilators is not an option. Here are some ways you can soften the blow:

  • Use your fingers. You can technically use your fingers (or your partner's) as dilators - first with one finger, then with two, etc. However, this can sometimes be difficult because some women fear that the fingers will twitch and cause more pain. This doesn't often happen, but it is a possibility.
  • Visit's dilator collection. I try to keep it updated with the latest and greatest dilator sets.

How to make dilators less frustrating

Dilators take PATIENCE. If you aren't willing to put months into the process, then you will give up quickly and not see success. Here are a few ways to ease the frustration of waiting:

  • Know you are not alone. It is not a quick process - it can take a long time, over a month sometimes, to move up even one level in your dilators. This is not uncommon, and doesn't mean it isn't working. You just have to stick to it.
  • Celebrate every success. Did you finally move up a level? Did you feel a little less pain than last time? Every success is worth celebrating in this process.
  • Keep the goal in mind. If you see yourself as moving toward a healthy sex life, you will be happier in the process - even if it is a slow process.

After you have spent some time using vaginal dilators, you may be fully treated. But some women need more - if after a few months you aren't seeing the improvement you need, consider using a numbing agent.