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What is Vaginismus? (& How to Enjoy Sex with It!)

What is Vaginismus? (& How to Enjoy Sex with It!) - Sh! Women's Store

You may have heard of Vaginismus? Or maybe not? Read on to learn more about this painful condition which affects so many women & vulva owners.

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a psychosexual condition. This means the condition affects both mind & body, and those living with it have no control over it. Vaginismus causes an involuntary tightening of the vagina, making penetration painful or even impossible. And when we say 'penetration,' we don't necessarily mean penis-in-vagina sex. Fear of pain causes the vaginal muscles to spasm, and for many, something as seemingly simple as inserting a tampon or having a smear test is impossible.

Causes of Vaginismus

According to available statistics, 2 in 1,000 vulva owners experience Vaginismus at some point in their lifetime. We think the actual number of far higher.

The causes of Vaginismus are many and varied. Common causes are past emotional or physical trauma, sexual abuse, cultural shame or fear of pregnancy.

The road to pain-free and pleasurable sex depends on what is causing your Vaginismus. You may need to unpack some heavy baggage to better understand what's happening in your body.

Can Vaginismus be cured?  

The good news is that help is available. The bad news is that not all health professionals know of the condition, and you may need to advocate hard for yourself. You need a doctor or therapist in your corner, and if you don't feel you get the help you need, ask to be referred to someone who can better help you.

Conquering Vaginismus is a long-term plan, often involving medical or psychological care, dilation of the vagina, managing triggers, and regularly checking in with oneself. There is no quick fix, and there will be set-backs. But - while your vagina may be closed for business, your vulva & clit may still be game for pleasure! 

Sex doesn't have to mean penetration

Seeing as most folks with clits get their orgasms from rubbing, stroking or tapping their li'l pleasure pearl, there's plenty of pleasure to be had without ever involving penetration. 

Let's start with masturbation & solo pleasure. 

Self-loving can mean many things. For example, a good starting point is a bottle of lube + a finger (or two). Pleasure doesn't need to involve much and this is really all you need to start exploring your body. 

If you find it difficult to climax from finger stimulation, a small vibrator for the clitoris can make all the difference. 

Choosing a clit vibe with several settings means you have plenty to explore. You'll absolutely get your money's worth - even the smallest vibes tend to offer continuous vibration, fast pulses, slow waves and even a cheeky cha-cha! Try each setting to see which sets your clitoris alight.

Another fabulous sex toy option is a clit suction vibrator. These toys are pleasure gems - small and orgasm-reliable. Add a slick of water-based lube o the rim, place it over the clit and let the toy 'suck' an orgasm out of you...

Red rose clit suction vibrator- Sh! Women's Store


Non-penetrative sex with a partner is fun!

Partnered sex can be fantastic and fun without inserting body part A into body part B. When you remove penetration, you are opening new possibilities for pleasure. You get to think about sex in new ways. You get to re-define pleasure. Your imagination(s) are your only limit!

Here are a few sensual activities to enjoy with a partner - but we're sure you can think up more opportunities for play!

We are big fans of a sensate play. This is the kind of pleasure where one of you gets to lie back and feel wonderful while the other focuses on giving pleasure that doesn't involve insertion. Sensate play is erotic and can include sensation-rich sex toys like popping mousse or warm massage candles.

If you want to go all in, try playing with a blindfold! Removing the ability to see enhances the way we experience situations. From here, how about trying a small finger vibrator on a clitoris or a Tenga Egg on a penis? 

  • Eargasms? Yep, it's a thing - give it a go!
  • Toe sucking? Pathways are peculiar, so you may feel sweet tickles in your clit when your partner sucks on your toes - definitely worth exploring! 
  • How about challenging each other to a wank off - the person who comes first has to pay for dinner!

As you can see, 'sex' doesn't have to end in penetration. Actually, great sex doesn't have to involve penetration at all :) 

Sex play without penetration opens up all the erotic possibilities that often are not on the menu to those who follow the 'foreplay-leads-to-intercourse' route, which, let's face it, is what society has enforced on us as 'sex.' 

Read more about Vaginismus here.

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