Advice – New to Forum

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    My girlfriend has vaginismus and we could use some advice. It is a fairly new relationship and we have both just become aware of this condition. We have successfully had sex a few times with no issue, other times it has been like “hitting a wall” and we have stopped any attempts for sex when that happens. (It happens about 50% of the time that we have try to have sex).

    This has not happened to her in the past and she has been frustrated that this is happening. We have been dating for a few months and are very comfortable together and very open with each other. We have both decided to educate ourselves so I decided to post here to try to get some help. Any advice is appreciated!

    -Is there anything that she/we can try to stop this from happening?
    -If her vaginismus is acting up (idk if that is the right term…) should we stop all attempts for sex at that time, or are there any techniques we can attempt?
    -Is it normal for vaginismus to only act up sometimes (other testimonies i’ve read seem more severe and I have not read any other posts where it only happens time to time).
    -Do you think she could benefit from kegel exercises? breathing exercises?

    I have read about several treatments and I was wondering what you think may work best for her. We would like to be try anything on our own before going to a doctor/therapist, but all suggestions are welcome!

    Thank you!!
    (PS please let me know if you would any more info if that would help you give better advice)


    Hi User123 – thanks so much for writing, and I’m sorry that you and your girlfriend are struggling. But you’ve come to the right place for answers and support!

    First, I recommend that your girlfriend get a formal diagnosis from a care provider that specializes in sexual dysfunction. If she is in the NY area, we have 3 centers at which she can schedule an appointment. I will also add that we have patients who come in from all over the world, and if you are traveling to see us, we can suggest nearby hotels for lodging while you are here. Unfortunately, there are very few practices that offer the services and treatment that we do at Maze, but you can always call us for a free consult and we can see if there are any appropriate providers in your area.

    I’ll start by addressing your specific questions:
    1. RE: prevention – this will depend upon her history, the extent of her condition, her current health, etc. This is where proper diagnosis and treatment comes in. A specialist can recommend options that are appropriate (ie, lubricant, dilation, pelvic floor PT, Botox procedure, behavioral modifications and talk therapy, etc.).
    2. If your girlfriend is in pain, yes, stop immediately. Sex should NEVER be painful (unless that is the express interest of those involved and consent is provided). But also keep in mind that sex is SO much more than intercourse! Explore all other avenues of pleasure and connection, and perhaps incorporate new ways to engage (toys, lingerie, pleasurable acts you’ve never tried before, erotic, etc.)
    3. Women experience vaginismus in different ways and to varying degrees. So without a comprehensive exam/intake, this is hard to answer directly.
    4. Kegels are only recommended when performed properly.. This is very important, because at best, they might not help at all and at worst, they could make the condition more acute. We suggest that your girlfriend find a provider who can guide her properly. Breathing and mindfulness exercises are definitely recommended. But like anything, it takes regular practice to be able to access relaxation/mindfulness in the moment.

    Please call us for a free 10-minute consult if you need anything further, and we wish you and your girlfriend all the best! Vaginismus is highly treatable when you find appropriate care, and we hope you are able to locate the help you need.


    Hi User123 – Jennifer gave excellent advice, but I just wanted to add as a non-medical-professional that you shouldn’t be worried to see a doctor, therapist, or gynecologist about the experience your girlfriend is having. I understand the impulse to want to solve this yourself (issues with sex are very bound up in emotion and there’s often the desire to keep sexual matters private, even so they don’t seem like a big deal in the partnership) but if I could do things differently, I would have sought help for my own vaginismus YEARS sooner. It would have saved me a lot of time and mental anguish, and i also wouldn’t have built up nearly as many walls and emotional issues around sex that had to be unlearned later.

    There’s nothing wrong with having sexual pain and it doesn’t make you any less of a woman. But when you’re sick or have issues with your body, you go see a doctor – the same is true for vaginismus issues. Handling it is so much better if you do so before the physical and emotional issues get more entrenched!

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