‘Vanderpump Rules’ Star Ariana Madix on Getting Candid About Intimacy Issues on TV (Exclusive)

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Ariana Madix is breathing easier now that she’s shared her past on TV.

On a recent episode of Vanderpump Rules, the star opened up about a past relationship, which left her with some self-esteem and intimacy issues. The 32-year-old got candid with co-star Lala Kent, revealing that she has no interest in intercourse because of the mental abuse she suffered. The topic came up after Ariana’s longtime boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, confessed to his pals that he and Ariana had not been intimate in months.

“I don't want anyone touching my vagina, like, pretty much ever,” she admitted to Lala. “I'm uncomfortable with my vagina … I was in a really mentally and emotionally abusive relationship, where I was told that my vagina was disgusting.”

“Sharing that story, for me, it's something that I've definitely spoken with my close girlfriends about, and I've spoken to Tom about it, too, but you know, up until this season [of Vanderpump Rules], I felt like I haven't really had that safe, close girl friendship on this show,” Ariana tells ET. “So, I feel that there's a lot to me that people don't know, because I haven't been able to have those conversations.”

“It was something that, as soon I started talking about it more openly, I felt better,” she adds. “It's one of those things where, the hardest things to talk about, as soon as you do, you feel better about whatever it was.”

Tom tells ET he’s “so proud” of Ariana for sharing her story on national TV, which has opened the door for viewers to share their own experiences.

“It was amazing and also kind of scary to hear how many other people have similar stories,” Ariana admits. “I mean, that really broke my heart at some points. There were a couple stories that people either tweeted at me, or sent me in direct message, that were just absolutely heartbreaking, way worse than anything I've ever gone through. I felt so awful for them. It felt good to know that they weren't alone, and it feels good to know that I'm not alone when I hear that from them. It's been largely positive and I'm just glad that people are feeling like they have that moment that they can speak about their past and things they've been through.”

Ariana calls the moment “serendipitous,” as she didn’t know sharing her story with Lala months ago would coincide with the larger #MeToo and Time's Up movements.

Today, Tom and Ariana say they are doing well as a couple -- but still have no plans to get married. In fact, Ariana asks that you stop asking that question.

“It's one of those things where, when you're with somebody that you've never quite had these sort of feelings for, you really don't -- it's the first time I've ever been with somebody that I would consider marrying,” Tom explains. “We don't really need it. We don't need something like that. It wouldn't change our relationship. I don't think a $60,000 party would change our relationship.”

The couple is planning a big change, though: a move! The couple’s apartment, which Tom has lived in for more than a decade, has become a bit of a running joke on Vanderpump Rules. A clip of their power going out while attempting to run the microwave and the air conditioner at the same time has been played back multiple times this season. The couple tells ET, in unison, that they will be out of their current place “as soon as possible!”

“Dude, me, Ariana and [her brother], Jeremy all living in that apartment?” Tom adds. “It’s a lot.”

Tune into Vanderpump Rules every Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo to see more of Tom and Ariana. In the meantime, check out the video and links below for more on the show.

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