is when the vaginal muscles contract involuntarily during penetration. It might occur during sex, making the insertion of a penis, and even genital touching, very painful. Vaginismus also can make using tampons uncomfortable.
Some people may experience vaginismus after gynecological surgery or radiation. In menopause, when estrogen levels drop, increased dryness may lead to those involuntary contractions. And while some may imagine that a history of physical or sexual abuse is a
, there may be very little evidence supporting this in research literature.
Certainly, vaginismus is usually a stressful experience and it could actually also put a strain on a relationship. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get as much attention as
, which might make people who find themselves going through it feel alone.
Vaginismus is commonly dismissed
Dr. Caroline Pukall, psychologist and professor at Queen’s University, and director of
says that usually individuals with this condition are invalidated, dismissed, or given poor advice, equivalent to “have some wine, that may loosen you up.” She adds that the perception that ‘everyone’ is having sex or that they’re the just one experiencing the condition, contributes to a sense that something may be very mistaken with them.