TL;DR have been there: explore yourself, see an OBGYN and don’t be scared to get second opinions. I assumed I had vaginismus, but I actually had an abormally tight hymen.
When I was in high school, I also assumed I had vaginismus but that’s not quite what was going on. I remember watching the Tyra Banks talk show about it and a doctor recommending starting with a q-tip and working you way up. I added looking at what was going on with a mirror. I eventually realized my there was a web of skin off to the side that made the opening to my vagina restricted. If I tried to use tampons, it got stuck on the extra skin.
I was a junior or senior in high school at the time, and living with a single father... so I had to bring up the courage to ask him to bring me to the OBGYN. I get that it’s hard to take the step to go. Even when I first went to the doctor, she didn’t see the skin piece I was talking about. I had to get q-tip and show her myself.
She wound up brushing it off and telling me when I was ready to have sex it would stretch out and move out of the way.
That never happened. I couldn’t use tampons, and I could barely get a finger in. It hurt a lot and I was mortified to ever have to explain it to a man. Eventually in college, I got a second opinion. I had the extra piece of hymen removed in a very minor surgery. Even after, my hymen was still very tight. I had to start using my finger to manually stretch it out. But I could use super tampons! Little victories.
Still no luck with sex, though. I assumed I was broken. I was never going to have sex. And then I started seeing someone who was patient and we kept trying, I definitely had to relax and stop telling myself it wasnt going to happen. Honestly, a little alcohol helped take the edge off. We used a lot of Vaseline and lube. Eventually it worked, but it damn it still hurt.
Five years later, I have an amazing partner and sex doesn’t hurt at all. But it took time for my abnormally tight hymen to break and loosen. I bled several times the first handful of times I had sex. I honestly regret not having my hymen surgically broken when I had the initial surgery, which was an option.
Over the years, I had open conversations with obgyns about my progress. It’s tough, but it can get so much better. Don’t give up.