What is Vaginismus? What Does Vaginismus Mean?

It is the most common sexual problem in women who apply to sexual therapy centers, psychologists and sexual therapists in Turkey. In our country, it is seen much more than the official rates in western countries. Vaginismus is the inability to have sexual intercourse or the painful/difficult occurrence of sexual intercourse due to recurrent or continuous contractions and severe pain in the muscles surrounding the outer third of the vagina when sexual intercourse is attempted. This contraction is an involuntary contraction that occurs outside the conscious control of the woman. This contraction is accompanied by contractions in the whole body, closure of the legs, almost a lockdown, fear, avoidance of sexual intercourse, the belief that there will be no entrance. Rarely, sexual intercourse occurs, but because the contraction continues, intercourse is painful or difficult.

There is also a type that can be called mild vaginismus. In this mild type, although the muscles in the vagina contract, the penis can enter the penis, but the perception that the woman still feels pain is active.

What are the symptoms of vaginismus?

Inability to have sexual intercourse is not the only symptom in individuals with vaginismus problems. Apart from this, there are many problems that people experience. Depending on its intensity, the symptoms of vaginismus range from minor discomfort to tightness, to complete closure of the vagina making intercourse impossible. The symptoms listed below should bring to mind the problem of vaginismus.

What are the symptoms of vaginismus?

  • Extremely painful sexual intercourse (Dyspareunia- Painful sexual intercourse)

  • Difficulty moving the penis inside as a result of contraction during intercourse

  • During sexual intercourse, the woman closes her legs or tries to prevent intercourse by pushing her partner.

  • Inability to insert tampons, suppositories or vaginal tablets into the vagina

  • Inability to insert a finger into the vagina

  • Inability to have a gynecological examination, for example, to have a smear test

  • Inability to touch or look at your vagina

  • Inability to undergo vaginal ultrasound

  • Stenosis that causes a slight burning or stinging sensation during sexual intercourse

  • Complete closure of the vagina and inability to enter

  • Avoiding sex or anything related to sex because of pain and failure

  • Loss of sexual desire

  • Involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles

All kinds of situations related to the vagina such as this cause great troubles for women with vaginismus and they avoid all kinds of issues related to the vagina, except for the vagina-penis union. If vaginismus is not treated, it causes bigger problems in both physical areas and sexual lives. What are the causes of vaginismus?

  • On average 90% psychologicalThe remaining rate of vaginismus, which is known to be known to be present, may be due to gynecological diseases or anatomical organic causes.

  • An average of 90% vaginismus problem is due to a number of psychological reasons. Women with vaginismus cannot control themselves. experience muscle contractions.

  • These contractions violenceIt can be different for every woman.

  • sexual myths or superstitions play a leading role in vaginismus. These myths; It creates false or exaggerated information about sexuality, hymen and the first night. Among the sexual myths, false and exaggerated thoughts and sensations, such as too much pain and bleeding in the first night, take place primarily.

  • A woman’s sexuality, virginity and hymen in upbringing Exaggerated or very harsh attitudes cause an exaggerated attribution in women. This opens the doors of vaginismus.

  • Some previous negative traumas related to sexuality; harassment, rape and sexual abuse are also causes of vaginismus.

  • Negative gynecological examination or surgical interventions experienced before; especially previous experience harsh gynecological examinationBeing hurt or afraid after abortion or childbirth can cause sexual function problems and vaginismus.

  • Although many women do not have any of these reasons, vaginismus problem may occur. It is known as unexplained vaginismus.

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Who gets vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a disorder involving pain and sex. The feeling of pain and pain harms the sexual intercourse and sex, and the union reaches dimensions that cannot be experienced. It is most common between the ages of 18-24. The problem of vaginismus is a problem in which social, cultural, psychological and physiological causes complement and integrate each other. It is more common in women who have been exposed to sexual abuse and trauma in childhood. Lack of sexual education, negative attitudes about sexuality, and the spread of horrifying stories are the social factors that affect vaginismus. Relationship problems experienced by the couple can also cause vaginismus, it has been determined that vaginismus is more common in women who are in a negative relationship. Vaginismus is the most common sexual dysfunction in our country, and our social structure increases the incidence of vaginismus. Some effects in our culture, such as sexual values, the meaning of sexuality, and the definition of sexual intercourse, have an important role in this high incidence. Lack of sexual education in our culture, women’s ignorance of their own sexual organs, the exaggerated importance given to the concept of virginity, the fact that sexual experience does not develop gradually but begins with direct sexual intercourse, taboos in the understanding of sexuality and myths about sexuality are among the reasons why vaginismus is more common in our culture. Vaginismus is a problem that can be seen in every segment of society. It is not correct to attribute the formation of vaginismus to a single factor. Many factors coexist in this problem. In general, vaginismus occurs due to psychological reasons arising from the personality structure of the person and the subconscious. The problem of most of the people who have vaginismus problems is psychological.

  • Family upbringing (oppressive, restrictive and conservative upbringing)

  • Broken and problematic family relationships

  • Incorrect or incomplete sexual information

  • Past and traumatic sexual experiences

  • Lack of sexual self-confidence

  • Relationship disorder between spouses

  • Sexual dysfunction in the partner

  • repetitive negative experiences

  • depression and anxiety

  • low sense of self

In summary, vaginismus is common in societies with a dominant and protective family structure, where the hymen is valuable and where strict moral rules are imposed, which must be protected until marriage. It is possible to develop vaginismus in virgin women who have been raised with the idea that sexuality is a shame and sin, who have been misinformed and exaggerated about the first night, who do not even know where their genitals are, who are afraid to touch and feel uncomfortable.

What is the first night fear?

Fear of the first night stems from a lack of sexual knowledge, misinformation, or exaggerated smell. Although it is more common in women, men also experience this fear or anxiety. The source of the fear women feel is that there will be too much bleeding, or that “what if there is no bleeding”, the thought that the penis will not be able to enter the vagina, the fear that it will hurt a lot even if it does.

In men, it includes concerns about not being able to get an erection, premature ejaculation or not showing the desired performance. Due to the exaggerated importance attached to the hymen and virginity in our society, it can be seen that while it is a balanced excitement that a woman should experience, it goes to a fear that she cannot control.

The woman both wants the bleeding to occur with the awareness that there should be bleeding, and actually does not want it internally because she is afraid. This serious dilemma that the woman experiences turns into a fear that she cannot cope with. The thoughts that harden this fear are also fed by exaggerated, false statements and feelings such as “the hymen will burst” “the hymen will burst” “the blood will bleed”. This situation that the woman experiences becomes stronger and settles in her mind in the process from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to womanhood.

The pressure on the already tired and exhausted couple is increased by the necessity that the first night or the wedding night should be the night of the wedding. In this case, the pleasure that the couple should experience can almost turn into torture.

The truth is that after all, he shouldn’t have to double that night. The couple can cuddle and sleep. It is a healthy state that they should experience more comfortable sexual intercourse when they are tired and ready physically and psychologically, or they should experience more stress-free sexual intercourse without experiencing that fear.

The couple must decide together what and when to live. In the end, the important thing is that men and women get used to each other. After resting that night, everything will be more enjoyable the next day or the next day when both of the couple are ready.

Can vaginismus be noticed before sexual intercourse?

Vaginismus can be noticed before marriage or before having the first sexual experience. The person’s point of view towards sexuality can give preliminary information. In other words, their expressions and attitudes about their fears, anxieties, prejudices can give quite a bit of information about the person’s point of view.

  • Before sexual intercourse, he can have foreplay, but with involuntary movements and contractions, he pushes his partner or withdraws himself.

  • When sexual intercourse takes place, he thinks that he will bleed a lot and will feel very painful, and he does not allow intercourse.

  • He is so afraid of sexual intercourse that even foreplay does not take place.

  • Every sexual intercourse situation becomes an “attempt to have intercourse”.

  • Although he desires to have intercourse with his wife, he constantly postpones, finds excuses, and avoids sexual intercourse.

  • Sexual intercourse may remain in the form of insertion of very little part of the penis and cannot go further.

  • She is very afraid of vaginal gynecological examination and cannot be examined.

  • In some cases, it is difficult to be examined, but in the case of sexual intercourse, the contraction is exaggerated and involuntary.

  • She may not be able to have full sexual intercourse, she may become pregnant with external ejaculation, and even birth may occur.

  • There is sexual desire, although he desires to have intercourse with his wife, he cannot have intercourse.

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What can spouses do in vaginismus?

In vaginismus, the behavior and approach of the spouse is very important. The man should learn the basic causes and information about vaginismus in order to understand and better assist his partner’s condition. First of all, she should know that her husband does not do this knowingly and intentionally, that he cannot control it, that is, it is a reflex. He should make his wife feel that he is with her in every way. This will relax her partner and increase her willingness to take a step towards treatment. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to solve the problem. Because the problem of vaginismus is already a very difficult situation for women. It should be known that women who receive the support of their husbands are much more comfortable than women who cannot overcome the problem.

The man should know that it is not because of his wife’s negative feelings about him. The causes of vaginismus are mostly subconscious problems or incomplete sexual information etc. Because it is so, a man should never own it. However, the wrong, rude, impatient and unsupportive behavior of the man will increase the existing problems and the risk of accompanying problems regarding the couple relationship will increase.

What are the symptoms of vaginismus?

Inability to have sexual intercourse is not the only symptom in individuals with vaginismus problems. Apart from this, there are many problems that people experience. Depending on its intensity, the symptoms of vaginismus range from minor discomfort to tightness, to complete closure of the vagina making intercourse impossible. The symptoms listed below should bring to mind the problem of vaginismus.

What are the symptoms of vaginismus?

  • Extremely painful sexual intercourse (Dyspareunia- Painful sexual intercourse)

  • Difficulty moving the penis inside as a result of contraction during intercourse

  • During sexual intercourse, the woman closes her legs or tries to prevent intercourse by pushing her partner.

  • Inability to insert tampons, suppositories or vaginal tablets into the vagina

  • Inability to insert a finger into the vagina

  • Inability to have a gynecological examination, for example, to have a smear test

  • Inability to touch or look at your vagina

  • Inability to undergo vaginal ultrasound

  • Stenosis that causes a slight burning or stinging sensation during sexual intercourse

  • Complete closure of the vagina and inability to enter

  • Avoiding sex or anything related to sex because of pain and failure

  • Loss of sexual desire

  • Involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles

All kinds of situations related to the vagina such as this cause great troubles for women with vaginismus and they avoid all kinds of issues related to the vagina, except for the vagina-penis union. If vaginismus is not treated, it causes bigger problems in both physical areas and sexual lives.

Can vaginismus patients get pregnant?

The problem of vaginismus does not prevent pregnancy. About 1 in 10 women who have vaginismus problems can get pregnant without sexual intercourse and they usually give birth by cesarean section. Since sexual intercourse does not occur in vaginismus, it is not possible for pregnancy to occur in this way as a natural result. There is a problem only in experiencing the sexual intercourse necessary for conception. A person with vaginismus who becomes pregnant as a result of medical treatments or, in rare cases, by friction, has a normal pregnancy.

A woman with vaginismus can give birth to a child. However, the problem of vaginismus continues after delivery. Vaginismus needs to be treated after delivery. Because the psychological effects of vaginismus cause women to have problems in many areas. Fears and anxieties underlying vaginismus negatively affect their relationships with their spouses and their social lives. It can also cause marital problems in the future. For the treatment of the vaginismus problem, steps should be taken after or before the birth.

How is vaginismus treated?

How is vaginismus treated?

One of the most curious questions of a person with vaginismus is whether there is a treatment. Psychological factors are very high in vaginismus, which is a mental distress and a feeling of fear is intense. Therefore, the treatment method of vaginismus is sexual therapy specific to vaginismus. Until today, many physical and mental applications have been made for the treatment of vaginismus, but it has been concluded that the most effective is sexual therapy. Another question is whether the therapy or treatment will be successful. The answer to this question is also “yes”. Vaginismus treatment with sexual therapy is 100% possible and successful.

Sex therapy is a method of psychotherapy, it does not involve a physical examination. Since vaginismus is not a physical but a psychological problem, sexual therapy methods specific to vaginismus are applied for the treatment of vaginismus. Although the therapy process varies according to the individuals and the severity of the vaginismus, it consists of approximately 6-12 sessions. The reason for this is the step-by-step progress of the applied techniques. In some cases, these steps can be changed according to the person, faster or slower progress can be made. One of the situations encountered is when people diagnose themselves as vaginismus. We would like to mention that; not every person who puts this diagnosis on himself/herself has vaginismus. This problem can be overcome more quickly and easily by changing sexual information and false beliefs about sexuality.

Vaginismus therapies are short-term and problem-focused. In the therapy process, it is ensured that vaginismus is perceived not only as a woman’s problem but also as a common problem for the couple. The focus is on eliminating the couple’s perspectives and misconceptions about sexuality and giving correct information instead. For the treatment of vaginismus, wanting to solve the problem and believing that it can be done is an important step. Therefore, the couple should take responsibility and contribute together. Especially in people who receive the positive support of their spouses, the problem can be resolved in a short time.

One of the question marks of people with vaginismus problems is what they will encounter in the treatment, whether they will be asked to do the things they are afraid to do. They have requests to solve the problem. However, fear also comes into play at this point, resulting in their hesitation from the stages in the treatment process. However, vaginismus is a problem that is easy to solve. The first step to solve vaginismus, also known as a procrastination problem, is to decide on the treatment. The person who decides on the treatment, his spouse and the therapist will work as a team to overcome this problem easily.

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