Painful sex is a common problem for many women. In fact, close to 75 percent of women have painful sex. Nonetheless, it’s a condition that’s widely misunderstood, or not spoken about enough. But one probable cause for painful sex might be something called vaginismus. And if you’re not sure what this is, and whether it’s something you’re dealing with, keep reading.
Vaginismus is a condition where the pelvic floors muscles surrounding the vagina are too tight or contract involuntarily. It’s something that happens on its own and a woman doesn’t have any control over this. Normally, sexual stimulation will help these muscles relax. However, if they remain taunt, sex can hurt.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of women are unaware that they’re dealing with a muscular problem, and often believe that this problem is because they don’t match up well with their partner. However, as gynecologist, Jen Gunter, explains, the vagina can stretch – so long as these muscles relax.
But why do the pelvic muscles stay tight, causing vaginismus? Unlike other conditions that lead to painful sex, vaginismus doesn’t always have a direct cause. In some cases, it may be to do sexual abuse, trauma, psychological and emotional factors or previous painful sex.
Vaginismus can make a woman feel embarrassed, ashamed, and as though there’s something wrong with her. But remember that this condition doesn’t define a woman, and it’s also something treatable.
Sex therapy, counseling, kegel exercises and vaginal dilators can be helpful treatments to support both the pelvic floor muscles and a woman’s psychological and emotional wellbeing, too.