Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus


The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).


Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
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