Yasmine Ross
Written & Posted by Yasmine RossRelationship Coach, Writer

Understanding Vaginismus: Breaking Down Barriers to Intimacy

16 May, 2023
Featured for Understanding Vaginismus: Breaking Down Barriers to Intimacy

Vaginismus can be a very challenging condition to experience, and it can have a significant impact on a woman's sexual and emotional well-being. Many women with vaginismus describe feeling frustrated, embarrassed, or ashamed of their condition, and may feel like they are alone in their struggle.

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a condition in which the muscles of the vagina involuntarily contract or tighten, making it difficult or impossible to insert anything into the vagina, including a tampon, a finger, or a penis. This involuntary muscle spasm is often accompanied by pain or discomfort, which can make sexual intercourse or gynecological exams very challenging.

There are two types of vaginismus: primary and secondary.

Primary Vaginismus

  • Occurs when a woman has never been able to have sexual intercourse due to vaginal muscle spasms.

Secondary Vaginismus

  • Occurs when a woman who has previously been able to have sexual intercourse experiences vaginal muscle spasms that prevent penetration.

What Causes Vaginismus?

The exact cause of vaginismus is not fully understood, but it can be caused by a variety of factors. In some cases, vaginismus may be a physical response to an underlying medical condition, such as an infection, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. In other cases, vaginismus may be caused by psychological or emotional factors, such as anxiety, fear, trauma, past sexual abuse, or negative beliefs about sex.

For many women, vaginismus is a complex combination of physical and psychological factors. For example, a woman who has experienced sexual trauma in the past may develop vaginismus due to the emotional and psychological trauma associated with the experience. Similarly, a woman who experiences pain during sexual intercourse may develop a fear of sex and become anxious about the prospect of future sexual encounters.

Symptoms of Vaginismus

The primary symptom of vaginismus is difficulty or pain during vaginal penetration. Women with vaginismus may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Inability to insert a tampon or a finger into the vagina
  • Tenderness or soreness in the pelvic region
  • Anxiety or fear about sexual intercourse or gynecological exams
  • Muscle spasms in the vagina or pelvic floor

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions and discuss treatment options.

Treatment Options for Vaginismus

Fortunately, vaginismus is a treatable condition, and a combination of physical therapy, counseling, and other techniques can help women overcome this problem and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

  • Physical therapy: Pelvic floor physical therapy is a highly effective treatment for vaginismus. This therapy involves working with a physical therapist to learn exercises that can help to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor, including the muscles of the vagina. In some cases, physical therapy may also involve the use of dilators or other tools to gradually stretch the vagina and reduce muscle spasms.
  • Counseling: Many women with vaginismus benefit from counseling or therapy to address the emotional and psychological factors that may be contributing to the condition. Counseling can help women to identify and address any negative beliefs or experiences related to sex, as well as to develop coping strategies for anxiety or fear.
  • Education: Education is also an important component of treatment for vaginismus. Women with this condition may benefit from learning about their anatomy and sexual response, as well

In conclusion, vaginismus is a challenging condition that can significantly impact a woman's life and intimate relationships. However, it's important to remember that vaginismus is treatable, and there is hope for a fulfilling and pleasurable sex life. By seeking professional help, such as physical therapy and counseling, women with vaginismus can address both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition.

Let's continue to raise awareness, provide support, and break the silence surrounding vaginismus, ensuring that no woman feels alone in her journey toward healing and reclaiming her sexual well-being.

Learn more about Sex Therapy at An Elegant Mind Counselling in Vancouver, BC.

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