Vaginism means abdominal cramping. This means that you get cramp in the muscles around the vagina. It can hurt when you try to insert something into the vagina or thinking about doing it. You can do several things yourself to get better and there is also good help to get through healthcare. Most people become good after a while.

The cause of vaginism is not entirely known, but you can get vaginism if you have previously had sex that hurt for some reason. It may also be because you have been frightened or afraid to insert something into the vagina. Women of all ages can have vaginism.

It can be difficult to distinguish between vaginism and pain in the mucous membrane at the opening of the slide. Unlike mucosal pain, vaginism is due to a spasm in the vagina. You can have both mucosal pain and vaginism at the same time. There may also be other reasons why it hurts to have sex.

Symptoms of Vaginismus

It can hurt when you try to insert something into the vagina and it can feel cramped or completely closed even though you are excited.

The muscles in the vagina contract when you try to insert something into the vagina or when you think about doing it. It can be, for example, a penis, a finger or a tampon.

What can I do for myself?

Almost everyone who gets a cramp in the vagina can learn to work this out. Just insert something into the vagina when you feel you want it and it doesn’t hurt.

Here are some tips on things you can try to do yourself:

  • Try caressing yourself in peace and quiet, preferably with lubricant or oil.
  • You can try inserting a finger if you feel good.
  • Exercise to squeeze for a really long time and then relax. To learn to relax, you have to start by pinching to find the muscles.

Tips on what to do if you have sex with someone:

  • Talk to the person you have sex with. It’s usually better to talk about how it feels instead of pretending that everything is fine.
  • Try having oral sex or caress sex instead of inserting something into the vagina.
  • If you want to insert a penis or something else into the vagina, you can squeeze a lot for a long time and when you then relax you can insert what you want to insert one piece at a time.
  • Do not continue to insert anything into the vagina if it hurts. 

When and where should I seek care

The vast majority of people with vaginism do not need to seek care because the problems usually go away by themselves with the help of self-care.

Contact a health care center or gynecological clinic if you think you have vaginism and the self-care tips do not help. You can contact many receptions by logging in.

If you are young you can contact a youth reception. The age limit may be different at different youth centers.


A gynecologist can gently examine you to rule out that there is some other cause that is causing you pain. For example, some people may have an extra congenital flap of mucosa at the opening of the sheath. The tab is not due to vaginism and can be removed by a simple operation.

During the examination, the gynecologist looks at the mucosa, investigates how the muscles of the pelvic floor work, if you can squeeze and relax and if something can be inserted into the vagina.

It may be difficult for you to do a gynecological examination. You can control the investigation yourself by saying when you are ready or canceling if it hurts.

Important to understand

In order to be able to participate in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask to have the information printed to read it peacefully.

Treatment for Vaginism

You can get treatment for vaginismus with calls and exercises. For example, you can get help with learning relaxation, talking about your thoughts and feelings and learning how to insert something into the vagina without hurting it and without being afraid of it. If you have a partner they can follow along.

You can also get medical treatment if needed.

Most people who have vaginism will be fine, but it may vary how long it takes.

What happens in the body?

Your body is affected by things you’ve been through before. The muscles in the vagina can contract, as a protection against something getting into it if you have been aware that it has hurt in the past. It can happen even if you want sex and are wet.

It can also lead to you starting to think of sex as something that hurts rather than something that is nice.  

Vaginism can depend on many different things. Here are some examples:

  • You have previously had sex that have hurt or been uncomfortable.
  • You have not been sufficiently excited or wet when you have had sex.
  • You have had sex when you have had irritation or fungal infection of the genital area.
  • You have undergone a scary or painful examination of the abdomen or urinary tract.
  • You have had sex in a way or at a time when you really didn’t want to or had sex with someone you didn’t want to have sex with.
  • You have been raped or sexually assaulted

What can I do as a partner to someone who has vaginism?

There is much you can do to help if you are a partner to someone who has vaginism.

  • Satisfy your partner without introducing anything into the vagina and find other ways to be satisfied yourself.
  • Have your partner decide how to have sex, and always cancel if it hurts.
  • Support your partner and follow up on a visit if your partner wants it.
  • Join the exercises you have received from doctors, such as penetration with your finger or wand, if appropriate and if it feels okay for you.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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