Feeling sore during dilating

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    Hi all,

    I’m 31, from the UK and have never been able to have sex and have spent most of my years avoiding getting treatment for vaginismus. I have recently taken the plunge to invest in some therapy and I’ve done well so far with my dilation. I’ve managed to insert a cotton bud, 3 relatively small silicone dilators and the smallest plastic dilator I have. All have gone in pain free. However, I’m trying to insert my plastic dilator number 2 and I’m struggling.

    I have managed to get it in half way about 3 times but it hurts. It’s incredibly sore. Is this normal? I am also due for my period; I’m a few days late which is normal, but do things get extra sensitive down there at this time of the month? I’m hoping things may feel better once my period is over but would like to know if this pain is normal 🙂 thanks!


    Hi Allectus18 – thanks for reaching out here on this forum! I’m glad to hear that you are taking control of your vaginismus and it sounds like you have been making great progress. A few thoughts about your pain:

    1) Yes it is sometimes normal to have more pain right around the time before your period. All of your reproductive hormones are low at this time, and it can be more painful to dilate.
    2) Sometimes, as we increase in dilator size it can become even more challenging to insert them. I’d make sure you are using plenty of lubricant, and perhaps try again in a few days.
    3) If the pain and “soreness” persist (especially if you are sore all the time), or you start having abnormal discharge, I would get checked out to make sure you haven’t developed any kind of vaginal infection.
    4) We have a virtual dilation coaching program here at Maze. If you find that you remain stuck on this next size dilator, we are available virtually to provide education, guidance, instruction and even suggest therapies that might be useful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you think this is something you might benefit from.

    You can do it!
    Jackie Giannelli FNP-BC


    Hi Allectus18! First of all, congrats on doing therapy and starting to dilate – those steps are both a big deal and you should feel proud of yourself! I totally agree with what Jackie says but also want to add that when I was dilating it was really normal to feel what I would describe as a “burning” sensation or soreness – which is actually what happens when dilation is working! Stretching your vagina through dilation is essentially working out a new set of muscles. If you’ve ever taken up a new kind of exercise and woken up the next day to find yourself sore even when you were feeling okay while actually doing the workout, the same principle is happening here. But like Jackie said, it shouldn’t be constant pain.

    I hope this helps – let us know if you keep having issues, and great job again on working your way through dilators!


    Thank you so much for replying.

    It’s good to hear that it can be a normal feeling! I’m not sure what you mean by constant pain – constant pain during dilation or afterwards as well?

    I have now managed to insert the second dilator fully; it’s still sore but it doesn’t seem to be as bad as before. I’ll monitor the feeling as I’m hoping with more practice, I will get used to it and the pain will ease.

    I fully expected to feel some kind of pain, of course but it just makes me wary of moving onto the next size as I can only imagine it will hurt more! But I’m sure I’ll be able to do it – I’ve come so far already in such a short time 🙂


    Hi Allectus18 – so glad to hear that you’re beginning to feel more comfortable with dilating! Yes, the soreness will lessen and you’ll also get more used to it. I meant that constant pain shouldn’t be present either during OR after, although the fatigue of your vagina can hang around awhile. THe good news is that it usually doesn’t hurt MORE – the increasingly large size will tend to cause a similar level of pain, so as strange as it sounds, you really do get more used to it. I believe you can make it further and improve your sex life! Good luck and let us know how it’s going and what other questions you have!


    The soreness has definitely lessened to the point I don’t feel sore with any of the dilators now. My dilator set is a plastic set of 4 and the 2nd one was the one that caused me most pain. But I overcame that and can now successfully insert the second dilator with no pain and actually have inserted the 3rd and 4th now too – again, with no pain.

    So I have no more dilators to insert – the next step is sex! But I am struggling with my sex drive. Part of me is still worried sex attempts will be a failure but I am generally just concerned about why I never feel turned on. Any suggestions to get my sex drive back are welcome! 🙂


    Allectus18, congrats on making so much progress with the dilators! Your pride in yourself is apparent and you totally deserve to enjoy this huge progress you’ve made happen for yourself.

    Getting your sex drive back after years of dealing with the guilt, shame, and other negative emotions of vaginismus as well as unlearning the negative association between sex and pain that’s been reinforced over a long period of time is part of the process for being treated for vaginismus, even though it’s not the part we think about having to work on as much at first. What is often required is going back to the essentials with your partner and rediscovering the things that give you sexual pleasure even now. This can look like having sensual massages, kissing, touching, and practicing other acts of foreplay to build positive new sexual memories for yourself. It’s VERY natural to worry about having sex for the first time because of past experiences, but it can really help just to remind yourself logically that you’re able to insert dilators (that should be at least the size of your partner’s erect penis) – if you can do it with a hard plastic object, you can do it with a softer penis!

    Let us know how it goes and if any other questions come up – you are doing so much to help yourself and should feel really proud!


    why is it painful to use dialators inside the vagina

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