Vaginismus is a condition whereby the vagina tightens when a woman tries to insert a tampon or has sex.
It is a fairly common condition but causes untold pain, upset and distress for both women and their partners, myself included.
Often there is no reason as to why it is happening, affecting quality of life, intimate relationships, chances of getting pregnant, self-esteem and confidence.
The good news is that vaginismus can be treated successfully through a combination of self-help, physiotherapy with a women’s health physiotherapist and counselling with a psychosexual therapist.
Taking control of your own treatment can be both proactive and positive. Involving your partner is important and will help them understand what you experiencing and that they are not the problem. Sometimes partners will avoid sexual intimacy because they worry they are going to hurt you. This anxiety can also impact upon their sexual function. This is why good communication is important so you can reassure each other and talk about your fears and anxieties. Talking to a psychosexual therapist together can help too.
Many gynaecologists recommend using medical vaginal dilators, which vary in size, to be slowly introduced into the vagina. These are often made from rigid plastic which can feel uncomfortable but can be used in conjunction with a vibrator. Silicone dilators feel softer on the delicate tissues of the vagina.
Some women prefer to use medical dilators, whereas other women like vibrators which are seen as less clinical.
Using a slim vibrator or dildo is a great way to regain your confidence. Vibrators can produce clitoral orgasms which help the woman to relax as well as enabling her to explore her clitoris and vagina at her own pace. Once you have overcome the symptoms of vaginismus, you can continue to use your vibrator during sex to enhance sexual pleasure.
Using a sex toy on yourself in front of your partner can be a sexy turn on for them too, especially when full penetrative sex is not possible.
You can enjoy sexual intimacy and pleasure without intercourse through intimate touch, kissing, cuddling, oral sex, nipple stimulation, mutual masturbation and incorporating sex toys into your sex play. There are many male sex toys that are ideal for couples play without penetration.
Here at Jo Divine, we work with healthcare professionals across the UK, including gynaecologists, woemns health physiotherapists and psychosexual therapists who recommend the products below to their female patients to help alleviate symptoms of vaginismus and make sex enjoyable again.
Slinky Pinky is a powerful 7 speed vibrator and is the slimmest product in our health range. The soft, smooth silicone shaft is narrow and very flexible, making it the perfect sensual fit for all beginners. Slinky Pinky is ideal for those wanting to try a vibrator but concerned about size.
One button control, Battery operated by 1 x N size/LR1 included, Waterproof
Total length : 10cm/4” circumference 7.2cm/2.9”
The OhMiBod Cuddle is a rechargeable vibrator with curved shape and gently tapered head. Great for external play, Cuddle has a more realistic, phallic design that some women prefer to help them with deeper penetration.
Made from body safe silicone, the Cuddle is splash-proof (do not submerge) and USB chargeable.
Size ; Insertable length 11.5cm/4.5” circumference 10cm/4”
Lelo Liv v2 is an ideal slim vibrator to use to ease symptoms of vaginismus. Made from skin safe silicone it is tapered at the end to allow gentle insertion. The range of vibration and pulse patterns allows you to choose a setting suitable for your needs. It is rechargeable, ensuring that it always has the power you require.
It is also waterproof, making it great to use in the bath or shower. The combination of warm water and the vibrations of the Liv allow the vagina to relax and make insertion easier.
Size: Insertable length 10cm/4” circumference 9.3cm/3.7”
Slightly shorter than the Picobong Zizo and larger in diameter by 4mm
Marevlous Lover is a dual function vibrator. It does not even look like a vibrator if you feel anxious about using a sex toy. The powerful motor is located in the very slender handle of the sex toy which is an ideal size to help vaginal tightness. Being adjustable allows you to find the angle of comfort that works for you. The flat head offers complete vuval stimulation, something you can enjoy for solo pleasure, to help you relax prior to using your dilators or to enjoy intimacy with a partner when penetration is not possible.
With a simple two button control, Lover has a an easy-to-use travel lock and is USB rechargeable with a self sealing port making it perfect for use in the bath or shower and easy to clean.
Size : Insertable length : 10cm/4” circumference 9.5cm/3.7”
Similar in size to the Lelo Liv, the Picobong Zizo is a battery operated vibrator. Made from skin safe silicone, it is gently tapered at the end to allow insertion into the vagina. The powerful vibrations and pulse patterns allow both clitoral and vaginal stimulation, excellent for enabling you to relax and enjoy strong orgasms.
Easy to use, the simple push button design helps you to stay in control of the vibration intensity and patterns. Being waterproof, the Picobong Zizo is ideal for play in the bath or shower.
Size : Insertable length 14cm/5.5” insertable circumference 10.5cm/4.1”
Slightly longer than the Lelo Liv by 3cm and slimmer in diameter
The Inspire Dilator Kit offers 5 dilators that are ergonomically curved and easy to use. Unlike most medical dilators, they are made from flexible, skin-safe, velvety soft silicone.
The easy to use loop handle makes them comfortable to hold, and the gentle tapered shape and varied sizes allows you to increase the insertion size at a rate that is comfortable to you.
*Dilator 1 : 3”/7.5cm insertable length 1.6”/4cm circ.
*Dilator 2 : 3.5”/9cm insertable length 2.5”/6.2cm circ.
*Dilator 3 : 4.25”/10.75cm insertable length 2.75”/7cm circ.
*Dilator 4 : 5”/12.75cm insertable length 3.3”/8.4cm circ.
*Dilator 5 : 5.5”/14cm insertable length 4.1”/10.5cm circ.
Many women combine using the dilators with a slim vibrator, such as the Slinky Pinky to help them to relax and begin to experience pleasurable sexual sensations. The Slinky Pinky can also fit through the loop handle of the dilatiors, turning them into vibrating dilators which promotes bloodflow and sensations too.
Using a good lubricant to explore your clitoris and vagina can help you to relax, producing intense feelings of sexual pleasure and excitement, leading to strong orgasms. Getting to know your body through gentle massage of this area allows you to familiarise yourself with the pleasurable feelings associated with intimate touch.
Knowing what feels good for you will help you to feel more relaxed and confident about having sexual intercourse. Showing your partner how to massage your clitoris and around your vagina in a way that is comfortable for you will make them feel less anxious about causing pain during penetrative sex and help you to relax under their sensual caresses.
Many women suffer from vaginal dryness at some time during their life but are too embarrassed to discuss the problem or seek help.
Often a symptom of the menopause, vaginal dryness can be caused by stress, anxiety, hormonal changes due to contraception or pregnancy and medical interventions. Levels of vaginal secretions differ between individuals and using natural and artificial lubricants can help to increase wetness, which in turn, improves sexual pleasure and satisfaction for both men and women.
YES organic lubricants come in water based or oil based formulations, designed for both men and women. Being skin safe, odourless and tasteless, organic lubricants provide you with the right amount of lubrication with minimal risk or mess.
They are also the closest lubricant to your body’s own vaginal secretions and are safely absorbed into the walls of the vagina making them feel flexible and suitably moist. They can be used with both a vibrator and medical dilators.
Containing only plant extracts, YES lubricants will not cause an allergic reaction or irritation to the skin of the genital area, unlike other lubricants which contain harsh chemicals.
YES Vaginal Moisturiser is a long lasting natural vaginal moisturising gel. pH balanced to match and maintain vaginal health.
YES VM is free from glycerine, parabens, glycols and preservatives which are common chemical found in many vaginal lubricant which irritate the delicate tissues of the vagina and vulva.
Both the lubricants and vaginal moisturisers come in handy 5ml dose applicators which help you to get the products higher inside the vagina.
Some women prefer to use silicone lubricants as they feel silky soft on the delicate skin of the vulval area and vagina. However silicone lubricants cannot be used with silicone sex toys but can be used with sex toys made from glass, metal or ABS plastic.
Don’t suffer in silence if you think you may have vaginismus. You should seek medical help to ensure that you are referred to specially trained health care professionals who can help you.
Combining self-help with the use of a slim vibrator, lubricant or medical dliators, specialised exercises with a women’s health physiotherapist and counselling with a psychosexual therapist, you will hopefully overcome this painful condition and start to enjoy sex again.
At Jo Divine we believe that sexual health and sexual pleasure go hand in hand and have created a health brochure with suitable products to help people with sexual issues. Working with medical professionals, we hope to encourage patients and HCPs alike in talking more freely about sexual problems. A health issue doesn’t mean your sex life will have to stop!
College of Sex and Relationships Therapists : www.cosrt.org.uk
Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy : www.pogp.csp.org.uk
Kate Moyle : http://www.katemoyle.co.uk/
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: www.rcog.org.uk
The Vaginismus Network : www.thevaginismusnetwork.com is a support group for women who have vaginismus
The Centre for Psychosexualhealth : www.psychosexualhealth.org.uk
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