The Pleasure Pioneers
Vaginismus Awareness Day
At least 2 in 1,000 women experience Vaginismus once in their lifetime
...and probably many more who may be too afraid or embarrassed to seek medical attention and help. With a 95% chance of treating the condition, it is time to talk about Vaginismus, shatter the isolation, eliminate the pain.
What is Vaginismus?
"Vaginismus is the term used to describe recurrent or persistent involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted."The symptoms include burning or stinging pain upon penetration, as well as intense fear or loss of desire when penetration is attempted.How does it develop? It is a complex psychosomatic condition, and the causes can be varied, such as painful first intercourse, sexual abuse, fear of pregnancy, or a deeply rooted belief that sex is wrong.Vaginismus isn't "only" about sex, it's about life. Penetrative sex is not the only thing its victims lose - let's be honest, not all of us prioritize that - but a sense of intimacy or self-worth too. It can painfully interfere with regular gynecological examinations, the use of tampons and period cups, or even childbirth. And if you have no one to talk to and share your experiences, the isolation can be unbearable.
Let's fight the stigmas around female sexual health and open up the conversation together
I Have Vaginismus, What Can I Do?
How to conquer the condition
Know you are not alone:
Get a diagnosis
The main symptom of Vaginismus is an involuntary and painful tightening of the vagina, which may make penetration difficult or even impossible.
For some women it is absolutely impossible to insert anything into their vagina, let it be fingers or tampons. Some may be able to insert a tampon or participate in a gynecological exam, but penetrative sex is not possible. Again others suffering from Vaginismus may be able to experience penetrative sex, but find it painful.
Other symptoms can include:
The first step after you've realised you may have Vaginismus, is to seek professional help and confirm the diagnosis with your GP. As the NHS website clarifies, a vaginal examination will be necessary at some point to rule out a physical cause of Vaginismus, such as an injury, infection, or oversensitive nerves at the opening of the vagina (provoked vulvodynia).
Is it treatable? Yes it is! Because it’s a condition that involves the head and body, the best thing to do is see a psychotherapist who knows about Vaginismus. All the therapists on the COSRT website will have had specific training in this. We strongly encourage you to seek out help from professionals, as treatment success rates hover around 95% in most clinical trials.
If you have more questions about Vaginismus and would like to read advice from a trained sexual and relationship therapist, please go to the FAQ section just below.
FAQ & Blog
Anonymous advice letters from our mailbox - huge thanks to Sarah Berry, Sex & Relationship Therapist, for her advice.
All things helpful from reading to therapeutic tools and toys. Please be advised that our approach to healing Vaginismus is very sex-positive and as such,
this section contains is NSFW parts.
Books to help you heal
With Vaginismus and painful sex often comes a difficulty of reaching orgasm. Whilst a thundering climax may not be the most important thing when it comes to sex, never having one can certainly add to the feelings of frustration and helplessness.
Not having an orgasm isn’t necessarily to do with Vaginismus, and the good news is that you can have one even if you have not yet progressed to penetration. Majority of women report that their orgasm originates from the clitoris, which means no insertion is necessary for sexual pleasure!
Becoming Orgasmic contains a practical program to help women learn how to have an orgasm, or to have orgasms easier. It’s the self-help guide most often recommended by sex therapists and relationship counsellors.
Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women is not a self-help guide, but still very useful when it comes to learning more abut women’s orgasms, and the different types of orgasms women can experience.
The sex-positive feminist
Every woman should, at some point in her life, read a book by Nancy Friday, the American sex-positive feminist whose first book My Secret Garden caused uproar in the early 70’s.
Friday spent time talking to women (and men) about their real-life fantasies, which she then compiled into four books. Allowing yourself to fantasise about the kind of sex you’d like to have is both liberating and arousing.
The Forbidden Forest
Women on Top
My Secret Garden
Men in Love
Bisexual and Lesbian Erotica
Reading erotica is an excellent way of switching off the day and getting ready for dilation
Eroticism comes in many forms, and if you find yourself fantasising about sexy encounters with both men and women, a book on bisexual erotica could be for you. Choosing a book with many short stories, rather than one long story, means you get more to choose from.
Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
Maybe you prefer to fantasise about other women or girl on girl encounters? There are many excellent lesbian anthologies out on the market, some are softer stories, and some are more graphic if that’s your preference.
Arousal starts in the mind
Perhaps you’re not so keen on modern writing, in which case classic erotica may be just what you are looking for.
Classics such as Fanny Hill or Delta of Venus never go out of fashion, and you’ll find yourself rereading favourite paragraphs over and over.
Sh! Soft Silicone Dilating Kit with Bullet Vibe
Created to help you advance towards pain-free penetration
The kit consists of four soft and smooth silicone shafts of graded sizes, plus a vibrating bullet. Following and aiding therapeutic work, together with appropriate exercises, the Sh! Dilating Kit will help you transition to pain-free penetration.
Learn more and get the dialating kit!
Lubes and Vibrators
Vibrating sex toys, or vibrators, are wonderful tools for helping to relax tense nerve-endings, and can make 'dialating' a LOT more pleasurable.
Vibrators needn’t be big to be effective; even the teeny-tiny finger tip vibes can be both useful and fun.
Go slow, and always add a generous amount of a lubricant you like the feel of. We recommend water-based lubricants as they are more body friendly. Opting for a paraben-free version lessens the risk of you developing irritation, so always look at the ingredients before making a purchase. Sh! Pure Lube is an excellent choice as it is body-friendly and hypoallergenic.
Choosing a more viscous lube can often be helpful as the thicker liquid creates a soft, padded layer between fingers/toys and vulva or vagina. Sh! Pure Plus Lube is waterbased, paraben-free and viscous.
Feelz Toys Finger Tip Vibrator
Gentle fingertip vibes for exploring all erogenous zones
Feelz Toys Finger Tip Vibe
Rocks Off Finger Tingles
Adds gentle vibration to your fingertip for skin-on-skin thrills
The Power Finger Vibrator
Powerful finger vibrator for all-over stimulation and arousal
Crystal Chic Vibrator
Slim and firm vibrator with 3 speeds
Sh! Mini Pink Vibrator
Soft and flexible vibrator with curved tip fotr G-spot stimulation
Don't fancy the idea of using a dilator? Opt for a soft, flexible silicone dildo instead.
Cosmopolitan Bendable Love Vibrator
Vibrator with bendable shaft for precise positioning
The Vaginismus Network
Break the isolation: Make friends and attend events
A community for people with Vaginismus. Having suffered in silence for many years, the VN team understands how communication, information and understanding can be a great comfort and help in managing and overcoming this condition.
Choose a professional who understands your condition!
Sex & Relationship Therapist
Having sought therapy for my own sexual difficulties, I have an understanding about how difficult sex and relationship problems can be and how they can impact your life.
Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist
I believe in helping people to get to a place where they feel in controlof their bodies again; working towards sexual wellbeing, health andhappiness.www.katemoyle.co.uk | www.thethoughthouse.co.uk
I am qualified with a British Association for Sexual & Relationship Therapy and have been working in this area since 2002. I have assisted many women and couples struggling with vaginismus.
I am a registered member of the BACP, working towards COSRT accreditation and specialising in LGBTQ issuess. I offer empathetic, non judgemental open-minded counselling in Northumberland
I am a member of COSRT and a qualified nurse working in St Albans. I am a registered therapist with Pink Therapy and a former winner of the COSRT post-graduate award for work in psychosexual therapy.
I am a Psychosexual Therapist at the Leger Clinic, in Doncaster, and Chair of The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, as well a member of the British Association of Sexual and Relationship Therapy.
Sex and Relationship Councellor
I'll work holistically to help you gain a sexual identity where pleasure and consent are at its heart - reducing anxiety around intimacy.I'm based in West London, contact details below if you'd like to get in touch.
I have been practicing as a Psychosexual Somatic® Practitioner in different forms for most of my adult life. My psychotherapeutic influences come from many different schools, and is currently working in London.
I am Carolyn Cowan, a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist who is also a sex addiction therapist & a member of COSRT & ATSAC. You can make appointments to see me in Belgravia, central or south London. I can also work via Skype or FaceTime.
I have then undertaken further specialist training with Pink Therapy to work with sexual and gender diversity.I am registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and I am also a general member of COSRT, currently working toward accreditation.
Dr Su Yap
Clinical Psychologist and Psycho-sexologist (ESSM/EFS certified)
I work as a Principal Clinical Psychologist in a NHS sexual health clinic, and am an active member of the British Society of Sexual Medicine. I run a successful private practice with individuals and couples I take a holistic view of the person, looking at biological, psychological & social factors that cause sexual problems. I use psychological techniques that scientific research has shown to be effective for sexual problems.
Relationship and Psychosexual Therapist
I am a professionally qualified COSRT accredited, BACP registered therapist with over 20 years of sexual health experience. I have a private practice in Chelsea and Fulham. My main interests are female clients with psychosexual issues and clients who have inter/cross cultural relationship issues. My primary mode of working is Humanistic-Integrative Psychotherapy.
Can't find what you're looking for?
Visit the College of Sex and Relationship Therapist's website for a full list of COSRT therapists in your area. COSRT accreditation is awarded to psychosexual therapists who have met strict criteria in training, experience, knowledge, ethical standards, clinical skills and commitment to continuous professional development; this is audited annually.
Ask us a question or share your story!
We know suffering from vaginismus can be frightening and isolating. We are here to answer your questions and connect you to other women fighting it.
© 2020 Sh! Brands LTD
Are you a journalist or blogger wanting to know more, write about vaginismus or help us spread the word? Please do get in touch.
Are you a sexual therapist with extensive experience in vaginismus? We'd love to feature you as well!
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 03333 444 005
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