Who can predict a perfect sexual night can end on an awkward note? Full body wax – done, sexy nightgown – done, honeymoon suite – done, flavoured condoms – done, and we were set to take on the night. The expectations were high and so were the couple. They teased each other, made jokes, set up the music and the works. But everything came crashing down when it was time for intercourse. The woman’s arousal was evident but the pleasure wasn’t. A very special night ended in tears. She had no idea what had happened, neither did her partner. “Did I do something wrong?” She remembers him asking worriedly. They decided it was performance pressure and reassured ourselves for a lovely time tomorrow. The next day, after a round of sightseeing and a relaxing massage, they tried it again. Same story again. Crest fallen and thoroughly confused, she called her friends in a panic until one of them introduced her to my condition – vaginismus.
The internet filled with information, and visiting a gynaecologist is never the first option. So, like any woman armed with a smartphone, women frantically google Vaginismus and it throws back thousands of pages dedicated to it. Strange that a condition so common, is equally unheard of. I myself, skimmed through the websites and here’s what I found.
Vaginismus is a condition where a woman experiences pain due to involuntary or persistent contraction of vaginal walls when it is penetrated. Its main participants are the PC muscles (pubococcygeus muscle group) aka the pelvic floor muscles aka the love muscles (the one responsible for urination, intercourse, orgasm, complete bowel movements and deliver babies) with a muscle memory to flinch or contract itself against the potential pain of intercourse. The pain may vary from mild/moderate to severe discomfort. This condition is harder to diagnose since it doesn’t impact a woman’s libido or her sexual desire. Women may suffer while still being able to get aroused.
Even though there is no textbook causes for vaginismus, some known causes include fear of pregnancy, fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, negative attitude towards sex, history of sexual trauma and fear of pain or bleeding due to penetration. It can also be due to certain childhood trauma as well.
And when the mind anticipates pain, Vaginismus becomes a conditioned response to vaginal penetration. However, let’s not confuse it with Dyspareunia, in which pain is caused due to the presence of cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease etc. This condition can affect any woman, in any stage of life – even if you have earlier have had a healthy sexual intercourse or vaginal penetration.
However,there are treatments that can ease the situation a bit. In-fact if left untreated, the condition can worsen over time, increasing in severity.
A few treatment remedies include-
SEX THERAPY AND COUNSELLING:
A sex therapist can help you with relaxation techniques. You can either go solo or with your partner.
Quite popular these days, Kegel exercises help strengthen your vaginal muscles.
DESENSITISING YOUR VAGINA TO ACCEPT PENETRATION
Masturbating with your fingers and battery operated boyfriends can help make the vagina more receptive. You can eventually engage with your partner as well.
MAKE YOUR PARTNER MORE AWARE
It is important that your partner continues to encourage and reassure you instead of pushing you. Remember, for you to be able to perform comfortably, you should trust your partner to know your limits.
USING VAGINAL DILATORS
Vastly helpful in treating vaginismus, these dilators help you have more control on the angle, size, and speed of the penetration. It helps eliminate the PC muscle reflexes during intercourse.
MORE COMFORTABLE POSITIONS
There are a few positions that can limit the pain while others could enhance it. It is suggested that you try to perform sexual activities the most comfortable surroundings. Uncomfortable places like the back of a car may prove more painful.
However, no treatment can help a woman suffering from vaginismus if she is in a forced relationship, or being forced into any sexual activity. But the best way forward, I have realized, is consulting a gynaecologist and take it ahead.