What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is characterized by the involuntary contraction of the muscles around the vaginial opening. While women with vaginismus do become emotionally/mentally and physically aroused, they often find sexual intercourse extremely painful or even impossible due to the muscular contraction. Some women with vaginismus find themselves unable to insert a tampon due to the pain and discomfort associated with this disorder.

What causes vaginismus?

It is sometimes quite difficult to determine the root cause of vaginismus. As with many sexual disorders, some women develop vaginismus as the result of a variety of physiological and psychological factors. However, some women are unable to identify any cause at all. As such, it is crucial to keep the line of communication open with your healthcare provider when discussing vaginismus. In an effort to make the initial conversation more comfortable, we have listed a few common causes of vaginismus below:

Common Psychological Causes of Vaginismus:

  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of getting pregnant
  • Past sexual abuse, rape, incest or sexual trauma
  • Fear of rejection by partner
  • Body image issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress or anxiety issues
  • Depression
  • Guilt about sex and/or sexual pleasure
  • Religious or cultural beliefs about sex and/or sexual pleasure

Common Physiological Causes of Vaginismus:

  • Side effect of prescription medication or drugs
  • Inadequate foreplay
  • Inadequate lubrication due to lowered estrogen-levels
  • Injuries to the pelvis or pelvic area
  • Sexual assault including rape, incest or sexual trauma
  • Child-birth
  • Illnesses including cancer, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and more

Given the complex factors that may contribute to vaginismus, all treatment methods will be personally tailored to your unique needs. If is not uncommon for treatment methods to incorporate a mixture of talk therapy as well as at-home exercises and dilator therapy.