Disclaimer: The contents of this article are adult in nature. Reader discretion is advised.
Dr Rachael Winston, affectionately known as Dr Ray, is a sexual health practitioner and Centre Medical Director at MUC Healthcare, and she’s answering your questions!
We sat down with Dr Ray to talk through some of the burning questions we received from readers via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Look out for more articles in our Ask A Sexologist series on SAYS.
Whenever me and my partner try to have sex, I can’t endure the pain, I can’t let him in me fully, is it normal to feel that painful?
“That is called vaginismus,” says Dr Ray. “That is a very real problem.”
According to the doctor, vaginismus is where you feel a tightening before penetration. So, when the penetration actually happens, it feels extremely painful, as if a knife is stabbing through your vagina.
She goes on to say that vaginismus is a psychological issue “95% of the time,” which can be helped with counseling and therapy. The condition often happens with women who rarely have sex or are fearful of sex.
Image via Yuris Alhumaydy/Unsplash
“This pain during sex is called dyspareunia, and is a condition where you feel the constriction even before the penetration”
“So it’s a very, very real problem, which has caused a lot of marriages to fail,” Dr Ray continues, adding that she’s seen many couples unable to have children because of it.
There is no medication for vaginismus, but it can be helped through both physical and mental approaches
“Time is what helps because you have to first understand the condition,” explains Dr Ray. “There are sex tips and methods to prep yourselves before sex itself.”
Things that women who face vaginismus can try include various creams, Kegel trainers, Kegel machines, masturbation, and adult toys.
With an adult toy, such as a vibrator, a woman may feel more comfortable with insertion or penetration as she can do it at her own pace.
“She’s given time to prepare herself not only physically, but mentally too. [That way she’s] ready for the penetration.”
Another method is the use of vaginal trainers, also known as vaginal dilators. These instruments can look similar to tampons and help to gently stretch the vagina.
Silicone vaginal dilators help slowly stretch the vaginal walls to decrease discomfort during intercourse.
Image via Jen Wain
Spending more time on foreplay, such as oral sex and fingering, can also make penetration more pleasurable. However, Dr Ray states that the key is to identify the underlying problem.
The root cause of vaginismus can vary between women.
“Is it the fear of sex itself, fear of penetration, fear of bleeding? It’s always something,” explains Dr Ray.
Ultimately, counselling should definitely be part of your treatment plan for vaginismus. Opening up to a professional and discussing your feelings around sex can make a huge difference.
Vibes Healthcare, where Dr Ray practises, is a clinic that specialises in sexual health, sexual dysfunction, and sex therapy. At Vibes Healthcare, vaginismus treatment is offered.
Dr Ray is a sexologist and sex therapist. Follow her on Instagram to learn more about sexual health, and check out MUC Healthcare and Vibes Healthcare for more information.
Look out for more #sexualhealth stories and tips this month!
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