Self-Assessment: How do I know if I have vaginismus?

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    Hi Lorah. I moved our posts into a separate topic – Self-Assessment: How do I know if I have vaginismus? as this is an excellent and important discussion and there are many others out there who also may be wondering the same thing.

    Our posts:

    hi, my name is Lora, i’m new to this forum so i’m not even sure i’m posting this in the correct place. basically, i wasn’t sure where to go to ask questions and happened upon this website. i’m a young adult and I’ve only had intercourse once and honestly it didn’t go too well in terms of lubrication and comfort on my part. it was difficult to let him enter me and even though initially he entered, it didn’t last very long because he couldn’t really move. i felt my vagina was simply too small to accommodate, which i know shouldn’t be the case, and because of the lack of adequate lubrication it wasn’t really a possibility to create movement. basically i feel like my vagina is just too small and i think my anxieties about sex /even though i like the idea of having sex/ may have contributed to the tightness of it. I’ve been reading about vaginismus and a lot of the symptoms, so to speak, match up with what i feel even though I’ve only had sex once. when i’m alone and experimenting with myself i am sometimes lubricated enough but still feel that uncomfortable tightness, like even though i’m sufficiently aroused, penetration with anything bigger than fingers still feels like it wouldn’t be possible. /sorry about being so graphic/ i’m really scared to have sex again for fear i’ll feel closed up and too tight to go through with it. the thought of that makes me very nervous. basically i’m not sure what i should do, surely i can’t go see a doctor and tell them i think i might have vaginismus when i have such little sexual experience. any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Hi Lora! Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post. I am so sorry for what you are currently going through. I have some thoughts that may help. has an absolutely excellent script that is very helpful as a means of talking to your physician about vaginismus:

    Sample Script: Self-Guided History of Sexual Pain

    1. Introduce the problem:
    “I have been having problems with pain during sex and hope you will be able to help me.”

    2.Provide a description of the pain (be specific):
    •It happens when …”my husband tries insert his penis in my vagina” or “once he is inside and starts to move I feel burning and tighten up”, etc.
    •The pain is located …”at the entrance to my vagina. My vagina is like a wall; he just cannot get it in.” or “after he is inside I feel burning around the penis just inside the entrance”, etc.
    •The pain lasts …”as long as he keeps trying, especially if we try forcing it in. Once he stops there is no pain.”
    •This has been happening since …”our honeymoon two years ago and has continued to happen every time we try to have sex” (primary vaginismus) or “my hysterectomy eight months ago”(secondary vaginismus), etc. [Note: Inform your doctor if you have been able to previously have sexual intercourse without pain.]
    •It feels like …”burning”, “stinging”, “like he’s hitting a wall”, “tightness during/on entry”, etc.
    •I have tried to reduce or eliminate the pain by …”using lubricant, changing sexual positions, relaxing more.”
    •I am able / unable to …”insert a tampon or complete a gynecological exam.”

    3.Mention any past problems:
    Have you previously had any sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infections, bladder problems, or any pelvic pain outside of penetration?

    4.State what you think the problem is:

    “I think it may be vaginismus. My symptoms are similar to those outlined in an article I read. However, I have read there are other things that can cause pain during sex and would like to have them ruled out.”

    An idea would be calling a doctor’s office prior to going to see one.

    In an excellent post, Vashalla recently wrote “One thing I did when I was looking around is calling the office and asking to speak with a nurse. When I got the nurse, I explained my situation and asked if the doctor knew what vaginismus was, and if she’d had any experience with it. It’s hard to talk about, especially to a complete stranger who may just think you’re crazy, but I much preferred doing that to having to make appointment after appointment trying to find a good doctor. I just don’t have the time or the money to bounce from one doctor to the next.”

    Should you not want to visit a doctor yet, another idea would be to try working with vaginal dilators. I have used the Pure Romance set along with Pacik glass ones and have thoughts and tips that I could share with you on both.

    Ok, please know that I am here for you and send my support 100%! Sending you big hugs today!

    Hi again, thank you for the kind words and advice, it’s really helpful. I’m just worried about approaching a health professional about this because I’ve only had sex once. Wouldn’t I need more experience to know whether this could be vaginismus/actually a problem at all and not just my anxieties? Questions about the vaginal dilators; would vaginal dilators be an option for me when I’m not sure if I have vaginismus? Have they worked for undiagnosed women before? How do they work? Anv other advice/thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated, thanks


    In the past, Dr. Pacik has written a Blog about this that I wanted to share with you:
    “A frequently asked question when sex is impossible or intercourse is very painful (or intercourse is impossible) is the question: “How do I know if I have vaginismus?” There are a number of features which differentiate vaginismus from other sexual pain disorders. Often the inability to use a tampon at an early age is the first suggestion of vaginismus. For women attempting penetration there is often a “wall”, suggesting spasm of the entry muscle to the vagina, which cannot be penetrated. These and other symptoms of vaginismus can be read by linking to both vaginismus symptoms and symptoms of vaginismus. Another resource which will help you know if you have vaginismus and answer the question “How do I know if I have vaginismus” is the section on Frequently asked questions which also gives women an idea of what they should understand when searching for information about vaginismus. How do I know if I have vaginismus? is an important question that is the beginning of understanding vaginismus and finding available treatments such as the Botox multimodal program with its high rate of success.”


    I personally think dilators could be an option for you to try if you choose to. I have used both the Pure Romance set and Glass ones. I loved the Pure Romance set as they are different colors; a soft silicone material; and so importantly, have handles which make insertion, removal, and re-insertion possible. In the beginning, I liberally coated these dilators with lubricant and found that they did not dry out and, again, so importantly, by using them in a set time-frame, I was later able to transition to pain-free intercourse. I also have used the Glass ones and really like these too. I used these primarily before going to a gyno exam and love the fact that they are shorter in length and they also have handles which, again, makes insertion, removal, and reinsertion that much more doable. As far as techniques and positions for getting started with using dilators, I would definitely recommend that you order Dr. Pacik’s DVD that covers all aspects of dilating (angles of insertion and so much more).

    Concerning this, he has written:

    “For those of you who will not be able to schedule treatment I would urge you to contact my office and purchase a set of dilators, the DVD on dilation (about two hours of what is normally covered during the counseling session) and my book “When Sex Seems Impossible. Stories of Vaginismus & How You Can Achieve Intimacy”. When anxiety to penetration is very high, the full treatment is usually the best. You can link to vaginismus aids
    and call the office for information about the DVD. The book on vaginismus can be ordered on our website and through”

    I would love to hear from other Forum members and Dr. Pacik and Melissa here about their thoughts about your excellent questions as well. How does a patient know if they have vaginismus? What are your thoughts on a woman using vaginal dilators if they are not yet diagnosed with vaginismus?

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