Vaginismus is ruining sex. Research must move beyond penetration

This is an excerpt of an article published on Evidently Cochrane.

Vaginismus is common. In the UK, it affects 1 in 500 women. In this blog, Cochrane author Tamara Melnik and psychotherapist Oswaldo M. Rodrigues Jnr look at the problems vaginismus can cause, at the poor evidence-base for  treatments, and what needs to change.

Valeria’s story

Valeria is 29 yrs old, single, and works in public relations. Valeria has never had penetrative sex, but now dates a man to whom she feels very sexually attracted, and fantasizes about sex with him. She lied to him about being sexually active before. Besides feeling sexual desire, she also feels physically aroused. She has some worries about starting a relationship: the possibility of being penetrated, her previous negative mental images about sex, and difficulties initiating intimate relations. The last time Valeria went on a date with this man they went to a Motel and he pressed her to have penetrative sex with him. The next day he was more caring, saying he only wants to be closer to her.

Valeria also experienced difficulties and pain in undergoing a gynaecological examination. She mentioned to her gynaecologist that her partner said to her that he was tired of being rejected all the time, saying “what’s wrong with me that keeps you from wanting to have a sexual relationship with me?”

Valeria has vaginismus.

So what is it, and what do we know about what might help?

Read the full article