dealing with pain and dysfunction


I’ve just removed a few things from the site that I should not have written about publicly.  If you have questions about anything that is missing please do not hesitate to email me at

I’d like to address the issue of how to talk to people about pelvic pain.  I (obviously) don’t feel that my condition is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by, but others disagree.

Doctors disagree.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to “just ignore” the pain and maybe it will go away.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told the pain “isn’t a big deal.”

Friends disagree.  Strangers from the internet have been far more supportive than people I have known for years.  I’ve gotten another hefty dose of “no big deal” from plenty of friends, despite protestations that yes, it is a big deal to me.

And many other people disagree as well.  Pelvic pain doesn’t need to be some deep, dark secret that we have to “come out” about.  Is it a little bit embarrassing to know that anyone on the internet can read alllll about my vag?  Well, yeah, sure it is.  Despite it all, I do have some semblance of a sense of privacy.  But I’m okay with this being out in the open, because the benefits of raising awareness and helping people far outweigh any possible negative consequences.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Someone I know could read this and think I’m a frigid bitch, I guess.  I’ve been called worse.  Fuck ’em.  Maybe someone I know could read this and pity me, or treat me differently, or think that there’s something wrong with me.  That’s their problem.  I am not embarrassing myself by openly discussing pelvic pain and female reproductive health.  If someone feels embarrassed because of that, well, that’s their problem too, and I just feel bad for them.  My problem has nothing to do with wanting pity or feeling ashamed, it has to do with how much my vagina fucking hurts.  That is what my problem is.  That problem is part of my body.  That problem does not belong to any of my sexual partners, it does not belong to my doctors, it does not belong to my friends.  And I do not appreciate anyone telling me otherwise, implicitly or explicitly.

Mostly, talking about pelvic pain just makes people uncomfortable.  Well guess what?  I get pretty damn uncomfortable when close friends have to have the “what’s your favorite position, teehee!” talk all the time.  Nobody likes my answer:  fetal position!  *rimshot, takes a bow*.  Unfortunately for me and most of the people reading this, my sexual experience is just as “normal” as everyone else’s.  This blog and the links listed at the left are a testament to that.  The emails I get every week from women who want to thank me for describing this problem in a way they understand are a testament to that, as well.  I’m not going to be silenced because it makes some people feel yucky or sad.  Because you know, I’m feeling pretty fucking yucky and sad about it myself, and it’s just as valid for me to talk about sex=pain as it is for friends to talk about sex=superfun/sex=love/sex=revenge/sex=playful, whatever.

I’d also like to discuss why I chose to use my real name and an easily traceable email address.  The internet is a great resource for everyone suffering from pelvic pain.  If not for vaginapagina, I still wouldn’t know what vulvodynia is.  If not for the National Vulvodynia Association, I wouldn’t know where to find help.  But as helpful as those can be, it’s a hundred thousand semi-anonymous voices.  I still haven’t met anyone who has personally dealt with pelvic pain.  Every time I get an email from someone who is upset or scared and doesn’t know what to do, I just want to swoop in with a mug of tea and some hot soup and give her a shoulder to cry on.  But I can’t.  So the best I can do is present myself as I am, so that anyone who finds this site will feel that they have at least one person who understands.  So for that reason, I am Lindsey, a third-year undergraduate at Cornell University.  I grew up in Michigan but I am now living in New York City, though I will be back in Ithaca soon.  I have one fish, I love cupcakes and indie rock and dance music, The Cure is my favorite band, and sometimes when I’m feeling down I paint my nails purple.  I have vulvodynia and vaginismus, and I have been dealing with these conditions for over six years.  I know what it’s like to feel less than everyone else, I know what it’s like to feel broken, and I know what it’s like to need someone who gets it.  I get it.

I’m not going to stop talking about this.  And I can guarantee that I’m about to get a little more hostile toward anyone who tries to shut me up.


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  1. * Esther says:

    Hear hear! Kudos to you for writing this. It is very powerful.

    What stings most for me is when people in my everyday life don’t want to listen to me about it — and that includes my parents. It’s never a direct affront; it’s always a blank stare, a lack of response, or a change of subject. I need support in order to get through this, and the best support is the people around you. I’m trying to get the people around me to understand that I need their ears, but it’s hard.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Hartley says:

    As someone who knows you and loves you in real life, I have to say that you should ALWAYS feel comfortable talking about this sort of thing with me. You’ve put up with me going on and on (and on and on…) about my various sexcapades — embarrassing or not (but more on the embarrassing side). You’ve listened to me at my most crazy and most ridiculous, and you’ve put up with it like the angel you are.
    So why haven’t we talked about this stuff? I LOVE YOU AND WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER TO YOU and you should never, ever, EVER assume that this makes me uncomfortable or that I’ll think you’re weird, or “not normal” or anything. Seriously. Because no one’s normal, and it kills me to think that we have spent so much time over this last semester NOT talking about this (and instead we talked about jon being a creeper? or whether or not neel liked me? wtf?)
    So don’t be ashamed or embarrassed or whatever. Please! and remember, I’m your friend and I love you very, very much. Even if I judge you when you wear sweatpants to class. <3

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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