Just Talk About it! The New Flowers of Scotland Podcast on Life With Vaginismus

Hooray a new open honest and down-to-earth podcast for women about living with vaginismus, female sexuality and all things vagina related! In this Vaginismus blog series article, Kat and Jenny share with us their wise words and wisdom for women living with vaginismus. Yes, you guessed it, these two women are from Scotland and yet their stories and experiences will resonate on many levels with women across Ireland and the UK. I love their straight-talking attitude when it comes to the importance of advocating for yourself and being a self-advocate.

‘The reason we put this podcast together is because we both had instances where we didn’t feel we were listened to and we have had to advocate for ourselves in terms of our health specifically when it comes to our reproductive health and sexual health.’

Kat and Jenny very kindly connected with me to talk about their new podcast for The Vaginisums Blog Series and offered their words of wisdom and insight!

The Flowers of Scotland Podcast

The Flowers of Scotland Podcast is the latest health and sexuality podcast launched in January by friends Kat Wilson & Jenny Wallace. In episode one, Kat and Jenny tell us how they met and connected through their shared experiences of having a condition called Vaginismus. Together this podcast aims to discuss the trials, tribulations and reality of growing up as a female, having a vagina and living with the condition of vaginismus and other conditions like endometriosis. The importance of being able to talk and laugh about the condition, connection and support from others.

And, why women need to truly believe that living with vaginismus does not define their worth. Episode one titled ‘Vaginismus’ discussed the condition, personal stories, how it is treated, crappy doctor experiences, diagnosis, dating, and psychosexual therapy experiences. Each episode covers different topics such as periods, sh!t doctors, PCOS and sex education. This podcast will resonate with many women interested in listening to authentic conversations about female sexuality and how our experiences shape each of us.

Kat Wilson is also co-founder of The Vaginismus Network, an online community based in the UK with members from around the world and here in Ireland. If you are a woman with vaginismus check out The Vag Network Community for information, meet-ups, podcasts, blog articles and even a buddy system to help you feel supported.

‘The fact you can’t have penetrative sex does not define you as a person! You are a multifaceted human being with interests, desires, preferences and a multitude of things that make you a unique and amazing person.

Flowers of Scotland Podcast available on Spotify

What message would you like to get across to women experiencing vaginismus symptoms or who are feeling alone right now?

First and foremost, you’re not alone! Vaginismus is not always talked about publicly but it is surprisingly common and so many people that have it are living with it privately. We want to get the message out that a vaginismus diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There is treatments available, and different types of treatments, so find the one that suits you best! Oh, and penetrative sex is not the only way to have sex!

FLOWERS OF SCOTLAND PODCAST

Episode 1: Vaginismus

One thing that resonated with me listening to Kat and Jenny about their personal experiences is that while they could both identify with many similar experiences, symptoms and situations, their experience of what worked for both of them was different and individual.

Avoidance is so common, and definitely don’t beat yourself up if you find that you’re going through an avoidance phase. Progress definitely isn’t linear.

For me now, yes I have vaginismus but it’s such a minimal part of my life and my sex life now that it’s just not as charged as it was before’. Together they discuss on the podcast how their thoughts and feelings about sex, vaginismus and themselves significantly changed over the years to the point where having the condition became far less of a concern as they developed an acceptance of the limitations of the condition rather than obsessing about trying to overcome painful penetrative sex.

Women come into therapy focused on one or two specific goals in mind in particular to achieve satisfying penetrative sex for themselves and their partner as well as other important health goals. As they come to terms with the condition and work towards their goal, the goal shifts and broadens to encompass many aspects of being a healthy fulfilled sexual woman and not simply a woman who can have penetrative sex. To find out more about therapy read here.

The Vaginismus Network @thevagnetwork

Tell us, what’s the best advice that worked for you both?

For us, so much of our progress came from re-framing how we viewed sex. As we said above, once you get into the mentality that penetrative sex isn’t the only way to have sex, things become much better. You can start to experiment and play with what sort of things work for you, and you quickly find that there are a million things more fun than putting something inside you!

The fact you can’t have penetrative sex does not define you as a person! You are a multifaceted human being with interests, desires, preferences and a multitude of things that make you a unique and amazing person. You are not a hole to be penetrated, and you definitely shouldn’t treat yourself as such. Your sexual pleasure and comfort is important and should be respected by any prospective partner. This condition is not something you should have to apologise for!

I loved that you mentioned the topic of ‘avoidance’ in the first episode! In my psychosexual practice here in Ireland working with women with vaginismus for the last five years, avoidance and procrastination are both something many women struggle with and as a result, they feel alone and isolated. It often hampers coming to terms with vaginismus and coping better. Do you have any advice for women reading this right now about working through avoidance issues when it comes to vaginismus?

Avoidance is so common, and definitely don’t beat yourself up if you find that you’re going through an avoidance phase. Progress definitely isn’t linear. You will have days where things are easier than others for a variety of reasons, so don’t feel that, because you’re having a bad spell, that it’s not working! For us, speaking to other people with vaginismus was key, it normalises your feelings and behaviour and also you can check in on one another and provide a bit of accountability. Contact the Vaginismus Network to join the community and buddy system.

‘We hear you, we get you, we are here from you on the Flowers of Scotland podcast.’

The fact you can’t have penetrative sex does not define you as a person! You are a multifaceted human being with interests, desires, preferences and a multitude of things that make you a unique and amazing person. You are not a hole to be penetrated, and you definitely shouldn’t treat yourself as such. Your sexual pleasure and comfort is important and should be respected by any prospective partner. This condition is not something you should have to apologise for!

You can listen to the Flowers of Scotland Podcast on Spotify and your favourite podcasting platform right now. Follow them on Instagram at Flowersofscotlandpodcast and flowersofscotlandpodcast@gmail.com Connect with The Vaginismus Network on Instagram @thevagnetwork. If there is a topic you would like me to cover in the vaginismus blog series email at info@orlaghreid.ie

MORE GREAT ARTICLES FROM THE VAGINISMUS BLOG SERIES!

Ask The Expert: The Pelvic Floor Connection with Lorraine Boyce aka The Down Below Physio

Ask the Expert: Sex educator Grace Alice O’Shea on embracing and resolving vaginismus, self-care and mindfulness

Ask the Expert: Dr Maria McEvoy on her research insights, compassionate practices & understanding Vaginismus as a sociocultural phenomenon

Ask the Expert: Starting Specialist Pelvic Physiotherapy for Vaginismus with Vie Physio

9 Health Professionals for a Holistic Integrative Approach to Resolving Vaginismus & Penetration Pain

Working with a Couples Therapist to Resolve Vaginismus and Redefine Intimacy Together

Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a Dilator For Dilator Training

Working with a Couples Therapist to Resolve Vaginismus and Redefine Intimacy Together

Embracing a Holistic and Integrative Path for Resolving Vaginismus

ABOUT ORLAGH REID

Orlagh has been a professional Life and Personal Coach and IACP Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist since 2009. She holds professional qualifications in Clinical Sexology, Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Infertility Counselling, and Sexual Health Promotion Facilitation Training. She is the author of the Vaginismus Blog Series for Irish women and their partners. Book an online therapy session today. Media and Podcast Interviews.

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy

Orlagh Reid

Orlagh Reid is an IACP accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Addiction Counsellor, Gottman Couples Therapist and Fertility Counsellor in private practice based in Co. Kildare, Ireland and worldwide online via DOXY. She specialises in addiction, recovery, well-being and clinical sexology. To find out more or to book an online consultation visit www.orlaghreid.ie

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy MIACP Therapy Ireland

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