Not sure what the issue is

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    I’m 25 and have struggled with pain during sex and anxiety of insertion. I’ve been referred to a gynaecologist for vaginismus even though the doctor wasn’t sure that’s what is is as I have ‘technically’ had sex (although I told her that we stopped due to pain)

    Growing up I didn’t have a fear of sex, I enjoyed masturbation but I didn’t have any desire for penetration so I didn’t experiment with dildos, etc.

    First sexual experience included a finger inserted which felt like a shooting pain, which is probably where this anxiety starts. Since then I have tried to have sex twice and it hurt. I would say the painful bit though was not insertion of the penis but the penetrative part? Luckily both times the guy was understanding and we stopped although of course lots of embarrassment on my side. I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with either of these guys which I’m not sure would add to the experience of pain? I know there is always a mental element.

    About a year ago, I went to a doctor for an ovary scan which involved a camera up my vagina. This hurt a lot which resulted in the doctor stopping. It didn’t hurt initially but the more the camera went in the more it hurt.

    I also tried to have a Pap smear a few months ago. I was so anxious about not being able to succeed in having the examination done that I burst out crying as it began. I did feel pain which I think was very much influenced by the anxiety.

    I struggle myself with insertion. I have tried to take STI kits but get anxious, I don’t think I did any of them correctly which is worrying.

    I guess my question is, does this sound like vaginismus or do I have just a lot of anxiety surrounding penetration which is resulting in painful sex?


    One of the main features of vaginismus is anxiety surrounding penetration.

    I do think that you have some level of vaginismus.

    Anxiety also heightens pain perception.

    Starting to work with a home dilation kit might be a good first step. Dilators are often easier to use than tampons or qtips. They are made for vaginal insertion, and the small sizes are a great place to start.

    If you are close to Maze, I would love for you to come see us for an evaluation. We could help you get started with dilation, and also guide you through an exam.


    Hi Charlotte25x – I would agree with Melissa and say this sounds a lot like vaginismus to me! And even if TECHNICALLY it wasn’t, you’re experiencing all the hallmark discomforts of vaginismus which nobody should have to feel during sex! It shouldn’t be painful or anxiety-inducing, so I agree with Melissa that it’s certainly worth seeking treatment and seeing if you can work on your pain/anxiety response. Getting a dilator kit and seeing how that goes while also possibly seeking the help of a pelvic floor therapist would be a great place to start – you can start to assess how bad your response is and what treatment options might work best for you. There are several ways to move forward – let us know if you have questions, but you don’t deserve to feel like this!


    Hi Charlotte25x,

    Agree with all that recessivegenequeen and Melissa said above. I know the anxiety can really get stirred up with all that you’re experiencing. At Maze, we treat the whole experience of sexual pain, and that includes the emotional piece. If you’re not able to access our office for an appointment, I recommend you seek out counseling with someone who can help you manage the natural worry that arises, or at least maximize comfort/relaxation techniques you already rely on.

    If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


    Hello, Charlotte25x
    I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with this annoyance! I 100% understand how you feel. I too was always very anxious and scared about anything penetrative. Tampons were always out of the question, fingers too. And I never cared about dildos or vibrators. I was never abused, I just had a horrible fear of penetration. Anxiety is one of the toughest bits of vaginismus. Physical therapy is great for your body, but it’s your anxiety that requires the more difficult work. As you become frightened or nervous or tense, your PC muscles clamp shut to help protect you from unwanted penetration. Knowing this, you’d think it’d be really easy to just get yourself in the mood and convince yourself you really want it, and think that’s all it’s going to take. But it’s a double effort of both mind and body. Sex does feel amazing, and you deserve to have penetrative sex! I think what the women above said was all great, and I would highly suggest dilating! They start as small as your pinky, and go all the way up to a penis size. I got the Pure Romance kit from Maze, after I got my BOTOX procedure. You can order it online, though. 20 minutes a day, every day of the week if possible. If you find that dilating isn’t working for you, or your fear is just too strong… The BOTOX procedure is truly a saving grace, with a success rate of 97% if I remember correctly. And the women at Maze take such amazing care of their patients. You’re in good hands here. But definitely give dilating a shot first! You should also look into physical therapy. It is incredible, the tips and tricks there are for overcoming vaginismus. Once you’ve got all the knowledge and tools, consistency is all you need. You got this!

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