Is there such thing as Vaginismus?
Sex is something that everyone will experience especially after getting married. It is a pleasurable experience that should be enjoyed by everyone.
But what happens if you can’t enjoy it? Instead, you only experience pain and difficulty when it comes to sexual penetration. You feel frustrated and guilty that you and your partner could not enjoy sex like any other couple. And the worst thing is you do not know what to do about it.
Not only that, but you also experience difficulties and pain when you undergo gynaecological examinations or even something as basic as inserting a tampon. Everything related to your vulva or vagina will give you heightened anxiety and fear, especially when it comes to penetration.
Fear not! You are not alone.
What you are experiencing is called Vaginismus and it is something that can be overcome with the help of the right treatment.
Why does this happen?
Why do some women experience this feeling? How will their sex life be? Is there any treatment for it?
Since young, you may have been bombarded with negative thoughts about sex and how painful it would be for a woman, especially for the first-timer. Women may also be expected not to think about sex as a pleasurable behavior. You may feel guilty and dirty for just thinking about sex.
You may also be afraid to talk about sex or ask questions because sex is a taboo in your community or culture. Hence, you are not fully prepared and do not know what to expect when it comes to your vagina. This creates anxiety and in turn, leads to the fear of the unknown.
What is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is the involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles. It makes penetrative sexual intercourse and gynaecological examinations very difficult or impossible.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), vaginismus is categorised under Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder. It is one of the most common female sexual problems. Vaginismus can be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary vaginismus occurs when the woman has never been able to have penetrative sex because of the involuntary contraction of her vaginal muscles. Secondary vaginismus occurs when a woman has previously been able to have penetrative sex but is no longer able to.
Can it be treated?
Vaginismus is highly treatable. However, the treatment needs to be done on both the physical and psychological aspects.
Desensitization is the main method. This is because we need to deal with the fear and anxiety while we train the vagina muscles to experience the feeling of penetration. Muscle relaxations and Kegel’s Exercises will also be done to help relax the surrounding muscles.
Sex education is also an important part of the treatment to create the necessary awareness and understanding of your body and sex. You will know what to expect and how to deal with them in a more positive manner.
However, it takes time and effort from both the professionals and patients to work together before seeing any improvement.
Practice makes perfect and this is how we can do it together.
If you think you may have vaginismus or other sexual related issues, you may consult our Sexologist and our Women’s Health Physiotherapist for a consultation.
Sexologist at Vibrance Pelvic Care Centre
Genito-Pelvic Pain or Penetration Disorder (Sexual Pain Disorder). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/genito-pelvic-pain-or-penetration-disorder-sexual-pain-disorder
Harish, T., Muliyala, K. P., & Murthy, P. (2011). Successful management of vaginismus: An eclectic approach. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 53(2), 154-11. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0019-5545.82548
How to Recognize and Overcome Vaginismus. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2014/09/15/how-to-recognize-and-overcome-vaginismus
Vaginismus is ruining sex. Research must move beyond penetration. Retrieved from http://www.evidentlycochrane.net/vaginismus-ruining-sex/