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What is Vaginismus? A vagina in panic.

Vaginismus is a psychological issue where the walls of the vagina clamp, making it impossible for the penis to enter (penetration). This means, you will experience pain upon sexual intercourse or the insertion of a tampon.

So, vaginismus is a vagina in panic; an immediate reaction of our flight or fight nervous system. It says "I am afraid of pain", "I am afraid of the unknown", "I am afraid of penetration". It is psychosomatic condition, which means that nothing is wrong with the structure of the vagina but rather the vagina is nervous.

There are five areas in the body that are connected to the fight or flight system. The head, the jaw, the lower back, the intestines and the genitals. When a connection is established between any of those body parts, a fear response is activated (fight or flight). It is impossible to aroused and stressed at the same time.

Vaginismus is one of the most common causes of female sexual dysfunctions. It can be healed, but only a third of women are aware of that. Vaginismus can really affect relationships, confidence and self-esteem. Sex no longer is enjoyable, but painful. But sex should never be painful - that is not normal. Painful sex is not normal - contrary to what many believe and have been told.

Many women start to believe that good enjoyable sex is no longer possible for them, but that is not correct. Vaginismus does not have to stop you from having pleasurable sexual experiences.

Psychosexual therapy can help you if you believe you are suffering from vaginismus. It is first advised that you get a medical examination to clear any medical/physical causes.

What causes vaginismus?

It is purely a psychological/mental matter. Whilst the pain of vaginismus is real (felt), it is a response to fear of vaginal penetration. The reasons for this fear will vary from woman to woman.

All pain is created in the brain, in response to the body's signals that there is some kind of threat. There are different perceived threats that have come from experience. These can include:

  • Traumatic childbirth

  • A difficult medical examination that happened

  • Beliefs about sex being shameful or dirty or bad

  • Unpleasant sexual experience(s)

  • Fear that your vagina is not large enough for penetration

Vaginismus is a vicious cycle that involve a perpetuating anticipation of pain upon penetration. This creates an involuntary contraction in the vaginal muscles as a defence to protect itself.

Remember, the vagina is absolutely fine structurally, it is just in panic and it can be healed.

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