Vaginismus: The Causes and Cures and some other thoughts on how to heal sexual dysfunction

I apologize for having been a little slow in answering people’s questions, below you  will see an article on how to cure vaginismus in response to a reader’s question. I want to stress that almost all so-called sexual dysfunctions are psychological in nature and can be resolved by open, honest conversation between a couple and open-hearted, “zero no-go” exploration in the bedroom. By zero no-go exploration I mean, there are zero no-go areas, there isn’t anything a couple is unwilling to try to make their love life whole and the best it can be. Unfortunately many people are not used to open conversation about sex, and light hearted all out exploration in the bedroom is far to rare. By the way, when I speak of all-out exploration in the bedroom, I don’t mean disregarding boundaries. I mean a mutual decision as a couple to try things and a slow and caring experimentation with those new things you have decided to try. So-called sexual dysfunctions are not something the person experiencing the problem should be left alone to figure out. But cudos to whoever is willing to find some helpful information anywhere for yourself or for your partner. My audio program “Tantra, Sex for the Soul” is designed to help you open up the conversation and to get you trying new things. It gives you lots of ideas of what you might want to try to make your sex life the best it can be.

Vaginismus: The Causes and Cures

Within the world of sexual health we’re often very used to hearing all about issues concerning erectile dysfunction and how to deal with it successfully. There is a wealth of information out there for sufferers and it’s great that we are becoming less afraid to talk about such matters. A similar condition affects females too, and while it is becoming more widely recognised and known there are still people who don’t fully understand how it happens and how to deal with it. It’s called Vaginismus and this article aims to explain how it happens and what can be done to make sure women no longer suffer in silence.

What exactly is it?

It’s a condition that makes any form of vaginal penetration very difficult or impossible. It is not solely confined to sexual acts either, as it can also affect a woman’s ability to be able to comfortably insert a tampon or a moon-cup as well. Routine gynaecological examinations can also be painful and problematic.

What causes it?

Physiologically, it’s caused by a reflex action which takes place in the pubococcygeus muscle. This causes the muscles within the vaginal wall to close up and spasm. This is not something the female has any control over at all.

Psychologically, the reasons for Vaginismus manifesting itself can be multifarious. Some women experience it after a particularly traumatic childbirth experience, or as a result of sexual trauma or domestic abuse occurring in their lives. Some women find it develops even after they have had a relatively good and healthy sex life previously, perhaps as a result of the conditions mentioned above.

It can also happen after bouts of physical illness, for instance, after a urinary tract or yeast infection. Some conditions like Endometriosis can also make symptoms of Vaginismus occur too. If a woman is particularly prone to anxiety, stress or suffers from fear of pain (Agliophobia) then this can manifest itself in Vaginismus. An inherent fear or loathing of sexual contact for whatever reason that may be can also cause the condition to occur.

How to treat it

Thankfully, although it is immensely distressing, it’s helpful to know that it can be very easily treated and in most cases without the need for anything approaching surgical intervention or drugs.

Treatment for this condition largely relies on pelvic floor exercises, dilation and insertion training and sometimes talking therapies to eliminate any possible areas of distress which may be adding to the levels of pain associated with sexual intercourse. This is very good news as very often men who are experiencing problems with erectile dysfunction automatically assume that are related, not fully realising that the little blue pill can really sometimes just cover up for underlying psychosexual problems which are only being dealt with on the surface. The treatment for Vaginismus diametrically opposes this.

Using a Vaginal Trainer

One of the most popular ways to help resolve it is the use of a “Vaginal Trainer”. These are implements which are shaped like a penis and come in varying sizes, gradually increasing in size and length, for use as the condition eases. They are made to be used in the comfort of your own home, lubricant is usually provided to go with them and the sufferer can “practice” using the trainer as often as she wishes in a relaxed, unpressured environment. The idea is that once the sufferer can use the largest vaginal trainer without pain or anxiety then she will be ready to once again start enjoying sexual intercourse with her partner.

Relaxation techniques

Focussing on relaxation is another great way to help stop the condition worsening. Deep breathing exercises and a technique called “progressive relaxation” may work wonders to ease underlying physical tensions. Progressive relaxation involves variously tensing and relaxing every limb in your body in a particular order for a few seconds. Once this has been successfully done, the sufferer then focuses on the tensing and relaxing of the pelvic floor, until it becomes second nature. When this has been practised for as long as is felt necessary (again, it may be days, weeks or months of regular sessions) the sufferer can then proceed to either using the Vaginal Trainer to help, or even lubricated fingers to begin with.

Sensate Focus

Finally, there is the option of something referred to as sensate focus, which can be used for a number of different conditions and not just Vaginismus. This is a treatment whereby the sufferer and their partner agree for a fixed period of time not to have sexual intercourse at all. During this time, they are however, allowed to stimulate and touch each other and practise oral sex techniques. This again, allows for relaxation, taking the pressure off the need to engage in penetration and allows both partners to become aware of each other’s bodies. It will, over an agreed period of time allow the build up for natural sexual intercourse to take place again.

Lily is a health writer specialising in sexual health issues on behalf of an online healthcare business. She is currently based in the US, near Phoenix but spent most of her youth travelling Europe


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