What is vaginismus?

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus (also known as vaginism) is a sexual problem affecting women. It causes penetration to be painful or impossible due to the tensing of the vaginal muscles. Sufferers may also experience anxiety and difficulty inserting tampons or undergoing gynecological examinations.

The causes of vaginismus are psychological, although it manifests as a physical condition. This vaginal tightness may cause sexual discomfort or pain, burning or tearing sensations, and inability to have sex or insert any object into your vagina.

Vaginismus is the main cause of unconsummated relationships, and it can put relationships under great strain. It is extremely frustrating to be unable to physically engage in pleasurable sex and sufferers often feel abnormal and embarrassed about the condition.

The anticipation of pain or sexual ‘failure’ further contributes to and reinforces the symptoms of vaginismus. This can lead to avoidance of penetration and a feeling of alienation from ones own body as the vagina becomes a no-go zone. This exacerbates feelings of failure, or general squeamishness about your vagina.

Vaginismus is often a multi-faceted condition and the components that can contribute to it include psychological, emotional, physical and relationship factors.

Symptoms of Vaginismus

It is likely that you have vaginismus if you experience most or all of the following:

You feel very uneasy or anxious at the thought of penetration.

You avoid penetration due to fear of pain or other negative emotions. This may include avoidance of tampons, sex or gynaecological examinations.

You feel as though there is a ‘wall’ or other obstacle inside your vagina preventing penetration or imagine your vagina to be abnormally narrow.

You experience a burning or stinging pain and tightness of the vagina if penetration occurs. This can range from mild discomfort to significant, unbearable pain

Cara explains more about Vaginismus

In this short video, Cara explains:

  • What is vaginismus
  • What the symptoms of vaginismus are
  • What it feels like to have vaginismus
  • How vaginismus can be compared to other physical symptoms
Screenshot 2021-11-15 at 15.25.54

Types of Vaginismus

Vaginismus varies in levels of severity and manifests itself in different ways for each woman.
The main types of vaginismus are as follows:

PRIMARY VAGINISMUS
This is where you have never experienced full pain-free penetration.

SECONDARY VAGINISMUS
This occurs if you were previously able to have pain-free penetration. It can happen after having had a medical condition that caused sexual pain such as long-term cystitis and although the original condition is no longer present, your fears about penetration continue. Some women develop vaginismus with menopause and the changes in the body that can bring. It can also be triggered by difficulties in her relationship with your partner.

SITUATIONAL VAGINISMUS
This occurs only in certain situations or with certain partners. The occurrence of it may seem entirely random and unpredictable.

Vaginismus is a 'hidden' problem

So many of my vaginismus clients have told me that they initially didn't realise that what they were experiencing was a recognised condition, let alone being able to find a name for it. There exists a real lack of information and understanding about the condition, leading to sufferers feeling even more confused, embarrassed and isolated.

vaginismus

For more information on Vaginismus, please see my Vaginismus FAQs page or read my Blogs