Vaginismus comes in many "sizes"

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    I have recently spoken with several patients who seemed hesitant to discuss their issues with painful sex. They said that after having read other women’s stories there issues “were really not that bad.” They had all been able to use tampons, and have pelvic exams with a gynecologist. However, they were still experiencing pain with intercourse, and thought they should “just keep trying.” Just because you can use a tampon does not mean you do not have vaginismus. If you experience pain with intercourse it is possible you have vaginismus (or some other medical issue) and please do not think your pain is “not bad enough” to seek help. There is no contest as to how “bad” the pain is for you to get help. Vaginismus affects everyone differently, and there are treatments that fit all “sizes.”


    Great point Nicole! I think that when you feel your day-to-day life is affected by how your vagina acts (not being able to have sex in a trusting relationship, not being able to use a tampon during a monthly cycle) it is worth having an appointment or calling to discuss your situation. Your vagina shouldn’t make you miserable! I’m glad I called and eventually got the treatment I needed to have a normal and fulfilling sex life.

    Helen Leff, LMSW

    This is a really good thread because pain is pain. When you are in pain it doesn’t matter if someone else’s is less or more than yours. You deserve to take care of yourself and we are here to ease your pain.


    At Maze I see patients will all different degrees of vaginismus. Some patients are unable to tolerate any kind of gynecologic exam-they are so fearful that they close their legs and recoil up the table. Other patients are able to insert tampons and have pap smears but intercourse is painful.
    What these patients have in common is the feeling that they are alone and often misunderstood by health care providers.
    At Maze we use a medical and a holistic approach to treating vaginismus. We understand how important it is to treat both the physical and emotional aspects of vaginismus. We try our best to stress that the patient is not alone and can be helped.


    really important points here..sometimes people view vaginismus in very black and white ways…that you either have it or you don’t, in very extreme ways. There is so much in between and it’s important for medical professionals to be cognizant of that.



    Thank you for this post. This is one of my questions I planned to ask, as compared to many of the stories here, it seems mine is “not that bad”. As I can use tampons (sometimes with pain) and do Pap smears. I can even have sex, but getting in at first is quite uncomfortable and by then I’ve tensed up worse, so I don’t enjoy it anymore, a vicious cycle I know, that is really hurting my marriage. Anyway, I appreciate your words, as I was thinking maybe mine wasn’t severe enough to warrant Botox and I should just keep trying or go back to physio. I only finally got diagnosed 2 weeks ago after 5+ years. To the severe cases out there, I can’t begin to imagine and I feel for you!! <3


    Thanks for your post, Zaleen and everyone! The spasms of vaginismus are like the spasms of any other muscles in the body – on a spectrum. This spectrum refers to amount of tension, the pain/discomfort it causes, and of course, a person’s medical history, etc. So you could ask 10,000 women with vaginismus to describe how it presents for them, and sure, there might be some seemingly universal descriptions. However, we know from our work at Maze and from all of you, everyone’s experiences are varied and unique.

    This process is no competition – achieving your personal goals based upon whatever YOU are feeling, your desired outcome and your own timeline is what matters most. Keep asking your questions, keep the support for others coming, and let us know how we can be of help!


    Zaleen – thanks for your post! And even though your vaginismus might not be as bad as that of some of the other forum posters, that doesn’t mean that pain during sex is something you should put up with! Any amount of discomfort can still cause that negative cycle of association you talk about and shouldn’t be something you tolerate just for the sake of keeping your partner happy. If you haven’t tried dilating before, I highly recommend it, and if you’ve had luck with a physiotherapist before, that’s something to consider to. Let us know if you have any questions and don’t settle for less than enjoyable sex!

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