When sex hurts: What is Vaginismus?


Painful or even mildly uncomfortable sexual intercourse is usually the first sign for a woman that she may have a condition known as Vaginismus.

According to some women, the sensation can be described as the man “hitting a wall” during penetration. Some women even experience the same type of discomfort when they insert a tampon or during a pelvic exam by their doctor.

What to do

Through progressive desensitization or “practice” like one would at any sport to get better at it, medical practitioners suggest women with Vaginismus should use Kegel exercises to learn how to control their pelvic floor muscles.

A simple exercise like squeezing the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine for 2 seconds and then relax them can help. Slowly graduate to inserting one finger as you do the Kegel exercises in order to desensitize those muscles.

If exercises don’t alleviate the discomfort during sexual intercourse, Vaginismus is also related to fear or anxiety – looking into therapy may also be helpful.

Discomfort may also be the result of infections. Seeking consultation with a doctor is important to determine what the underlying cause of pain during sexual intercourse is.

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