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Overcoming vaginismus inspired me to become a sexual health educator

Grace Alice O’Shea was successfully treated for vaginismus — a fear of vaginal penetration — in her 20s. She talks about the myths and impediments that prevent women from overcoming this very treatable condition

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Grace Alice O’Shea who is a sex and relationship educator, in Barna Woods, Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Grace Alice O’Shea who is a sex and relationship educator, in Barna Woods, Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Grace Alice O’Shea travelled to America in order to address her vaginismus

Grace Alice O’Shea travelled to America in order to address her vaginismus

Grace Alice O'Shea is glad vaginismus is now behind her

Grace Alice O'Shea is glad vaginismus is now behind her

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Grace Alice O’Shea who is a sex and relationship educator, in Barna Woods, Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

‘I’ll never forget the first time I tried to use tampons. It really hurt and felt like hitting a brick wall,” says Grace Alice O’Shea, a 29-year-old Galway-based relationships and sexual health educator.

She first experienced that “brick wall” when she was around 14. “That’s the thing with vaginismus — there’s no give, so you get upset and distressed, which compounds the problem and makes you more tense,” she says. “Then you try to put in another one and the next thing you know you’ve gone through six tampons and they’ve all gone into the bin.”


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