Thank you for your vulnerable question. Sex should ideally not be painful. The pain symptom you have described is referred to as dyspareunia, meaning, persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after sex.
Generally, when we talk about painful sex, we are referring to vaginal penetration and intercourse. If you are experiencing something similar where any type of penetration feels uncomfortable and painful then you may be suffering from Vaginismus.
Let’s get the jargon out of the way! Firstly,
What is Vaginismus?
It is a condition in which the muscles in the vagina go into spasm.
These muscles can contract and expand like an elastic balloon. Generally, the vagina can expand up to 200 times its size during arousal and intercourse, and contracts during orgasms. The reality is that the vagina is very stretchy and can mold to fit around any penis size and open so wide as to allow a fully grown baby to pass through it.
The symptom that you describe can be a result of prolonged contraction of the vagina. These contractions put these muscles under tension for extended periods of time, which makes penetration of the vagina during intercourse extremely painful or impossible.
As a Somatic Sensory Sexologist and Educator, Vaginismus Therapy is explored through my practice as a Somatic Vaginismus Therapist.
We first have to understand the root course of Vaginismus. Vaginismus can occur due to either physical or psychological issues. Physical issues such as small tears in the sensitive skin around the opening of the vagina could cause irritation and pain. Some medications may also interfere with the arousal process and may lead to pain.
It is believed that Vaginismus is caused by subconscious psychological issues around intimacy and sex. Some women with a history of trauma or abuse sometimes develop the condition.
On the surface, you might not think that there’s anything wrong with your relationship with sex. You may enjoy all the aspects leading to penetration and crave it, and wonder what is going on!
Some women have no conscious recollection of any trauma and yet anxiety exists. In my personal practice, as a Somatic Vaginismus Therapist, my clients often experience unconscious anxiety around sex that can range from cultural shaming or guilt to an insecure sense of self.
“9 out of my 10 clients here in South Africa, hold some sort of body shame.” Zakir
As a Somatic Vaginismus Therapist, my focus is based on creating positive feedback loops within the client’s nervous system that allow them to become more aware of their internal sense of self.
As one becomes aware of the internal awareness of self, Vaginismus Therapy promotes and invites the unwinding of the nervous system into a deeper state of relaxation which invites a sense of safety and trust within the experience of receiving pleasure.
This safety and trust allows the nervous system to rewire itself to a different state of experiencing pleasure through penetration.
Here is Sabeha’s Story
A client of mine, Sabeha’s in South Africa came to see me with her husband a few years ago. She was diagnosed with Vaginismus and was curious about it, and sought my professional expertise as a Somatic Vaginismus Therapist to help them move forward. Their objective besides having great sex was to have a child as well. Any type of penetration was extremely painful. Eight months later she had fallen pregnant and was delighted.
How did we get her there? A lot of fun, play, and humor! I invited both her husband and herself to join me for the first session. They learned to truly relax and slow things down. A little bit of magic touch and some enticing of the mind allowed her to be fully present in her body and this allowed them to continue with a step-by-step process of inviting more pleasure and less pain into their intimacy. You can listen to her testimonial here…
As a Somatic Vaginismus Therapist in South Africa, I’ve seen a lot of cases in which subconscious anxiety plays a factor.
So, to get you started along the journey of bringing more pleasure into your sex life, here are 3 tips to help you overcome painful sex.
3 Tips For Vaginismus
1) Cultivate a relationship with your Vagina
Start talking to your vagina, embody her with a personality by giving her a name. Allow her to speak. What would she say? This might sound silly, but the practice is quite powerful. We are creating a mind-body connection which is the building block to healing.
2) Conscious Breath
Use deep slow rhythmical breaths to relax the body and observe the mind. Notice what thoughts are running through? Be a witness to these thoughts and notice how your body tenses or relax as you observe them. With this understanding, you can invite your body into greater spaces of relaxation and be more at ease.
Certain poses can help ease the tension within the body, especially around the pelvic area. Such a pose is the frog pose. The frog pose is an excellent exercise for loosening the muscles around the pelvic area and groin.
I always say, “Through Pleasure, We Heal”.
Embody your success in life and in the bedroom. Be present on the journey and let go of chasing the destination. You can and will reach it in the most playful of ways. It is just a matter of changing perspective.
If you like to schedule a One on One deep dive into your own tailored solution on moving past your symptoms to epic sex and great Orgasms you can book your discovery call here.
Somatic Vaginismus Therapist
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