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When Intercourse Seems Impossible

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Thursday, 03 Mar 2016 04:25 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In a culture where sex is used to sell everything from lipstick to leotards to Lexuses, you would think that having sex would be simple. But there is a sizable group of women in America and around the world who suffer from a treatable condition called vaginismus, in which a woman unconsciously clenches the muscles at the opening to her vagina, making intercourse seem impossible.

Many women with this condition suffer in silence, not sure what is wrong with them, and too embarrassed to get treatment.

If you suspect you have vaginismus, you need to visit a gynecologist, get examined, and evaluated. The gynecologist should rule out any other problems that might be making intercourse difficult. Then he or she will tell you if you do, indeed, have vaginismus.

But given the practicalities of medicine, if you do have vaginismus, your physician doesn’t really have the time to help you overcome it. Most likely, you will need to see a sex therapist.

But the critical part of the cure does not take place in the therapist’s office. It takes place in your own home, often in your own bed.

I have treated more than 100 women with vaginismus, and we were successful in every case except one. And that was a woman who absolutely refused to follow through and do her exercises. Vaginismus does not get better on its own, and it doesn’t get better from just talking.

For many women with vaginismus, the treatment is fairly straightforward, but it is time consuming and it takes commitment. One common treatment is for a woman to learn to insert and contain (one by one, over time) a series of graduated dilators into her vagina. This process desensitizes her to her fear and pain.

Women with vaginismus are frightened of feeling pain on insertion of the dilators. For that reason, a certified sex therapist is critically helpful in the treatment. The therapist is your coach and your cheerleader. You don’t have to go through this process alone.

Many have undergone physical therapy (PT) for other ailments, such as a frozen shoulder or a leg that’s giving you trouble. The PT exercises for those less embarrassing maladies are usually straightforward, and at most a person is usually are asked to do them for 15 minutes a day. It’s the same for doing the exercises you need to do to get over vaginismus.

One thing I tell the women I treat is that I want them to measure the circumference of their partner’s penis. My strategy is always to have the woman be able to easily insert a dilator that is larger than her husband’s penis.

This simple technique dismantles a lot of anxiety, because when she sees, feels, and knows that she can comfortably insert a dilator larger than her husband, her irrational fears vanish.
You can find a certified sex therapist at http://www.aasect.org.
 

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There is a sizable group of women in America and around the world who suffer from a treatable condition called vaginismus, in which a woman unconsciously clenches the muscles at the opening to her vagina, making intercourse seem impossible.
vaginismus, gynecologist, sex therapy, intercourse
481
2016-25-03
Thursday, 03 Mar 2016 04:25 PM
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