Sexual Health Australia have defined vaginismus as an involuntary spasm/contraction/reflex of the muscles surrounding the entrance to the vagina, making penetration impossible and/or painful, which causes personal and/or relationship distress.
Doctors don't know exactly why vaginismus happens but they acknowledge that it is linked to anxiety. Some make reference to past sexual trauma, hang-ups caused by religious beliefs or more simply just being afraid to have sex, but the truth is that although there is no cut and dried ' accepted' explanation for it, vaginismus can be resolved with psychological intervention. In other words, by different thinking.
Most women and couples who are being impacted by vaginismus are desperate to have a healthy and enjoyable sex life and they feel like they just cant.
In working with women who suffer from vaginismus, Ive found that it can be corrected very quickly in many cases. A number of my clients have begun having sex with their partners in the first few weeks of treatment, for others it is a slower process where comfort and ease develop with practice.
Levels of Severity
There are different kinds of vaginismus from a diagnostic point of view;
Primary Vaginismus - Where penetration has never been achieved. The muscles contract and the vagina is impenetrable whether trying to insert a tampon, at the doctors for a PAP smear or in the bedroom with your partner.
Secondary Vaginismus - So named because penetration has occurred in the past but is no longer possible. Causes are individual specific and can occur as a result of gynaecological surgery, infection, childbirth, even abuse.
Situational Vaginismus - Where it occurs only in certain places or with a particular partner or only in relation to sex but not with tampons or during medical exams.
Lots of women feel embarrassed and ashamed that they can't have ‘ normal’ sexual relations, some think they are weird, a bit mental or that there is something wrong with their body but usually there is no physical reason for the problem, it lies instead in the area of mind.
Doctors usually recommend counselling with a psychologist who has specialised in treating sexual problems, working with a physiotherapist to learn pelvic floor exercises known as keegles or coggles along with the use of vaginal dilators to stretch the internal muscles. Unfortunately this path does not pay off for that many women and they are left disappointed, frustrated and feeling like there is no way achieve the intimacy they hope for.
If you are prepared to try something a little different, if you are up for learning how your mind works and you are prepared to challenge old ways of thinking and being, the internationally acclaimed Thrive Programme can show you how to use your mind to achieve your goals for a happy healthy intimate relationship.
Give me a call on 0409777116 if you would like to have a chat about this.
Research and Articles of Interest
When Sex is Pain: An interesting article written by a sex therapist on vaginismus in which he says that drugs, surgery and other complex or invasive techniques are not required to successfully treat the condition, instead he speaks of the importance of counselling, education and the reduction of anxiety. The Sydney Morning Herald, August 23rd 2012, written by Matty Silver.
Married for Nine Years But Cant Have Pain Free Sex: Michaela and James Reece tell their story of living with vaginismus, saying 'It has broken us. Brought us to tears. And eventually became a thing we just didn't talk about.' Daily Mail Australia, December 28th 2015, written by Sally Lee.
There can in some cases be a physical cause for painful sex so please consult with your doctor as a matter of course before commencing the Thrive Programme.
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