Amirah Zaky is a sexual wellness coach specialising helping women prevent and overcome painful sex. She is passionate about muslims educating themselves about sex and their bodies and teaches muslims how to prioritise sexual pleasure in their marriages. This is her story of how she discovered her passion and made it into a business.
It all stems from when I was a teenager, learning about sex growing up and hearing stories from friends about when a woman loses her virginity – from the start there was a negative connotation associated with it – that it is really painful and there is a lot of blood. This was reinforced to me culturally – my dad is Egyptian my mum is from Thailand. In Egypt especially, there is this idea around virginity and proving your virginity. Growing up, I heard about a woman’s honour and needing to prove that she was a virgin by showing blood on the bed sheets after the wedding night. This in itself horrified me and made me feel sick and so from this age the notion of getting married and first time sex terrified me. I knew I wanted to get married and I knew that I wanted to enjoy sex and have kids, but there was this underlying fear of the first time because of everything I’ve heard.
Eventually, I met the person I wanted to marry. We knew each other in sixth form for two years and then at 18 we chose to get married. I say out of choice because I was always taught to value my islamic beliefs. I knew deep down if I did things outside of marriage, it may lead me to do things that I didn’t want to do. Even though I was only 18, I felt mentally quite mature. We got married in Egypt and started university at the same time. We actually chose not to move out and live together for the first year as we were both so young and it would have been tough on us financially. And so we also decided because we weren’t living together, we would not to have sex until we were living together.
At 19, we moved in together and prior to this we both knew that when that happened this would be our ‘wedding night’. I remember being scared about the first time. I did all of the typical things that a new bride would do in terms of getting myself ready but I remember feeling very fearful and thinking ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.’ I didn’t tell my husband how I felt i just remember thinking this is something I’m going to just have to get through.
That night when we moved in together and we tried to have sex for the first time, it just wasn’t possible. It was excruciatingly painful, more than I could have imagined. My husband was patient and calm and weeks and months went by and it was still painful. At this point, I didn’t know this was called vaginismus. All I could think was, why am I struggling with this, why is it easy for everyone else? Why is it so difficult for me?
We would still try and have sex but we would end up doing other things to pleasure each other. But deep down it really affected me and there was a lot of fear within me too. There were so many questions in my mind such as ‘What if I can never have sex? What if I can never have kids? Etc’
Reaching Breaking Point
About a year later, we both reached a breaking point in our marriage. Whilst my husband was really patient, we both wanted to experience this. We had a discussion, and the conversation went along the lines of us both feeling that if we couldn’t overcome this somehow we would need to get a divorce. My husband was saying that he didn’t really know how to help me and from my end I was thinking that I don’t know how to overcome this on my own. Deep down I felt like this wasn’t really a good enough reason to get a divorce. Not being able to have sex didn’t seem like a good enough reason. Somewhere inside me I knew that there must be a way to get through this. Somewhere I was thinking Allah (SWT) created sex for everyone to be able to experience it, so there must be a way for me to overcome this and so I went on to the internet and I started searching for solutions and eventually I landed on the term: vaginimus.
When I started reading about this condition, it was literally a lightbulb moment for me- I felt really relieved knowing that this was known condition and I continued doing research and found out that common treatment for this is using different sized dilators and learning about my pelvic floor muscles and that they are contracting and I need to learn to control and to relax them. So I went about it myself and ordered the dilators I needed and very diligently I practised with the dilators for about four weeks and eventually I was able to have pain free sex with my husband for the very first time. It was a huge awakening for me to be able to do this without feeling any pain. And this in itself made me think, why does everyone say it is so painful (prior to this when we had tried to have sex my husband had not been able to even penetrate me at all). It made me think that perhaps all of these women had not learnt the things that I had learnt so far on this journey. Eventually, as we progressed in our lives, I forgot about my vaginismus and it became a part of my past but no longer something to worry about.
How It Became My Vocation?
I worked as a science teacher for five years and within this time, I gave birth to my two kids. I left my job to be around for my children and I knew that I wanted to run my own business from home. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do but I had dabbled in a few things including coaching (health coaching, mindset coaching). I knew I wanted to help people. This was in 2018, I started growing a bit of a following but I somehow had this feeling that I was keeping a secret about how I had gone through this experience of vaginismus (I believe it was through Allah (SWT) that I was feeling this way – like it was Him guiding me to do something about it). So I plucked up the courage and recorded a YouTube video about what I had gone through (with no intention of making this a business). I put it out there to give women hope – how I had it and overcame it. From that video, I got so many messages saying I have this too, please help me and it was these messages that empowered me to make this into a business. So I said to these women who asked for help, ok I can coach you into overcoming this. I did a certification in coaching and through my work and my passion I saw women overcoming vaginismus, I honestly felt like Subhanallah.
As time went on, I was still getting a lot of interest, but much of it was from Asian countries where due to the currency exchange rate a lot of these women couldn’t afford to do coaching (this requires a lot of time and has a high expense). So I really wanted to create a resource which does not have a lot of extra work for me and wouldn’t take as much time as coaching. So I decided to create something to fit their needs. One day, I thought I’m going to take everything I know and I’m going to package it into a course where you can go through the steps yourself and be self-accountable. And so I did and now I have over 200 women signed up to my course who are taking action to help themselves.
That’s how it came about – from being a teenage girl and hearing all of these stories to going through my own experience and then transforming the experience into one that helps so many women going through the same thing.
Do You Want to Know More?
Check out Amirah’s website: https://www.amirahzaky.com,
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/amirahzaky
Instagram page: @amirahzaky