Respect Your Bodies NO, Finding Lasting Relief from Vulvodynia and Chronic Pelvic Pain

By Lorraine Faehndrich

Do you respect your own NO?

And forget respecting, how many of us are actually even AWARE of our own NO?  Not only when it comes to sex and intimacy, but in all aspects of our lives?

I promise you, not many!

That’s why we end up in pain.

We continue to push past our body’s signals that something isn’t good for us to the point that we no longer even know we’re getting any signals.

Until we end up in pain.

It seems to be an unconscious reflex for many women, especially those of us who have struggled with pelvic pain, to override and ignore our own limits, needs, and desires.

I am going to share a secret with you.

It’s a big secret, one that can change your life if you’re willing to accept it.  It has changed mine, and I’ve seen it change many many women’s lives – magically.

Are you ready?

OK here it is……

Your mind is ALMOST NEVER a reliable indicator of whether or not something is good for you, but your body ALWAYS IS.

In fact, your soul communicates with you through YOUR BODY.

You can always rely on your body to tell you the truth about what IS and IS NOT on your soul’s path, what is or is not good for YOU.

And, just in case you were wondering, putting a lot of pressure on yourself, being perfectionistic, taking care of everyone else before you take care of yourself, staying in relationships that aren’t feeding you, or jobs that make you feel like you’re dying……those things, they are NOT on your soul’s path.    

And your body has been trying to let you know that, probably for a VERY VERY long time.

Every time you do something that you don’t want to do, or that isn’t on your soul’s path, or that disregards your needs – for safety (physical or emotional), rest, kindness, fun, love or connection….. your body sends you a signal in the form of a physiological response. 

Your muscles tense slightly.  You hold your breath a little.  There’s a slight heaviness in your chest or tightness in your belly.  Your stress response is triggered.  Neurotransmitters and hormone balance are affected.  And it’s a good bet that if you’re experiencing pelvic pain, your pelvic floor muscles….the muscles in your vulva and around your vagina…. tense ever so slightly every time your body is saying NO.

EVERY TIME.  No Exceptions.  (Remember, Your Body NEVER Lies.)

No biggie, right?

Well, not if this only happened once a week, or once a day even.

But for most women, this ignoring of ourselves and our needs on a deep level, this has become a constant, chronic state of being.

It’s happening ALL the time.

And it’s gotten to the point that it’s impacting our health.

We are living our lives spending the majority of our time every day doing or thinking things that are NOT on our soul’s path – not to mention ignoring our needs on just about every level.

This is a state of being that our bodies CAN NOT and WILL NOT let us sustain for an extended period of time (like oh say – years!) without creating pain – or some other illness that stops us in our tracks.

So, if you want to relieve pelvic pain, the ONLY option is to start tuning in and paying attention to when YOUR body is saying NO.

In BIG ways and small ways – all the time.

And then follow it’s guidance!

Which I grant you isn’t always easy, but necessary if you want to relieve that pain.

If you’re overwhelmed by that idea, I’m not surprised and you’re not alone.

It seems overwhelming to start tuning into your body when you’ve been habitually ignoring it for so long (except of course when your frustrated with it for being in pain).

We’ve practiced keeping our attention out of our bodies and off of the uncomfortable sensations there, with things like food, shopping, tv, internet, and never-ending “To Do” lists for a long time.

And there’s good reason for that.  Once we start becoming aware of what our body is saying, it can require us to face some painful truths and some often long overdue tough choices.

What I can tell you is that as scary as that seems, it is the most amazing thing you can do for yourself!

Partnering with your body and following it’s guidance will transform your life.

It may not be easy, but it’s probably a lot easier than you think it will be, and it will not only lead to pain relief….

It will lead to FREEDOM and JOY.

It’s TOTALLY worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I’ve never used that many exclamation points in a blog post before.)

So, all this is why one of the first things I teach women, and write about frequently,  is how to bring your attention into your body and become aware of the sensations that are there.

Because even if your mind may have a million and one justifications for why you have to do what you’re doing, to the point that you think you WANT to keep having sex even when it doesn’t feel great (or sometimes even when it hurts) or spend all day every day caring for your family without taking any nourishing time for yourself, or stay in that job that is suffocating your soul, the sensations in your body will tell you otherwise.

If you want to relieve vulvodynia or chronic pelvic pain, the way to do it is to let yourself be aware of and respond to those NO’s.

One NO at a time.

Until eventually, you become an expert in what it feels like when your body says YES!

And you know deep down, in the deepest part of your being, that following those YES’s is your only choice.  Those YES’s are gold, You wouldn’t think of doing anything else.

That’s when your pain will go away.  And it will have served a very important purpose.  It will have reconnected you with YOU.

And really, what’s the point of living this life if we’re not being who we ARE.

Stop resisting your pain.  Start respecting your bodies NO’s and treasuring it’s YES’s and see where it takes you.

I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.


With Love, Magic, and Possibility,






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    We’ll said. YES! I will practice.

    • Lorraine

      Thanks mom 🙂
      Love, Lorraine

  2. Danielle

    I’ve recently started listening to my body about my pelvic pain, and it’s true that I haven’t experienced as much pain, but the problem I’m running into is that my body seems to say no to everything, my body and I are having a difficult time finding any yes’ to follow. Any suggestions?

    • Lorraine

      Hi Danielle. Thank you for your comment! Without knowing more specifics of your situation, it’s difficult to know what will help you. So, if you’d like to share an example I can give you more feedback. That said, it is not uncommon for our bodies to have a lot of NOs to share when we’ve been ignoring them for so long, and also for our body to need ALOT of rest and nurturing before it is ready to say YES to anything else. So, at the beginning, the only thing your body may say yes to is rest. That’s not uncommon – and can be frustrating when our minds have a very different idea of how much rest our bodies “should” need and what we “should” be able to DO. Once you’ve met your bodies current needs it will likely say YES to more things. Is that helpful? If not, feel free to share more details and I’m happy to make more suggestions. Thank you for the question. Warmly, Lorraine

  3. Melissa

    I just got an email linked to this post and it couldn’t have been more timely, as I’m really struggling with this concept currently (and have restarted your program a couple of weeks ago.) I know you know a little bit about my history having done your program, but I had mostly pain free days over the last several months when dating a man I’ve know for a few years who felt safe. We actually ended up splitting up due to me moving and feeling like there was something missing and that we weren’t very compatible, and feeling a sort of ’emptiness’ and unhappiness despite feeling safe and not in pain. I began dating someone else who is one of the most kind people I’ve ever met and makes me feel truly loved and cared for more than I’ve ever experienced from a man. The problem is, the pain returned with a vengeance, I’m experiencing more pain than I ever have before, and it’s relentless. I can barely even think of him without pain let alone do anything with him. I also noticed a great deal of anxiety come up with him with I attributed to my own issues with commitment and someone being kind to me, and also feeling hatred for him for ‘causing me pain’ even though I know he hates that I’m hurting and is trying so hard help me. Regardless, my body is screaming resoundingly NO when I try to be close to him beyond a distant friend. It’s caused me great sadness and suffering because he is so sweet to me and compassionate that I cannot understand why my body would say no to him, when it was saying yes to someone who, while felt safe, was aloof emotionally and didn’t make me feel like a priority to him. I’m having such a hard time with this because my body has always been ‘right’ in the past saying no and having pain in clearly abusive relationships, but this one has me completely stumped. I’m worried I feel some deep down hatred for him or something which doesn’t make sense because I care for him so deeply and I know he does for me too. I feel a bit betrayed by my body, feeling like it’s trying to keep me away from something that actually should feel safe and loving.

    • Lorraine

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for sharing what’s up for you. Here’s my thoughts….that NO from your body doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is telling you to run from him, it simply means that there is something up that needs your time and attention. That “something” could be old emotions that are being triggered, perhaps around really getting close to someone. It could be unconscious beliefs about what you deserve in a relationship, it could be worry, self- criticism, or perfectionism/control, etc etc. It may be unresolved feelings around the relationship you recently left, or old trauma surfacing because you finally do feel safe. My recommendation is not to jump to conclusions about what your body is saying, but to give yourself the time and space to be PRESENT with yourself and investigate. Since you’ve done the program, pull out the Daily Connection Ritual and use it to help you get clear about how all the different parts of you are responding. So for example, from what you’ve written it sounds like your mind is worrying, catastrophizing, trying to figure it out. Explore that more and then observe your body and emotions. Allow the emotions that are coming up for you and then access your guidance. What’s coming to me is that there may be some kind of message around…”slow down and show up in this relationship in a different way.” But of course I could be wrong and the guidance you need will come from inside of you. Mostly, nothing “wrong” is happening. This is simply an opportunity to tune in, connect to yourself, and actually ask your body for guidance rather than jumping to conclusions in your mind. Make sense? Hope that helps! Love, Lorraine xoxox

      • Melissa Ellsworth

        Hi Lorraine,

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful response – it put my mind at ease and helped me realize that there could be a lot of things going on here. I think the challenge I’ve been facing is to not necessarily buy into all the things my thoughts are saying about him and the blame I’ve been putting on him – my thoughts and the class with Lead Your Mind has definitely always been my biggest challenge.

        I did get some useful information recently when my very good friend from back home came to visit me this past weekend; I noticed I didn’t have any pain when he was visiting, even though my romantic partner was still around. My pain immediately returned when my friend went back home. Basically it gave me some more clues that I might be reacting to other things beyond just my partner (e.g. loss of my friends since I moved away, feeling unstable in that way, not having familiarity around) – I see that is all things my mind is trying to figure out too though so I should probably go back and review the weeks with sensing emotions in the body; I still have trouble with that without my mind interfering with it’s own explanations.

        • Lorraine

          You’re welcome Melissa! Yes. That’s very interesting to notice 🙂 Your mind will continue to try and distract but that’s ok. Keep going back to the tools – in particular Lead Your Mind… You’ve had some really terrific realizations already! xoxo, Lorraine


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