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Conditions

Vaginismus

Set of vaginal cones to help treat vaginismus

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Vaginismus is a psychological condition that manifests itself physically, when the muscles around the vagina contract and spasm against a woman’s will. This usually occurs in response to the vagina or vulva being touched. But it can also happen during the attempted insertion of the penis into the vagina during sexual intercourse, which can be quite painful. Many vaginismus sufferers and their partners describe attempting penetrative sex as like “hitting a brick wall”. It’s these difficulties, which can disrupt a couple’s sex life and often lead to the cessation of any penetrative sexual activity, which can create relationship problems. However, it is untrue that women with this condition do not like or want sex, because many sufferers continue to enjoy non-penetrative intimacy. There are many different causes of this condition, although the reason depends on the individual person. Treatment will ultimately depend on whether the root cause can be identified.

Watch the Live from the Clinic interactive video on vaginismus >

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It's so reassuring to know I'm not the only person out there that feels this way. I'm 24 and have been sexually active for 8 years. I have never once had pain-free sex. My first time was horrific, I wasn't really ready, and my boyfriend at the time was not very patient. Every time we had sex (penetrative) I cried, it hurt so much. Three years later I ended the relationship and fell in love with my current boyfriend. We've been together five years and he has never once pressured me about sex. He understands how frustrating it is to want to be intimate and he's scared of hurting me. With him the pain has decreased so it just hurts at the beginning, and burns a little afterwards. As long as we take it very slowly to start with. I feel so lucky to have such an understanding partner, who doesn't blame me. But I still blame myself. I feel like I'm a failure as a woman and a girlfriend. I get so angry at myself, I struggle to insert tampons even! I have tried dilators and counselling after seeing a doctor but they make me feel like even more of a freak. I think I need help accepting this and accepting that it's not my fault, or I have no chance of ever making it better. I just want to not be afraid of sex anymore. Does anyone have any advice how to accept this about yourself? It's really getting me down.





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Hey, I'm 20 and I've had Vaginismus for over a year now, it hasn't gotten any worse or better. I've been with my boyfriend for two years and was able to have sex without any discomfort for over 6 months. I went to visit my friend for a month and when I came back that's when the problem started. I am able to have sex but requires a lot of patience, once it's in its in, but it can feel uncomfortable, which then I become more stressed. I realise others have this condition a lot worse than I have, but I'm hoping someone can tell me treat this as I've been to the doctors twice now and haven't been given any advice, except to google it and see what I can do myself. I hope someone can give me some advice.





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Hi I have just read your comments and thought I might tell you my experience now being nearly out the other side of this horrible thing called vaginismus! There is hope girls! It requires commitment and focus and hard work..if you dont do these things you may not succeed. I got married to a wonderful man 1 year and 1 month ago and couldnt quite understand what was wrong so after a few months I googled it and diagnosed myself with vaginismus. I went into a bit of shock and felt like my world had ended. I read about success stories to try and train my mind to believe this was curable! It helped a little. I tried a few things, telling myself this was ok and I can sort it out. The biggest thing for me was excepting it...fighting it just didnt work. When i excepted it, I got the strength to fight with all my might! Saying 'WHY??' ( and believe me I did that many times!) didnt help at all. Not till I said to myself 'ok, this is cool, I have this problem. All Im doing is protecting myself which is totally normal..in a way thank God my 'flight' mode is working!' Now all I have to do is say to my body 'hey everythings fine now. You can trust me and let go. I can trust my husband and I can trust my God who created my vagina...with His Help I am in control!' I bought the Vagi wave and couldnt wait to get it in the mail! When it came I started it for 16 nights..it was tough emotionally, i had a few meltdowns! When it just got too much I stopped..it wasnt the physical side of things it was the emotional...i wasnt dealing with that and I was becoming a nervous wreck. I stopped using it. We attempted sex and I could feel a very little change but still was painful. I'd read of girls who said it didnt work the first time so they just did it again for another 21 nights. So I did it again...I got to 15 nights. I felt abit disappointed in myself! So i determined next time I would do the 21 nights even if it killed me! And I did! We attempted sex again and penetration was a success!!! But he couldnt move at all otherwise I would scream in pain! But he was in!! I had to remind myself...baby steps! The process of LETTING GO is always slow...and thats what its really about. TRUST (not frieking out because we arent in control of the situation) and LETTING GO. I had another frustration meltdown because I felt i could get this far but couldnt go much further. I did some more googling and read that sometimes vibrators are good...they are about the size of a penis and also the vibrations massage the muscles which relaxes them. I didnt like the idea of getting one at all and was quite grossed out but I had to think of the reason why I was getting one, so I did! The other thing was talking to someone..at first I was so embarressed I didnt tell a soul except my twin sister. I read that you must talk about it...shout it on the rooftops!! Through doing that you come to except it and get more fighting strength. You also feel your not so weird after all when a lot of people have heard about it. The only person that remarked badly was my Mum. There are people who understand and will help :) So I got the vibrator and around the same time i started getting Counselling to sort myself out, not really for the Vaginismus though. But I have learnt that the two go hand in hand...if you sort out the pain in the past and pack it away in a box and through it in the sea, not long and you'll be saying goodbye to Vaginismus too. It stems from the fear of being hurt emotionally or physically or not in control, self image and hating yourself...thats the core of the problem. So I started using the vibrator, leaving it in for about half an hour and reading or something to distract myself. It goes in easily because of the shape and if you stimulate yourself before hand you will naturally open up. And use heaps of lubracant! After about 2 times of using it we were playing around and not planning anything and it happened!!! It didnt hurt at all and was an amazing feeling!!!! I was in shock afterwards!! We attempted again a few days later and it wasnt so nice. I have researched and found out its pretty normal..because i have been planning and organising when we try to have sex for so long, i have lost the spontaniousness and apparently when a woman prepares herself for something it actually does the reverse in the body..the body will automatically get apprehensive. So I have to work on the TRUST and LET GO! Ive been told to have fun and not be so serious! And they are right! Through this 1 years journey of having vaginismus I have become too serious..taken things too regimental becuase I was fixing something. And thats normal! WE ARE NOT ABNORMAL GIRLS! WE ARE SPECIAL because we have the strength to fight this thing that most other women take for granted!! And the Reward is much more amazing then any other girl who doesnt suffer from Vaginismus will never experience because they did not have fight for it!! Be proud of yourselves! YOU WILL OVERCOME IT!!!





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Thanks for sharing!

I have had vaginismus for over 2 years now. I was married a virgin two years ago to someone who I thought I could spend the rest of my life with. Like any other 24 year old girl, I was so excited yet nervous with the thought of breaking my virginity to someone I love dearly. Unfortunately due to this 'condition' I was unable to consummate this marriage...though my husband was very patient at the start he gradually started to drift away from me. I started to blame myself and felt that it is my fault. My marriage didn't last long as I found out he cheated and wanted to satisfy his 'desires' with other women. I know he obviously wasn't the right one for me...as when you have a problem like this you really need a caring, patient and supportive partner. I was left heart-broken, I am currently seeing a sexual therapist who is trying to help solve this problem but unfortunately I have lost all motivation to do anything at home to help with this matter.





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Previously I did not have sex with my husband for 10 years due to Vaginismus. This is now all in the past thanks to a UK product called Vagi-Wave. I could not have gynaecological examinations or tests or use tampons. I said that I would leave as many testimonials as possible to help other women overcome the issue. See www.vagi-wave.co.uk for more information.





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I had successful intercourse for 1year. But now iam facing problem during the intercourse, it is very painful. Literally iam pushing my husband away from me. I had costipation problem and i faced spams pain, now iam fine but then i wont be able to have a successful sex. we used a lot of gels, lubrications also but no use and consultated sexologist but no use. Please give me suggession how to get out of this problem.





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Hi, I'm 21. I went for a vaginal examination about 3 years ago because I kept having pain's after sex. After trying to exam me, my doctor said "I'm going to refer you to Gynacology as I beleive you may have Vaginismus" Before this point, I always beleived it was supposed to hurt. I always had pain when my boyfriend penetrated, but only for the first couple inches, once it was in, it was in. In the last 3 years I have taught myself to focus on the feelings and think about them being good feelings, however I still struggle to have the motivation to have sex, as the fear is still there. This is still having a great effect on my relationship.





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Hi I'm 21. I'm not a virgin and have been with my boyfriend for 4 years. I started experiencing pain during sex about 3 years ago. It seemed to start after I started on the contraceptive pill. its progressively gotten worse over the last three years. Recently we've hit rock bottom and I am unable to have sex at all. It's affecting my relationship a lot and I'm getting desperate. My symptoms don't seem to be the same as some of these mentioned. It's more like a really tight ring at the entrance and like a hard lump at the top of my vagina. And sometimes it hurts deep inside. I was at a sexual health clinic and the doctor poo pooed me away saying I'm not ready for sex and should just take it slower. I really need help it's very distressing. please please. I also don't know how to start the conversation with my gp to even ask for a check up down der. I just want to die just thinking about it.





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Hey! Im 21 too and have the same problem. I couod never think of a reason this has happened to me but it interests me you mention contraceptives being a possible cause for you because i remember this began when i was younger around the time i started on the pill. it begun when i was about 15/16. webt threw a sex faze at that ages and i loved sex but everything has chaned now. 1 year of sex in my life and thats it. im 21 now and am horrified that i am unable to have sex. drs dont know whats wrong.its ruining my relationship and im so depressed..feel like hanging myself haha.no one wants to be with a girl whom they cant even have sex with right?

I've suffered from painful sex my whole life and finally gathered the courage to see a doctor about it. The gynaecologist was non too warm at the consultation. I was unable to be examined and cried hysterically. I then had vaginal dilators used on me without even telling me or talking me through it. For the grande finale I had to DEMONSTRATE myself using them in front of consultant and 2 nurses crying from pain and sheer humiliation. IS THAT THE NORMAL PROCEDURE?! I was in bits after over the appointment. I think my problem may be both medical and psychological due to abuse. I just want to know if that sounds normal or not. Anyone else had same treatment? As if it's not embarrassing enough!





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Sex should never be painful. The gynaecologist sounds really unsympathetic and the whole process was humiliating. Here at Jo Divine we work with a consultant gynaecologist who recommends using a slim vibrator and good lubricant(YES) to help relax you. You should be referred to a womens health physio who will guide you through specialist exercises which won't hurt to help relax your vagina. A slim vibrator such as Picobong Zizo may help but you need a referral for counselling too. Hope this helps

Hello, I've had vaginismus since I can remember, I've seen doctors and psychosexual therapists and what they did to you is not normal! They shouldn't make you have an examination if it hurts you, as this will just add to the issue...hope this helps!

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I have been unable to have painless sex with my boyfriend who I have been with now for three years. After years of being told it was in my head I am finally being told I have this .iv tried dilators for the last two years and having no luck .i also brought a vagi wave that I have tried to use numerous times and have also had no luck ! I'm able to use tampons etc..anything bigger is just too painful! Doctors refuse a physical exam . I don't understand why this is happening to me and why it is Soo impossible to get rid of!!





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My situation is very similar to yours and I'm completely stuck at what to do next! The vagiwave didnt work for me either and Id say Ive had this condition for almost 3 years and I'm only 22! I can insert tampons and even the smaller size dilators but it's like I'm stuck in a stage where I can't progress to anything else bigger and its so frustrating and depressing! I have even taken up yoga to try and help exercise my pelvic floor muscles. I've been to a gynocologist but I didn't feel comfortable with him and he made the treatment sound so simple. I've tried but I don't want to force my body to do something its not comfortable doing in fear of making it worse. I'm considering seeing a therapist as I've recently had anxiety issues so I'm hoping this might help me become unstuck!!! This condition is ruining my life I feel it's never going to go away! If anyone could help me? Good luck and stay strong!x


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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Vaginismus is when the muscles around the vagina tighteninvoluntarily when penetration of the vagina is attempted. It makes sexual intercourse difficult or impossible (the vagina can completely close up) and it can be painful. Read More »

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