Vaginismus: What Do I Need to Know?You and your body are a team. Since your body has been with you every step of the way, it reacts to what has happened throughout your life. Recognizing pain, discomfort, anxiety, and stress are all parts of body mindfulness. In building a solid mind-body relationship, we can begin to address our traumas, ailments, and stressors that cause our bodies pain and discomfort.

Mending your relationship with your body can be an important first step in reclaiming your wellness. Your body is talking to you – are you listening?

Why is sex painful for me?

If you feel pain or discomfort during sex, your body is likely telling you that something needs your attention. While pain during intercourse can have many causes, it can be linked to a condition called vaginismus, a condition that involves vaginal tightness. It is not an uncommon condition and affects up to 17% of women, and yet is not often openly talked about. Materna Medical and Milli for Her are working hard to raise awareness alongside the women who are beginning to speak up about it.

Do not be afraid to talk about pain or discomfort during sex. If you have a partner, they should care about you and want you to not experience pain. It is okay to bring your pain to light.

It is important to remember that you are not alone. You have options for treatment; you do not have to “just deal” with it. Vaginismus is a common condition, and there are things you can do.

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a pelvic floor condition that causes tightening of the vaginal muscle which can cause pain during vaginal penetration. It affects people of all ages and is not uncommon. As we explore the details of vaginismus, remember that you are not alone in your search for better health and intimacy.

The main symptoms are:

Painful vaginal penetration during sex or clinical pelvic exams due to vaginal tightness

There are several possible causes, including:

  • Menopause
  • Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy
  • Partial or Complete Hysterectomy
  • A response that develops due to physical pain
  • Mental health-related factors
  • Past sexual trauma

How Can I Speak Up about Vaginismus?

Transparent communication is an important step in working through most of life’s challenges. Do not be afraid to open conversations about your experience with vaginal tightness with trusted people in your life.

Your partner can be a great starting point for this conversation. While vaginismus is not you or your partner’s fault, you are both involved in its effects. In a safe and loving setting, feel free to talk openly about your experience, as it is different for everyone. While pain during penetration may cause anxiety or other effects, there are ways to enjoy a sexual connection with your partner without penetration. Feel free to get creative with your partner while you figure out what works best for you.

Another important conversation to have is with your physician. This conversation can be helpful because a physician may help you rule out any underlying conditions that need treatment before your vaginismus can be addressed.

If you have a support system– whether that’s friends or other loved ones, reach out to them as well. It is entirely possible that other women in your life are living with the same condition as you and are hesitant to speak up about it. By opening trusting and loving conversations, we can normalize conversations about women’s health.

It is important to remember that you are not broken, and you are not alone. You are worthy and deserving of love and pleasurable sex regardless of anything you may believe. Many other women are experiencing the same thing and speaking up about your pain will help normalize more conversations about the topic. This condition is treatable, and there are many options to explore as you find your way to mind and body wellness.