Chloe certainly hadn't. Because countless young adult novels and impatient dudes have told them so, many women think sex is supposed to hurt at first. Chloe was no different -- or so she thought. Even after multiple experiences were thoroughly un-awesome, she chalked it up to her sexual inexperience. Maybe this was simply what sex was like for women -- could 40,000 hack standup comedians be wrong? "It wasn't until after a couple of partners that I realized it was a problem," Chloe says. "So I did the thing you're not supposed to do and I went on WebMD, and all the symptoms [for vaginismus] matched up."
Of course, it being WebMD, she also self-diagnosed malaria, mad cow disease, and feline leukemia.
Then she did the thing you are supposed to do and went to her local sexual health clinic, where she was properly diagnosed. Don't mess with your babymakers on the advice of WebMD, kids. He's probably not even a real doctor.
The weird thing about vaginismus is that it's often entirely psychological. It's basically a reflex, like what happens when you poke yourself in the eye. "It's disappointing because I really do like sex!" Chloe says. It's like your mind is at war with your body, but more accurately and more confusingly, like your mind is at war with your mind. "Even [some forms of] masturbating is difficult because that's still a form of penetration," she says, "So my shower head gets a lot of use."
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images
"Do you have those pulsing shower heads? I need it for ..."
"I've owned a hardware store for 30 years. I know damn well what it's for."