Do I have Vaginismus?

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    Hello! I am 16 years old and a few days ago I attempted to have sex for the first time. There wasn’t much foreplay before, but I was pretty lubricated from the little foreplay we had. When it was time to have penetrative sex with my boyfriend, it was extremely painful, one of the worst pains I have ever felt. It felt like stretching and tearing, and my boyfriend only had put in a little tiny bit of his penis in. He could barley get it in himself and has trouble finding the entrance, and every time he tried, my legs started shaking uncontrollably. I was in incredible pain. A few hours after that I tried to stick my fingers inside my vagina, and I did with no problem. It just had felt like pressure and that is all. I also bled a little tiny bit. One thing about me also is that I have always had very painful periods that bed bound me, so maybe that is a factor. My vagina/entrance of vagina feels a little sore and I’ve been crying hysterically ever since that day, because how traumatic it was and I also am terrified to have this condition. Can anyone help me and tell me if I am showing signs of vaginismus or recommend me anything to make my second time better?


    Hi Richelle,

    Thank you so much for posting – we’re so glad you found us! I”m sorry your first penetrative experience was so painful and traumatic.

    The short answer as to whether or not you have vaginismus is – I’m not sure. And here are some potential reasons why:

    1. It was the one and only time you’ve had intercourse, and one experience cannot tell a story. It’s natural for anyone to be at least a little anxious their first time out and this may have played a role. Was this something you felt totally ready to do, or was there any apprehension? Any of these things can affect the experience.
    2. You said you there wasn’t a lot of foreplay (and timing preferences are different for everyone). This could possibly result in vaginal muscles that may have just needed a little more warm-up time.
    3. If you were using a condom, you might be sensitive to the material. You can try lots of different options (this doesn’t explain the vaginal tightness nor the shaking of your legs, but it’s something to keep in mind for overall comfort).
    4. A physical exam by a trusted provider familiar with vaginismus is best tool for formal diagnosis.

    I want to stress 2 things: first – NONE of the above is about blame, just potential reasons to explore. Secondly – IF you discover that you do have vaginismus, please know that it is a highly treatable condition! RE: tips for second time around: make sure first and foremost it happens on YOUR terms (for now and forever!). And if your boyfriend used a condom (which we recommend for your safety and pregnancy prevention), make sure the lube you use does not break down the integrity of the condom. Also, communication with your boyfriend about your first time might go a long way in terms of expressing what your needs are going forward. We get this can be awkward but no matter what, ensure that you are doing something to mitigate your anxiety (assuming having penetrative sex is what you want to do).

    We treat women ages 17 and up here at Maze; we’d be happy to offer a free 10-minute consult for more information and resources if you’d like to call us. Wishing you all my best, and let us know how we can support you!


    Hi Richelle,

    Thanks so much for reaching out to the forum!

    I think it is amazing that you are trying to figure this out, and we can help you through the process. Just you use tampons? Are they difficult or painful to insert?

    It is great that you can insert your own fingers into your vagina…has your boyfriend ever been able to insert his fingers into you? Was it painful?

    I would recommend trying to insert dilators, or purchasing something smaller than your partner’s penis to penetrate with first to get used to penetration.

    Is it possible that your partner is especially wide, and since you had some bleeding after the attempt, maybe his penis was going to cause more tearing and that is why you felt so much pain.

    A dilator kit would really help you, and I think that is a good place to start. If you breeze through the dilators, and you can easily insert them, then vaginismus is less likely, and more likely your partner is just really big. If you struggle with the dilation, and have pain with even the small sizes, then it is more possible you have vaginismus, and I would seek help from a physical therapist of gynecologist.

    And you can always give Maze a call for a 10 min consult.



    Hey Richelle! I’m so sorry you experienced that! If you can get a finger in, that’s great! The pain you experienced may just be because it was your first attempt and your vagina has not stretched to the size of a penis yet. But like Jennifer said, it is hard to know after 1 experience. But I second what Melissa said about dilation and attempting penetration with something smaller than a penis. You could even try a range of vibrators varying in size if that’s what you prefer! And lube!! Lube just makes sure that everything is adequately wet and friction free! Maybe you just need a little dilation for a short period of time, 20 minutes a day for a few weeks or so, to prepare your body for sex. If you find that it is too painful, I’d give your doctor a call. Good luck!!

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