Hi coldasice – what rabbit said is true of my experience as well. You don’t HAVE to be aroused, especially if it’s going to put more emotional pressure on you to have to do that, but it certainly DOES help for all the reasons you’ve listed. I think whether it helps an individual depends a lot on their background with masturbation and being able to get aroused in general. Some women with vaginismus still have orgasms, can masturbate, etc. and for them I think it would definitely help. But if you’re having issues with arousal in general, it’s best not to layer multiple problems on top of yourself at once if you’re still working on dilating.

Also, there is a misconception I occasionally see around the internet that dilating ITSELF should be arousing – NOT true. For most of us it’s effortful and feels more like exercising or doing a chore. But being aroused can definitely help it feel less like one!