I grew up with some religious influences, attending church from late childhood into my late teens, and attending a Christian high school, where sex was spoken of as a sin, and something shameful.
I believe this, in addition to the messaging we get from society about the female body, contributed to my experience with vaginismus. I tried to use tampons in my teens, and had a lot of trouble with it. I was told I must just be doing it wrong, and felt that I must be a failure in some way for not figuring it out, for it hurting me.
I never had any intimate experiences with boyfriends during high school or university, despite wishing I could, and though I tried not to let it affect me, I did end up feeling very undesirable. I also struggled with my body image a lot, and couldn’t imagine ever being sexually intimate with someone due to how “wrong” I believed my body was, and how shameful my sexuality was.
Eventually, I moved to another country in my early 20’s, and I got involved in a whirlwind romance in 2016. It was very passionate and very short, ending abruptly and dramatically when we tried to have sex for the first time. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I couldn’t believe the absolute agony I felt when he tried to penetrate me. He immediately told me that this meant we couldn’t be together, and that was that. Relationship over. I was in total shock, and completely heartbroken. Thus began a string of toxic relationships with more men who didn’t understand what was going on with me and saw it as my “problem” to sort out, some of whom also sexually assaulted me. It even got to the point where, seemingly out of no where, I would start to have panic attacks during sex. My body became completely overwhelmed.
I forced myself to bare the pain of sex, because I was trying to somehow “fix” what had happened, and through that become lovable and desirable. I blamed myself for everything. I thought I deserved it for being somehow inherently “wrong.” I felt like a failure of a woman, and that I would never be able to be loved because of “my problem.” I also felt betrayed by my own body, while not realising I was betraying her by ignoring what she was telling me. A few friends gave me some unproductive (though well-meaning) advice, and my gynaecologist told me “this is not normal, you need to find a sex therapist.” I got more scared and wanted to just forget about the whole thing, retreat.
I bought some dilators in early 2020 and tried to use them, without understanding how, and quickly became crestfallen when the panic attacks happened even during my own dilating, and I felt like I was making no progress. I gave up.
In mid-2020 I moved to another new country, and felt that I had a chance at a fresh start with so much in my life. I developed a crush on someone, and then quickly felt desperately dismayed when, one night, I envisioned the same things happening all over again. I had been following Katrin on Instagram for a while with curiosity, and it was in this moment that I realised I needed to reach out to her for guidance and support. I was so sick and tired and heartbroken over feeling so alone and so broken. I realised I needed help, and that maybe I didn’t have to go through this alone.
In the consultation call with Katrin, it was clear straight away that this was the right path for me. She not only immediately understood my situation, but also had empathy and compassion, all while not making any judgements or assumptions. She described the process, and how it is not only a physical journey, but also (and perhaps more importantly) an emotional journey of self-discovery and love. I was impressed with the holistic and gentle approach and knew she was the right person to work with.
Over the course of our sessions, it was amazing how understood and seen I felt. I thought I was devoid of sexuality, and broken - I learnt that I am not only a sexual being, but that I am also proud of that, and began to learn much more about who I am as a sexual being, particularly from an emotional side. It might sound simple, but this was a true revelation for me! We did some deep subconscious work around seeing myself as unlovable and broken, which unlocked the door for me into learning to really value and love myself just as I am.
Katrin also provided a wealth of knowledge about the physical body and its processes, how vaginismus actually works, and how it relates to the rest of the body, as well as extremely detailed guidance on how to dilate. When I began dilating, it came out of a place of genuine curiosity and desire. I was absolutely over the moon when I realised that I even enjoyed using a dilator! I never EVER thought this could be possible. It was intriguing and empowering to begin exploring my sexuality now from a physical place as well.
Katrin was there every step of the way, celebrating with me and helping me feel ready to empower myself but also providing a judgement-free space of safety and guidance. She also provided some extremely deep wisdom when I needed it, multiple times. This was exactly the support I needed.
I noticed that I began to walk differently down the street, holding myself up, taking bigger and slower strides, unafraid to take my time and space. I looked around me and noticed that I had made a circle of friends around me who were genuine friends, and that we were forming deep and meaningful bonds. When I hung out with them, I wasn’t afraid to just relax, and laugh loudly, speak my mind, and even dance freely without a care. This in turn brought us even closer together, deepening the bonds further.
I have also learnt to start hearing and listening to my inner voice. I am not finished with my dilating journey, and have had some low moments thinking about it, my old demons telling me I’ll never get further than the last dilator I moved up to. But due to the unlocking of that door into self-love which Katrin guided me through, I now hear an inner voice, wise and powerful, and I know that that’s not true. That I will continue to progress, and that it has to be on my own time in the way that works best for me. There’s no point in pushing and forcing myself, I have to have trust and patience. And I feel at peace with that.
The holistic journey Katrin takes you on is essential. You cannot address vaginismus from only a physical place, because we are such complex beings, and everything feeds into everything. With this amazing woman, you are empowered with the tools to take charge of your sexuality from a place of total love, and to be proud of yourself. She really appreciates you for who you are and where you’re at, and you are safe to go through the process with the support you need.
I truly wish every person experiencing vaginismus can begin their healing journey with this same level of care, love, and factual knowledge.
I cannot recommend Katrin enough to anyone else looking for guidance and care when dealing with vaginismus.