Vaginismus: Definition, Causes and Treatments

What is Vaginismus?

Sexual dysfunction can occur in both men and women and is usually treated. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s not your fault. However, these disorders can interfere with their relationships and quality of life.

For example, some women have involuntary contractions of the vaginal muscles that usually occur just before intercourse; others also have these contractions at other times, such as when trying to insert a tampon or touching the vaginal area. This is called vaginismus. Contractions can prevent sexual intercourse or can make it very painful. However, it does not interfere with the excitement of the person.

Experts do not know precisely how many women suffer from vaginismus, but the condition is uncommon, as established by the National Institutes of Health.

Types of vaginismus

Vaginismus can be classified into two types:

Primary vaginismus, when vaginal penetration has not been achieved.

Secondary vaginismus, when vaginal penetration is no longer possible. This may be due to factors such as gynecological surgery or radiation.

According to the Women’s Therapy Center, some women develop vaginismus after menopause, when women estrogen levels decrease. This causes a lack of vaginal lubrication and elasticity and makes intercourse painful, stressful, or impossible. In some women, this can lead to vaginismus.


There is not always a reason for vaginismus. The condition has been linked to sexual abuse, painful intercourse or past trauma, and emotional factors. But in some cases, no direct cause can be found. The doctor will usually take a medical and sexual history and a physical examination to make a diagnosis. These stories can help you know the underlying cause of the contractions.


Vaginismus is a treatable disorder. The treatment is usually multifaceted and will include education, counseling, and exercises.

Sex education

Education usually involves teaching about its anatomy and what happens during sexual arousal and intercourse, in addition to information about the muscles involved in vaginismus. This can help demystify body parts and provide factual information about how your body responds. Counseling can be helpful for you and your partner to work with a counselor specializing in sexual disorders. Relaxation techniques and hypnosis can also promote relaxation and help you feel more comfortable with sexual intercourse.

Vaginal Dilators

Your doctor or a counselor may recommend using vaginal dilators, but you should be aware that you can not use them without the supervision of a professional. There are cone-shaped dilators placed in the vagina and progressively become larger. This helps the vagina muscles stretch and become flexible, thus helping to have better intimacy. After completing the course of treatment with the dilator game, you and your partner can try to have sex again.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises consist of the repetitive and relaxing contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, which control the vagina, rectum, and bladder. You can contract these muscles when you urinate, whereas after you start, you must stop the flow; in this way, you are using the powers of the pelvic floor, feeling that they contract and move up.

Practicing these exercises helps you regain control of your muscles, contract, and relax. Follow these steps:

  1. Empty your bladder.
  2. Contract the pelvic floor muscles, and count to 10.
  3. Relax the muscles and count to 10.
  4. Repeat this cycle ten times, three times a day.
  5. Be sure not to involve the muscles of your abdomen, buttocks, or thighs when doing these exercises.