Vaginismus: Definition, Causes and Treatments

What is Vaginismus?

The sexual dysfunction can occur in both men and women and usually can be 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 when touching near 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 exactly how many women suffer from vaginismus, but the condition is considered to be uncommon, as established by the National Institutes of Health.

Types of vaginism

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 womenestrogen levels decrease. This causes a lack of vaginal lubrication and elasticity 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, there is no direct cause that can be found. To make a diagnosis, the doctor will usually take a medical and sexual history, in addition to a physical examination. 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, 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 concrete information about how your body is responding. Counseling can be useful 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 the use of vaginal dilators, but you should be aware that you can not use them without the supervision of a professional. There are cone-shaped dilators which are placed in the vagina and progressively become larger. This helps the vagina muscles stretch and become flexible, thus helping to have a 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 are urinating, where after you start, you must stop the flow, in this way you are using the muscles of the pelvic floor, being able to feel that they contract and move up.

Practicing these exercises helps you regain control of when 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 10 times, three times a day.
  5. Be sure not to involve the muscles of your abdomen, buttocks or thighs when doing these exercises.