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There is no reason to live with vaginismus – it is a treatable condition!

Vaginismus continues to be an elusive and embarrassing condition despite widespread online visibility in recent years. Professionals are still unsure how to diagnose vaginismus, vaginismus treatment is not standardized, misconceptions abound, and the women who suffer from vaginismus often find themselves left alone searching for solutions.

Learn about our proprietary treatment for vaginismus & sexual pain, the DiRoss Methodology sm

I Thought My Vagina Was Just Abnormally Small or Tight

Below you will find everything about vaginismus. If we have not gone over something you wish to have information for, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Click on any item in the Table of Content, or peruse the bars below and click on the arrow sign to read the information.

Table Of Contents

What is Vaginismus?

What is vaginismus? Vaginismus is a vagina in panic… The instantaneous, involuntary (psychosomatic) tightening of the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of vaginal penetration. This reaction will occur if penetration is perceived as upsetting, painful (even before attempting it!), frightening, or dangerous, making the body scream out loud, “NO ENTRY!” Occasionally, the condition will be caused by a physical problem such as a birth defect or surgery.

Whether you call it vaginismus, vaginismo, vaginisme, vaginamus , vagismus, vaginism, vaginimus, vagism, vagimus, vagisimus, vaginmus, vaginusmus, vaginismum, vaginisimus, vaginsimus, vagnismus, vaginius, vaginismis, vaginisums, vaginisium, vaginisumus, vagimus, vagissimus, vaganismus, vaginsmus, vagisimus, or vaginismu – the condition is the same: painful, or non-existent vaginal penetrations.

What Causes Vaginismus?

The following are the most common causes of vaginismus in order of prevalence. Note that, contrary to common belief, abuse is not at all on this list!

  • Fear of pain, mostly because they heard from friends how painful it was for them.
  • Fear of the unknown: how will it feel inside, how will I react, what if I don’t like it, etc.
  • Religious inhibitions and taboos
  • Fear of the vagina: being an invisible body part is a substantial contributing factor to worries and fallacies
  • You perceive the vagina as fragile, thus worrying about scratching, hurting, breaking something inside it (invisible, remember?), etc.
  • Past experience with discomfort, i.e., infection, a rough partner, a dry & uncomfortable vagina, etc.
  • Misconception about sex and sexuality
  • The inability to say NO to unwanted sex
  • Parental indulgence and over-protectiveness, limiting the ability to deal with life’s challenges (including vaginal use)

While the woman may not know why she has vaginismus, she certainly knows that she is not friendly with her vagina and cannot use it naturally or in “the normal way.”

There are five (5) body areas that are responsive to emotional stress, with symptoms of vaginismus being involuntary as well as present on/off as per stress level:

  1. Head — expresses stress like headaches, migraines, TMJ (jaw tightening, teeth grinding);
  2. Neck — expresses stress as a stiff neck, often to the point of arms going numb;
  3. Low back — expresses stress as low back pain, sciatica, etc.
  4. Digestive system — expresses stress as the acidic stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, pain, etc.;
  5. Genitals/pelvic floor — expresses stress as difficulties relaxing enough to void, spasm pains, and vaginismus.

Of course, the natural tendency is to suspect a medical problem, and, indeed, there are different potential causes for these problems.

When medical examination and testing will not find any physical reason to justify the above complaints, emotional stress can be established, and proper intervention is a must.

Psychosomatic physical expressions like these, under the influence of stress hormones such as cortisol, tend to expand over time and may eventually cause tissue breakdown because of an associated inflammatory process.

In other words, stress is not a good thing for our body-mind health!

A stressed individual – male or female – may have more than one such body area ‘activated.’ And indeed, when it comes to vaginismus symptoms, it is quite common to see women who suffer from stress activation in several of those body areas, not only in her pelvic floor!

How to Diagnose Vaginismus? | Do I have Vaginismus?

Diagnosing vaginismus is quite simple: it requires identifying an inability, or a great difficulty, with one or more of the following Five Penetrations of Life SM

  • Finger
  • Tampon
  • Applicator
  • Intercourse (or use of penis-size dildo)
  • Gynecologic exam

A woman may have none of the penetrations, or she may be able to have some, but not all of them. However, intercourse is always problematic or impossible.

Note: Although most women self-diagnose, this information is not intended to replace prompt medical care

Watch What is vaginismus?
VIDEO: What is vaginismus? (*Results may vary from person to person)
Watch Vaginismus – A Private Pain
VIDEO: Vaginismus - a Private Pain (*Results may vary from person to person)
Watch The pain was unbearable… I thought something was wrong
VIDEO: The pain was unbearable... I thought something was wrong (* Results may vary from person to person)

What are the Types of Vaginismus?

What are the Types of Vaginismus?

There are two main types of vaginismus:

Primary vaginismus:

Primary vaginismus is when the woman was never able to have vaginal penetration/s or has always struggled with them, women feel trapped, with feelings of panic and anxiety, being “stuck with it forever,” of feeling inadequate, and “the only one who suffers from this…”

Partners suffer as well, feeling frustrated, helpless, rejected, and inadequate. Inaccurate sexual information and the lack of understanding of the woman’s body will worsen the crisis, often leading to alienation; it is not unusual for some women in a relationship to suggest a breakup because they feel that they cannot “do what a woman should do” because of their primary vaginismus.

Secondary vaginismus:

Secondary vaginismus is when the woman lost the ability to have vaginal penetration/s. Causes include gynecologic surgery, Menopause, cancer treatment & radiation, emotional or relationship crisis, frequent painful urogenital infections, and Sexually Transmitted infections.

Although these women will remember that penetrations used to be fine, they are now faced with painful/impossible vaginal penetrations, making them feel just as isolated and hopeless as those with primary vaginismus.

Typically speaking, a solution is simple and takes just a few treatment sessions.

Grading Vaginismus | Severe or Mild Vaginismus?

Grading Vaginismus – Many of our patients will attempt to grade the severity of their vaginismus from mild to severe, from partial to complete. They will do so for their own self-reassurance and comfort, or because they worry that we won’t know what to do if they are ‘severe,’ or because that is what they were told by others.

Having treated nearly 2000 cases (as of March 2021), we differ from the current published criteria for grading vaginismus (see listing below).

For us, it is NEVER a matter of ‘mild’ or ‘severe’ but is rather about the severity and disruptive quality of the underlying anxiety. And, it is not just about the gynecologic examination, but about any & all vaginal penetrations – it is about the whole woman and her use of the vagina!

Be reminded that vaginismus is a psychosomatic condition, or to say it differently – it is a symptom of anxiety, not the cause of it.

That said, we never grade vaginismus nor find a reason to do such. For us, it is about offering expert body-mind intervention while managing HER anxiety, may it be mild, severe, or anything in-between.

*******************************

Currently published criteria for grading the severity of vaginismus include,

  • The presence of reactions upon an intended or actual gynecologic examination, such as increased heart rate, palpitations, hyperventilation, trembling, shaking, nausea or vomiting, crying uncontrollably, a feeling of lightheadedness and fainting, a desire to jump off the table, run away or even attack the clinician;
  • Visibly identifiable vaginal muscle spasm upon examination;
  • The ability/inability to follow vaginismus treatment recommendation due to level of fear and anxiety;
  • The ability to self-treat vs the need for professional intervention.

What are the Symptoms of Vaginismus?

Vaginismus Symptoms:

Pain: Although vaginismus causes various physical and emotional symptoms that every woman will experience in her own way, pain is the main feature and the one shared by all sufferers regardless of the severity of their condition.

It is important to emphasize that vaginismus’s pain is not “in the woman’s head.” Rather, it is a real physical pain from the panic reaction to penetration, the product of a Fight or Flight response.

  • It is like hitting a brick wall;
  • A ripping struggle to enter me (because I must be too small);
  • Sharp pains in the vagina;
  • Burning at the vaginal opening;
  • Pressure in the vagina
  • Burning and pain for hours or even days afterward;
  • The sensation of a needle/knife poking me;
  • Pains in the lower abdomen.

Concerning gynecologic examination, women will tend to avoid them or will suffer terribly through them.

Tampon use? Women will settle for sanitary pads and come up with excuses for why they prefer them over tampons.

To explain this further, watch the videos on this page.

Watch I ran away from my vaginismus for 16 years, until now…
VIDEO: I ran away from my vaginismus for 16 years, until now... (*Results may vary from person to person)
Watch Vaginismus: secret pain, broken sexuality, successful treatment, and the cure
VIDEO: Vaginismus: secret pain, broken sexuality, successful treatment, and the cure (* Results may vary from person to person)
Watch Vaginismus: my vagina and I are becoming best friends
VIDEO: Vaginismus: my vagina and I are becoming best friends (* Results may vary from person to person). Video image is opaque for anonymity.

Coping with Vaginismus | How to Deal with Vaginismus?

Coping With Vaginismus: How does a woman, whether single or in a relationship, lesbian or heterosexual, cope with the devastation of vaginismus?

Women will employ a wide range of survival tools aimed at painting as normal a picture as possible, in essence pretending that all is fine yet knowing full well that there is a painful truth behind it, including:

  • Rationalization and self-reasoning, such as “I am waiting for the right man;”
  • keeping such an active life as to disallow any opportunity for unwanted thoughts or actions about her vaginismus;
  • planning life to avoid any opportunity to encounter vaginismus, such as refusing to watch romantic movies, not dating, not walking by the tampon aisle, not going to weddings; entering compromised relationships where vaginismus becomes just another item on a long list of issues;
  • somatization, the phenomenon of multiple and recurring physical complaints for which medical intervention is constantly being sought, yet for which a physical explanation cannot be found.
  • More extreme coping tools include terminating a relationship, ending a marriage, substance abuse, depression, suffering in silence, and resorting to assisted reproduction or adoption.

Vaginismus Treatment and Cure | Overcome Vaginismus

When seeking treatment for vaginismus, women are divided into:

  • Those who cannot self-treat or are not successful with self-treatment, as well as those who opt for professional help upon diagnosis.  Read Nabs’ story, and read and listen to Jessie’s story.  Our expert vaginismus treatment options — a weekly program or a concentrated 2-week program (see details below) — were designed to provide an effective solution*.
  •  Those who can self-treat with education, encouragement, and/or self-help dilator kits obtained from their doctors, counselors, the Internet, sex shops, etc. Read Christiane’s story.

Much as we would have loved to offer vaginismus treatment to every interested woman, and despite ongoing requests, we are yet to find a way to do it virtually… We have realized, time and again, that there is no replacement for touching the body & the mind in person when providing a vaginismus cure.

We offer two vaginismus treatment options to account for travel and time logistics. Either program leads to the same end result: owning the vagina and using it without limitations:

  • A weekly program: if you live within a reasonable travel distance and can come to us once or twice per week. The entire treatment process takes 7-10 sessions, each session lasting about 50-55 minutes and dedicated to your particular needs;
  • A concentrated 2-week program: for those who live too far to attend the weekly program, or have minimal vacation time. If interested, make sure to read the page dedicated to this option.
  • Why choose us? Read about our approach, style, and other details that will help you better understand our intervention and what to expect.

Will vaginismus come back after treatment?

The vaginismus cure should be life-long if the woman follows along with our discharge instructions, which may include specific management of underlying anxiety/panic/OdCD. 

Bottom line (no pun intended): vaginismus is a body-mind phenomenon and both aspects must be properly resolved for a life-long cure, a joint effort between a skilled clinician and a responsible patient.

Can Vaginismus be Cured?

YES, vaginismus can be cured!

Vaginismus treatment & vaginismus cure require diffusing the associated psychosomatic reaction so the woman can befriend her vagina and use it as she wishes. There is no reason to live with vaginismus!

See our testimonials page vaginismus success stories

How Long Does it Take to Cure Vaginismus?

(The following are statistical averages and should not be taken as absolute numbers)

  • 7-10 sessions for those who live close enough to be treated once or twice weekly;
  • 20 sessions for those who come for the 2-week program. This process requires more time because of its concentrated, intense nature.
Watch Treatment for vaginismus – misconceptions and fallacies
VIDEO: Vaginismus Treatment Common Misconceptions and Fallacies

Vaginismus Misconceptions

Vaginismus continues to be an elusive condition that is often misdiagnosed and poorly managed due to limited understanding and resources by the medical community.

Women, and partners, have embraced the Internet as it offers them a venue to research resources for vaginismus treatment without disclosing their suffering in fear of shame or embarrassment.

However, like any other researched topic, one needs to decipher truth from false for accurate and reliable decision-making. With vaginismus being an anxiety-based condition and with posts that are rich with personal struggles, that may be a tall order.

Common misconceptions about vaginismus treatment include:

  • It will be painful;
  • It will take many months to cure;
  • It is impossible to predict how many treatment sessions are needed;
  • You have to get aroused for it to work;
  • Kegel exercises are a must;
  • Need to keep the dilator in the vagina for (so many) minutes or hours;
  • Need to wiggle the dilator when inserted;
  • We need to use a mirror for penetration;
  • I need to look at my vaginal insertion;
  • Need to get partner’s finger involved;
  • Need to do relaxation breathing for penetration to happen;
  • The dilator should go in slowly;
  • It helps to image a pretty place while doing penetration/s;
  • It is about sex;
  • Doing sports/swimming/exercising is not advisable;
  • Must always stroll, never walk fast;
  • Do not ever cross your legs;
  • Taking a hot bath before/after treatment is helpful;
  • Stop (dilation/treatment) if uncomfortable;
  • You must have a hymen;
  • Masturbation is important;
  • Child pose (yoga) is helpful;
  • The muscles need to be pulled back;
  • Do dilation standing up;
  • There is no cure; You have to learn to live with vaginismus.

The list is long and goes on. The confusion is deep. The damage to the woman’s body & mind is injurious and devastating. This is wrong!

Fact: vaginal use is a natural activity of the body; there is no reason to medicalize it. Vaginismus is not a broken vagina but rather a healthy vagina that is in-panic.

Why is Vaginismus Treatment so Confusing with Advances in Medicine, and Available Information?

  • Because vaginismus is NOT a disease/pathology/physical anomaly but rather a stress response of the sympathetic nervous system, our guardian, at times of fear, worry, or danger. Vaginismus is a psychosomatic condition, a fusion between medical and mental health that is not yet in the professional mainstream.
  • Because of the woman’s inability to look at the vagina to see if anything is wrong because of its location inside the pelvis, unlike the male’s penis that is external and may be looked at anytime. The only time she can see her vagina is when a speculum is used, which is typically done only during a gynecologic examination.  No wonder this invisibility makes the vagina quite mysterious and misunderstood to the point of believing that pain upon penetration – or complete inability to penetrate – must signal a physical problem with the potential for further harm.
  • Because the woman with vaginismus will have difficulty believing that nothing is wrong with her vagina, she will often insist that there must be something physically wrong, mainly because the connection between our stress response system and the genitals is still not widely recognized nor accepted.

By the time our vaginismus treatment process gets to demonstrating a gynecologic exam, we make sure to have each patient looks at her vagina through the open speculum, to which she will typically exclaim, ‘Oh, it is so big inside — nothing like what I imagined all this time…” 

Some women will ask us to take a photo of their vagina to keep on their mobile phone as proof that it is merely a simple canal that connects the outside world to the uterus. Yet a canal that is subjective to reactive clenching, which vaginismus is all about…

How Common is Vaginismus? | How Many Suffer From Vaginismus? | How Many Overcome Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a common yet secretive medical condition that eludes clinicians and the women who suffer from it. Its prevalence is speculative because most sufferers are too embarrassed to disclose their ‘problem’ at the risk of being shamed or dismissed, opting instead to live in silence while believing that they are the “only one” with the condition.

You may want to visit our Vaginismus Statistics – How many women have vaginismus? page for more information.

Vaginismus Dilators

Vaginal dilators have been a vital component of vaginismus treatment. They may be used as a home kit for self-treatment or by a clinician attending to the condition.

When trying to self-treat with dilators, success is variable: some will be successful, some will continue to struggle, and some won’t be able to use even the smallest in the set as they are just too scared to insert anything into their vagina, or are terrified of the pain they anticipate. And some will be able to use the entire dilator set but not be able to transition to intercourse or any other vaginal penetration.

Does a woman need to see herself inserting a dilator into the vagina?

Is a mirror a mandatory component of the treatment? Not at all. We are wired to know our orifices and to use them intuitively without a visual cue: we feed without a mirror, we wipe after voiding without looking, and we can put a finger in our ear or nose without a problem. Had we not been wired such, blindness would have been a devastating affliction, and being in the dark or without a mirror would have stopped us from using our bodies. We would have been extinct…

Do you need to relax before inserting the dilator?

No. Just a quick reflection of acceptance, a quick exhalation upon initial insertion, and a quick reminder that the vagina was built to function should do it.

Sleeping with the vaginismus dilator in the vagina?

No need. Vaginismus is not about a physical restriction but rather a reaction to penetration. And besides, nothing in life stays in the vagina with the exception of a tampon…

A typical comment when practicing with dilators: “I cannot see how this will ever be enjoyable!”  Be reminded that the treatment itself is not arousing,  that for the woman, enjoyable intercourse is not fathomable when penetration is painful and distressing, or while ‘in training,’ and that sexual arousal will not make penetration possible nor will it take the pain away (a common misconception).

Conclusion: the first step is owning the vagina and being able to have vaginal penetrations in neutrality (no pain, no distress); next – opt to allow enjoyment/arousal to happen.

Never hesitate to weigh your success with self-treatment vs. seeking professional help so as to keep the associated anxiety from growing.

Vaginismus Treatment Exercises

There are no ‘vaginismus’ exercises per se because the vagina is a basic body part that should work on auto-pilot!

However, there are vaginal training activities that are an integral part of vaginismus treatment, such as dilator use, practice with a finger or a tampon, etc.

Read the Vaginismus Misconceptions tab on this page for additional comments about often-prescribed exercises such as stretching, Kegels, yoga, etc, which do not contribute to vaginismus resolution, as well as Vaginismus, Vagina, Exercising post.

Who Treats Vaginismus?

Clinicians who treat vaginismus include gynecologists, pelvic floor physical therapists, psychotherapists, sexual counselors, and clinical sexologists.

To each their own knowledge, methodology, experience, and statistical outcome. Make sure to explore it with them in order to find the right resource for you.

Our expert vaginismus practice has been in operation since 1996, with thousands of cases cured. On this page you can find information about our treatment options, why choose us, our DiRoss Methodology, outcome statistics, and testimonials.

Contact us for further information or to speak with us directly.

Can a Hymen Cause Vaginismus?

Typically, NO.

The presence of a hymen does not cause vaginismus but may restrict or limit vaginal access. Women with an intact hymen but without vaginismus will present in a whole different way than a woman with vaginismus. Read our blog post on vaginismus and hymen.

Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, or Vestibulitis?

It is common to group vaginismus, vulvodynia, and vulvar vestibulitis into one and it takes a proficient clinician to know the difference.

  • Vulvodynia refers to symptoms in the vulva, which is the area of the female genitalia when one separates the outer lips (labia majora);
  • Vulvar vestibulitis refers to symptoms in the vestibule, which is the small area surrounding the vaginal opening;
  • Vaginismus is the inability to have vaginal penetration/s, or the severe duress she experiences when having vaginal penetration/s.

Women with vulvodynia or vulvar vestibulitis often feel they have a swollen vestibule yet they can have vaginal penetration/s.  However, the associated pain/burning/discomfort complicate matters, making them avoid any contact or penetration.  Such reluctance may easily escalate – due to a psychosomatic reaction – into becoming vaginismus.

Unfortunately, vaginismus remains an elusive diagnosis while (vulvar) vestibulitis has become the (quick) answer to vulvogenital problems.

Is the Q-tip Test Efficient for Diagnosing Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, or Vulvar Vestibulitis?

How to Have Sex with Someone with Vaginismus?

Having sex can mean different things to different people, so let’s crystalize it:

  • Sex can be penetrative, i.e. vaginal intercourse, anal sex;
  • Sex can be non-penetrative, i.e. manual, oral, rubbing, virtual, etc.;
  • Sex can be self-masturbation, with or without vaginal penetration with a finger or a sex toy;

Women with vaginismus can lead a satisfying, healthy sexual life that includes all of the above with the exception of vaginal intercourse, which may be either impossible, or possible but with great duress.

Note: you can get pregnant from non-penetrative sexual activity if the man ejaculates by your genital lips during the week leading to ovulation! See our entry about that, below.

Vaginismus – Lost My Sex Drive

We regularly hear from women with vaginismus comments such as “I lost my sex drive because of vaginismus… I am no longer interested… I used to love fooling around but it is all gone since I cannot have intercourse… I feel bad for him but I would rather not engage at all.”

This sexual shutdown stems from

  • Her feeling inadequate, broken, not a ‘real woman;’
  • Her worry that the partner will ‘try to slip into my tight vagina;’
  • Engaging sexually reminds her of the vaginismus in a sad, victimized way;
  • Who wants to engage if pain is inevitable? Why suffer?

And with this shutdown, comes another question: “Will I ever regain my sexual interest?” The answer is a positive YES once you befriend your vagina and can use it as wished, and without pain.

Watch I suffered with vaginismus for 10 years of marriage and it took over my life
VIDEO: I suffered with vaginismus for 10 years of marriage and it took over my life (*Results may vary from person to person)
Watch We kicked vaginismus’ butt! (* Results may vary from person to person)
VIDEO: We kicked vaginismus' butt! (* Results may vary from person to person)
Watch Our Journey with Vaginismus
VIDEO: Our marriage was unconsummated for 12 years before we found vaginismus treatment, and a cure... (* Results may vary from person to person)
Watch Vaginismus: what is wrong with me?
VIDEO: What is wrong with me? Explaining vaginismus, treatment, and cure (* Results may vary from person to person)

Vaginismus and Your Partner | Husband

Women with vaginismus often find themselves negotiating relationships:

  • Will he stay with me despite my inability to have sexual intercourse?
  • Should I refrain from dating altogether because I am not ready for a real’ relationship?
  • Should I stay with a partner whom I do not like just because he  ‘accepts me and my vaginismus?’

Compromising is synonymous with vaginismus and may even lead to staying in a distressing or abusive relationship just because the woman feels so worthless and defective.  We had patients who opted not to date, patients who stopped dating altogether, a few who dated unavailable (married) men, and we recall one who chose to date a paraplegic because he could not attain an erection…

Furthermore, once cured, several patients told us that they could not leave the (undesired) partner because they feel indebted to them for enduring the vaginismus all that time.  In other words, these women are now liberated from vaginismus yet trapped in guilt and in an undesired relationship… This is so sad because not only is there a cure for vaginismus, but also because there is no need to allow guilt to take over: vaginismus is a medical condition, and your partner could have left the relationship if he wanted!

Ladies, hold your head up and seek a suitable treatment so that you can start a fresh and positive page in life.

How Can the Male Partner Help with Vaginismus?

The male partner can play different roles with vaginismus, including

  • Educate himself about the condition;
  • Provide emotional support;
  • Do a research for solutions;
  • Network for treatment options;
  • Support her efforts to find a solution;
  • Strategize financial support for intervention;
  • Cheer her on as she works hard to overcome this condition;
  • Recognize that vaginismus may affect his sexuality as well, but that it is temporary only until she is cured;
  • Develop a sexual repertoire that is agreeable to both.

DO NOT blame her for having vaginismus – she does not want it any more than you do!

Vaginismus and Religion

What does religion have do to with vaginismus? Apparently, quite a bit.

  • Religions will often specify the nature and extent of intimate contact that is allowed prior to marriage;
  • Some religions spell out specific punishments for forbidden intimate acts;
  • Some religions define women’s sexual roles and duties and, at times, even mandate them!
  • Pregnancy outside of marriage may be punishable; a termination is rarely an option;
  • “Sex talk” is often limited or non-existent, leaving women to their own educational devices;
  • The presence of a hymen is essential; penetrations (i.e. tampon) are discouraged;
  • Guilt is a huge factor when a woman seeks to balance religious boundaries vs. free-will experimentation;
  • There is a common feeling of ‘my vaginismus will be resolved once I get married and can have a sexual relationship worry-free…’

And then there is the Big Switch: forbidden sexual contact prior to marriage, followed by the expectation/hope that so many hours after the wedding ceremony the woman can engage sexually in the most enjoyable, knowledgeable, self-assured way…

Vaginismus: The Story of a Jewish Orthodox Couple

Vaginismus: Massive Ignorance Within the Christian Church

Vaginismus Awareness Podcast (Marriage From a Christian Perspective)

Vaginismus and Pregnancy

Many women with vaginismus have questions about pregnancy and childbirth. We have written a post about vaginismus and pregnancy. Contact us if you have any questions on the subject!

Vaginismus – How to tell parents?

We often receive inquiries from young women (ages 16 through 25 or so) who are seeking treatment for vaginismus but need parental assistance with finances, insurance, and travel logistics.  Sadly, many are reluctant to speak about it with their Mom for reasons such as:

  • I can’t talk about sex with Mom;
  • I don’t want her to think that I am having sex (which I don’t because of the vaginismus!);
  • I don’t want her to know that I am sexually active;
  • There is no talk about sex in our household;
  • She will be mad at me;
  • I don’t want Mom to tell everyone about my problem;
  • I am embarrassed to speak about it;
  • In my culture/religion, the vagina is saved for marriage and the husband;
  • Even if I tell Mom it is about not being able to use tampons or have a gynecologic exam, Mom will be thinking SEX…
  • Mom and I do not discuss intimate matters;
  • I don’t want to make Mom worried about me…

And so, many of these young ladies defer treatment for vaginismus to a later date when they are independent and have their own insurance, or married, or can drive, etc.  That is unfortunate because every day of living with the devastation of vaginismus adds a layer to the sadness and to feeling inadequate, or not worthy.

On occasion, though, we witness happy situations: mothers, and even fathers, who are open for discussion and who urge their daughter to seek the treatment, who help with Internet search about solutions, who are on driving duties to/from treatment sessions, who tell us that no amount of money is too high for curing their daughter, who cheer on and celebrate success. 

We vividly recall one Mom who drove her daughter to our office carrying a mysterious package.  When the session was over, the mother called everyone to the waiting room – her daughter included – and voila!  There was a beautifully decorated cake with a message, Hooray to Tampons!  Yes, her daughter was taught that day how to use tampons.  Tears were flowing, hugs were flying, all were happy.

And then there was the following email titled Thankful, received only few hours after their daughter and son-in-law departed back to their country having successfully completed our 2-week treatment for vaginismus:

Dear doctors,
We do not know how to even begin to thank you all for what you have done for our daughter and son-in-law. For what you have done for our whole family. You are such an answer to our prayers over the last 2 1/2 years.

As a mother, this journey with vaginismus has consumed my heart, breaking it every day that she endured this. I have spent many hours searching for help and information on her health issues. I found sites that shared the same problem but no answers. Just read many stories of women trying to find help. I saw my daughter put on her brave face and kept hope after each failed attempt of advice given, time and time again no one understood or really knew what was wrong.

I am overwhelmed with gratefulness to God for bringing my daughter to your web site last Sept. That day was the start on her true journey of health. Your “tell it like it is” approach made an huge impact on her moving up the appointment which was really crucial. Oh I’m so thankful!
You all brought light and healing in a frustrating and difficult situation.

Lidocaine for Vaginismus?

A common suggestion that is given for the penetrative ‘pain’ is to apply Lidocaine, a numbing preparation, to the tip of the dilator to neutralize the adverse sensation upon insertion. Often, women are also instructed to use this anesthetic when transitioning to vaginal intercourse or even for ongoing intercourse.

A numbing cream sounds like a good, easy solution, right?

Unfortunately, we do not believe so because it does not address the underlying stress response, which is THE source/cause of the vaginismus. There is also a risk of becoming dependent on it, which does not lend to regular use of the healthy – albeit nervous – vagina.

Choose your options wisely. There is no reason to live with vaginismus.

What Medication Helps Vaginismus?

Oh, had treating & curing vaginismus with a magic pill been the simple answer… Imagine the possibilities and the loud sigh of relief by so many women!

Vaginismus is a psychosomatic reactionary condition, which means that it is always anxiety-based. The only medication route that may be helpful, or needed, would be in those cases when the woman suffers from active Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Depression, and panic attacks. In those situations, when the condition/s negatively affect her everyday life beyond her vagina/sex, medication intervention will pave the way for overall gains, and will facilitate the treatment toward curing her vaginismus.

Medication for Vaginismus? was written by a former patient who was skeptical until she saw the truth.

See our website page about Vaginismus Support Groups

See more posts about Vaginismus, including Guest Book posts

Contact us for further information, or to schedule an appointment.

vaginismus doctor katz

Dr. Ditza Katz PT, Ph.D.

Founder Women’s Therapy Center


Ditza Katz, PT, Ph.D., is the founder of Women’s Therapy Center, a practice specializing in urogynecology rehabilitation, treatment of female sexual dysfunction, including vaginismus, breast & female cancer rehabilitation, and management of somatic disorders.

Dr. Katz holds an undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy, a Master’s degree in Pastoral Psychology & Counseling, a doctorate in Clinical Sexology, and clinical training in manual therapy and urogynecology.

Doctor for Vaginismus

Dr. Ross Lynn Tabisel, LCSW, Ph.D.

Co-Director Women’s Health Center



Ross Lynn Tabisel, LCSW, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the Women’s Therapy Center and a Diplomat with the American Board of Sexology.

She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Adelphi University, a Post – Graduate Certificate in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis from the Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy in New York, a doctorate in Clinical Sexology, and Certificate Training in the area of Sexual Abuse.