This 'secret syndrome' has women avoiding sex like the plague

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Illustration by Getty Images
Illustration by Getty Images

  • Vaginismus is known as the "secret syndrome".
  • Women feel shame when they experience it and suffer in silence.
  • Intimacy and relationship coach says there is no need to wallow in misery; all you need to do is get help.

Not knowing what is happening with your body can keep you in isolation, confused and hopeless, especially where intimacy issues are involved. Not only do you suffer alone, but your relationship does too.

Intimacy coach Tracy Ziman Jacobs says women do not need to carry shame when experiencing vaginismus. 

"Vaginismus is a disorder whereby the muscles in the pelvic floor involuntarily contract to the extent that the vagina will not allow entry of any object whatsoever, from a tampon, a finger, to an earbud."

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She tells us that instead, Tracy encourages women not to wallow in misery and give up on ever experiencing sexual pleasure but rather seek help because this is treatable. 

Is there something holding you back from experiencing sexual intimacy? Tell us here.

"It is known as the "secret syndrome" so many women suffer, yet nobody talks about it. Women tend to feel as though they are "broken" or "abnormal", or "something is wrong with me", so their shame keeps them from seeking medical help."

She adds that they may avoid talking about sex with anyone. "If women felt more comfortable speaking openly with others about their struggles, they would discover that they are not alone in the world and that many other women are suffering alone. It's the shame that keeps them quiet."

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How it affects women

Those who have experienced it avoid sexual intimacy like the plague, Tracy says. This includes hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, massage, 'make-out' sessions etc. "They avoid these activities for fear of them resulting in intercourse."

When the natural desire for intimacy is suppressed because of something you are keeping to yourself, it can make you feel lonely, low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness may creep in, and you may feel guilt. Tracy explains that you may feel guilty because you deprive your partner of sex. 

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"Eventually, the partner will stop initiating sex for fear of rejection and of hurting you. Their self-esteem takes a dive from the constant rejection. So this cat-and-mouse game begins, and the couple either is too tired of talking about the same thing over again or don't talk about it at all."

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