Both sexually experienced and inexperienced women can develop vaginismus.
Primary vaginismus occurs when a woman has never, at any time, been able to have pain-free intercourse. They often are unable to insert anything: the doctor's finger or speculum, when they need a Pap smear or vaginal examination; their own or partner's finger; or even a tampon.
Secondary vaginismus occurs when a woman who previously has enjoyed intercourse without pain, develops the condition later. It can be triggered by a traumatic experience like a difficult child birth, sexual assault or painful experiences with intercourse due to underlying conditions such endometriosis, pelvic or vaginal infections, low sexual arousal with lack of lubrication, menopausal dryness or other vulval conditions.
Vaginismus is treated by counselling, education, anxiety reduction, pelvic floor exercises and retraining of the pelvic floor muscles. Psychosexual education is important as it is essential that the woman gains knowledge of her sexual anatomy. Women who suffer from vaginismus are often raised in moral or religious homes, schools or institutions and, after a childhood of anti-sexual messages, it can be very difficult to face sexual interaction and accept sexual pleasure, even within a loving relationship.
For sexual health services in:
- New South Wales, Sydney Sexual Health Centre www.sshc.org.au
- Northern Territory, Clinic 34 www.ntahc.org.au/clinic-34
- Queensland, True https://www.true.org.au/clinic
- South Australia, Shine SA https://www.shinesa.org.au
- Victoria, Melbourne Sexual Health www.mshc.org.au
- Western Australia, Sexual Health Quarters www.shq.org.au