Daily Question (1/31/12) – How to overcome leg lock?

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    Hi ladies. Dr. P wrote a great blog today about “leg lock” that may sometimes occur even after the treatment. Specifically he wrote “Leg lock is actually quite common … almost all my severe vaginismus patients experience this to some degree.” I certainly experienced this a lot in the beginning right after my procedure. To work around this, my hubby and I started having sex in the “doggy-style” position which makes “leg lock” completely impossible. Then, as I got more and more comfortable with intercourse, the anxiety disappeared as did the “leg lock”. For any of you who may be experiencing this with intercourse, I would definitely suggest trying the “doggy-style” position and also know that it doesn’t last forever and gets much better in time. I’d love to hear your thoughts ladies – if you experienced this, what steps have you taken to get over it???


    Hello all! I had the procedure with Dr. Pacik on January 9. I have been comfortably dilating with purple and pink since the procedure, and about a week ago was able to transition back up to blue, which was huge for me, as I had not been able to use blue since being at Dr. Pacik’s office. I have been experiencing this “leg lock” whenever I dilate with blue. It is quite uncomfortable and causes me to become more anxious while dilating. I am not the best at being able to move around while dilating, and find that I am most comfortable just laying on my back. I have found that standing pillows up under my knees has been effective in relieving some of this discomfort. This has worked for me somewhat, but am nervous that it will get worse, as my husband and I are in the process of transitiong to intercourse, which I am having a good bit of anxiety about.

    Dr. Pacik

    What is leg lock?
    I think we should clearly define LEG LOCK for those who may not understand this. When a woman is struggling with penetration there is a natural fear and subsequent avoidance. This can manifest as palpitations, hyperventilation, sweating, nausea, etc. and at the same time ones goes through an avoidance response in which there is retreat (moving away, buttocks lift up) as well as an uncontrolled involuntary closing of the thighs. No matter how much one wants to relax the thighs, it just doesn’t happen. The “legs lock” closed. This is common when visiting with the GYN doctor, even after successfully accomplishing intercourse.
    This gets better with time as one is able to advance to the larger dilators, though even with this progress, when it comes to intercourse, the same uncontrolled closing of the thighs can take place.
    It is important to hear from our “veterans”, tricks they used to overcome this, because it is so common, and almost every treated patient goes through something similar.


    Hi Molly and Dr. P. Thank you so much for your posts. Dr. P – this is a very good explanation and definition of “leg lock” in its entirety (i.e. with dilation, gyn exams, and intercourse). Molly, I experienced this for quite some time even following my procedure. The things that helped me to get over this the most were the position that we used and honestly time. In the very beginning of making love, we did the missionary position and noticed that this “leg lock” was still occurring although I experienced no pain whatsoever. We then switched to the “doggy-style” (from behind) position and it is not possible at all to experience “leg-lock” in this position. Then, the more time passed and we were having intercourse on a very regular basis, the more and more comfortable I became and we would switch back to missionary and other positions and would both notice that the “leg lock” was only minor and then non-existent. It is seriously a retraining of your brain. With vaginismus, you’re automatically used to and anticipate experiencing pain and, thus, your legs completely tense up. Without this pain response and with a good amount of time with comfortable, pain-free intercourse, the “leg lock” disappears altogether. There is also a thread in daily questions – transitioning to intercourse – that I would encourage you to read as there are so many helpful tips on the transition. It is entirely normal to experience anxiety in the beginning about this. One thing that helped me the most with the transition was dilating for a good amount of time just prior to intercourse. Also, Dr. P and several of the ‘veterans’ have also commented that the morning may be the best time to transition as you would be the most stretched out from dilating the entire night prior, you would wake up refreshed, and most men have a normal morning erection. Finally, you wrote that standing pillows up under your knees has been effective in relieving some of the discomfort with leg lock and dilating. This sounds like a great idea and please know that it does get better and disappear altogether with trying different positions and as time passes. What other tips do you have ladies???


    I am almost sure I will have this problem as well. I am advised that one of the best positions to avoid leg lock is to lay on a slightly higher bed and locate the buttocks towards the edge of the bed and bend at least one knee. A pillow under the belly might help to elevate the vaginal area. Then the partner should be in a standing position for penetration. I am not a native speaker of English so I hope I could describe the picture.

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