It’s a condition that can be embarrassing to talk about. But thankfully, vaginismus is something you can overcome. It’s when the muscles of the pelvic floor spasm, preventing anything – from a tampon to a penis or sex toy – from entering the vagina or causing a burning or stinging pain in the attempt. It doesn’t prevent you from becoming sexually aroused, but an involuntary, uncontrollable reaction causes tightening of the entrance of the vagina and it can affect your sex life negatively. Here’s more about it.
Vaginismus can occur as a result of emotional or medical factors such as feelings of vulnerability from traumatic life events, including rape or a history of abuse, insufficient vaginal lubrication and medication side effects. “There’s a very specific cocktail of factors leading to vaginismus, but it is a muscular protective response,” says Carrie Pagliano, a pelvic floor physical therapist and American Physical Therapy Association spokesperson.