Clinical Sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching explains what is Vaginismus.
Women who frequently experience vaginal discomfort during intercourse, such as pain and burning sensations, are probably suffering from the condition known as Vaginismus (pronounced vaj-uh-niz-muhs). Vaginismus is the result of involuntary tightening of the vaginal walls, making penetration during intercourse difficult or even impossible. This is usually manifested by the following symptoms:
- Pain due to tightening of the vagina during intercourse
- Painful sensation during insertion of the penis/ failure to achieve penile penetration due to pain
- Difficulty having a gynecological exam involving the vagina performed
- Sexual pain and discomforts after giving birth or undergoing a surgical procedure involving the female reproductive system
- Troubled relationship between partners
- Lack of interest to engage in sex due to pain
The Causes of Vaginismus
Psychological causes – almost 90% of women suffering from Vaginismus have one or more of the following psychological issues:
- Fear of getting pregnant
- Anticipating intercourse as a painful act
- Performance anxiety related to intercourse
- Traumatic sexual experiences in the past
- Childhood memories of sexual abuse
- Poor emotional attachment between partners
- Lack of knowledge regarding sex
Physical causes – 10% of Vaginismus in women is due to the following physical causes:
- Infections involving the female reproductive system
- Difficult normal vaginal deliveries; complicated c-sections
- Physical, sexual abuse, harassment, or rape
- Hormonal imbalance resulting to vaginal dryness
- Increasing age (menopausal stage) resulting to poor vaginal lubrication
- Pelvic pain from trauma or previous surgery
Common Misconceptions on Vaginismus
A woman with one or more of the above symptoms probably has Vaginismus. But, it is also important to know some myths regarding this female health condition to clarify what is and is not Vaginismus. Here are some of the common misconceptions:
- A woman with a small vagina is more likely to suffer from Vaginismus during intercourse. Wrong. Normally, the vagina is flexible enough to expand and accommodate a penis that is fully erect. However, involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles lead to painful intercourse.
- Vaginismus occurs only during intercourse. False. Vaginismus may occur even before penile penetration happens, making intercourse difficult or even impossible.
- An intact hymen is the reason why a woman may suffer from Vaginismus. Not true. The involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles happens subconsciously and is not due to the presence or absence of a hymen.
- A woman who has already given birth may not suffer from Vaginismus. Wrong. Remember that there are cases of mothers who after vaginal delivery started to experience Vaginismus due to a painful or traumatic experience during the birth process.
- Vaginismus is more common in single than married women. Not true. A woman’s civil status has nothing to do with Vaginismus. It may occur to both single and married women.
- Vaginismus is just a condition that goes away on its own without the need for any intervention. False. A woman suffering from Vaginismus needs to seek assistance from people who are experts in the field of treating the problem. The earlier she seeks help, the higher the chances of having pain-free intercourse.
This is a video of me bringing light to women with vaginismus in this personal project called The Crying Project.
READ this article on Vaginismus from India.
WORK WITH DR MARTHA LEE to overcome vaginisums quickly
- Read an article I wrote about Vaginismus here. It shares my experience working with two of my first clients with vaginismus.
- Download PDF FACT SHEET on Vaginismus here.
- Client testimonials below:
- July 2017 –“And today, my husband and I have a healthy sex life.”
- June 2017 –“… we managed to do it the full way, without pain, which I was very surprised.“
- April 2016 – “… we couldn’t consummate our marriage even after 3 years”
- Dec 2014 – “… we have been trying to conceive – hopefully we can share with you the good news really soon!“
- April 2014 – “My wife felt pain and both of us were worry and a little frustrated.”
- July 2013 – “We will keep your contact number, just in case we have sexual problem in the future, we will look for you for sure…”
- June 2013 – “With Martha’s constant encouragement, and our progressive tryings, we finally had our first penetrative sex about 8 months after our first session with Martha…”
- Feb 2013 – “Finally we had successful penetrative sex after two visits and within 2 months!”
- July 2012 – “Dr Martha is very professional in her way of dealing which make me feel very comfortable about in sharing with her. At first…”
- Feb 2012 – “Martha is someone whom you can share your darkest bedroom secrets with. She is always approachable, encouraging and positive…“
- Aug 2011 – “Until I met the one and what I thought was a natural process of just doing it turn out to be such a tramatic and painful session. I could not, cannot have penetrative sex!”
- Aug 2011 – “As long as I keep practicing those exercises, it will become better and I would be able to enjoy more for my sex life.”
- 2010 – “I thank Martha from the bottom of my heart, for giving me the self-esteem to be a healthy, sexual person and for being the force that managed to push me over one of the greatest hurdles of my life.”
- 2010 – “With her help I became a real women… she changed our lives… she strengthen my relationship with my husband.”
The above are the testimonials I received from clients who overcame Vaginismus, and yet there are many others who did not write me one. I respect their desire for privacy and to move on with their lives. Even asking for a testimonial, amid anonymous, is deemed as unethnical in some professional circles.
My clients wrote me their testimonial above knowing fully well that there are many others out there with this condition. They truly wanted to also encourage more people with vaginismus to seek support sooner than later.
Sign up to receive three FREE informational videos about Vaginismus I created here.
You may wish to purchase my new online training program Sex Possible: 28 Days to Overcoming Vaginismus here. Alternatively you can seek private sexuality coaching by asking for an appointment here firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dr. Martha Tara Lee
Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee decided to take it upon herself to right this societal injustice in 2007. She set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality, then launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.
She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and is currently pursuing her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling. In practice for more than seven years, she is the only certified sexuality educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.
Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the host of weekly radio show Eros Evolution on the OMTimes Radio Network. She has published two books: Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga.
Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.