How do I know if I have vaginismus? Diagnosing is quite simple: it requires identifying an inability, or a great difficulty, with one or more of the following Five Penetrations of LifeSM
- Intercourse (or use of penis-size dildo)
- Gynecologic exam
In other words, 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/impossible. (Note: Although most women self-diagnose, this information is not intended in lieu of medical care)
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What causes vaginismus? The following are the most common causes in order of prevalence. Note that, contrary to common belief, abuse is not at all this list!
- Fear of pain, mostly because 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 huge contributing factor to worries and fallacies
- Perceiving 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)
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While the woman may not know why she has this condition, she certainly knows that she is not friendly with her vagina and cannot use it naturally, or in ‘the normal way.’
For an in-depth discussion of all the causes, refer to our book Private Pain: Understanding Vaginismus and Dyspareunia
Contact us for further information, or to schedule an appointment.