How To Treat Vaginismus
Vaginismus is a condition whereby the vagina tightens when a person tries to insert a tampon, a sex toy, has a smear test, pelvic examination or has sex.
It is a fairly common condition but causes untold pain, upset and distress for both vagina owners 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, pelvic health physiotherapy and psychosexual therapy.
Taking control of your own treatment can be both proactive and positive. Involving your partner is important and will help them understand what you are 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 healthcare professionals 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 with a vibrator. Using our silky soft silicone dilators feels gentler on the delicate tissues of the vagina. The smallest dilator is also great for massaging the delicate tissue around the entrance of the vagina, which can often feel very thin and sore.
Many people prefer to use a slim sex toy or vibrator as it can feel less clinical and hopefully a step into feeling more sexual, whereas others like using dilators.
Using a slim vibrator or dildo is a great way to regain your confidence. Vibrators are great for clitoral orgasms which help you to relax as well as allowing you to explore your clitoris and vagina at your own pace, discovering pleasurable sexual sensations. 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 or playing with sex toys together.
Sexual intimacy and pleasure is so much more than penetrative sex and can include 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, pelvic health physiotherapists, psychosexual therapists and genital pain clinics who recommend the products below to their patients/clients to help alleviate symptoms of vaginismus and make sex enjoyable again.
Jo Divine IMMY
Jo Divine IMMY, our first own branded sex toy, is a powerful 7 speed battery powered vibrator, and the slimmest in our health range. It is frequently recommended by many of the healthcare professionals we work with, especially as a first toy and to help sexual health issues including vaginismus, vaginal tightness, vaginal atrophy and massaging scar tissue.
The soft, smooth silicone shaft is narrow and has a flexible tip, perfect for massaging around the entrance of the vagina and any scar tissue. Ideal for those who want to try a vibrator but are concerned about size. You can also remove the silicone sleeve to enjoy the 7 speed bullet on its own.
Size: Total length 10 cm/4” | circ. 7.2 cm/2.9”
Rocks-Off Prism is a sleek and slender beauty, ideal for people who want to try a vibrator but are concerned about size or prefer a slim product. With 10 functions, this beautiful, powerful skin-safe multicoloured, long and slim vibrator delivers intense internal and external stimulation.
It is ideal for easing vaginal tightness, massaging scar tissue after childbirth and post-operatively.
Size: Total length 12.7 cm/5” | circ. 6.35 cm/2.5”
Rocks Off Havana is a slim, powerful rechargeable vibrator, discrete in size and ideal for solo pleasure or with a partner. With a range of multiple speeds and pulse patterns. It is perfect for internal and external pleasure. Perfect for beginners and for easing vaginal tightness, vaginal atrophy and massaging scar tissue.
Size: Total length 14 cm/5.5” | circ. 8 cm/3.1”
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
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
Calexotics Marvelous Lover
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
CalExotic Inspire Silicone Dilator Kit
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 IMMY to help them to relax and begin to experience pleasurable sexual sensations. The IMMY can also fit through the loop handle of the dilatioRs, turning them into vibrating dilators, which promotes blood flow and sensations too.
OHNUT Classic Buffer Rings
The Ohnut is an ingenious product made from 4 stretchy silicone rings designed to act as a buffer and prevent deep penetration. These comfy modular rings are worn around the base of a penetrating partner and compress down. Rings can be added or removed at any time to enjoy pleasurable, pain-free sex. Being incredibly stretchy, Ohnut is suitable for any penis size, including those who are more well-endowed.
Sexual Lubricants and Vaginal Moisturisers
We’re passionate about intimate health and sexual pleasure, which is why we only sell irritant free lubes and moisturisers that feel incredible and can transform your sex life because ingredients matter when it comes to your intimate health and sexual pleasure.
Most commercial lubes and even some available on prescription, contain cheap, low-quality ingredients including parabens, glycerines, glycols, alcohol, dyes and perfumes, which can cause irritation, thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Many popular brands lubricate but actively remove moisture from the vaginal walls, so exacerbate vaginal dryness.
Many people tell us our lubricants have transformed their intimate health and sexual pleasure, which is great because there is nothing sexy or pleasurable about a bout of thrush or itchy vulva!
Many people are unsure how to use their lubricant so we have created this article which may be helpful.
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.
Made with botanical and organic ingredients that are sustainably sourced, SUTIL Luxe contains ingredients that moisturise, nourish and enhance your intimate health. SUTIL Luxe is a premium lube that feels natural, not intrusive. It gently cushions and glides, blending seamlessly with your own natural lubrication, making you feel wetter. Unlike most other water-based lubes, Luxe is long-lasting and does not dry out, making it economical to use.
SUTIL Luxe is an excellent lube for menopausal and post-menopausal people and can be used as a vaginal/ vulval moisturiser too. If you care about what you eat and use on your face and body, give your vagina the lube it deserves – you won’t regret it!
Non-staining and condom safe.
SUTIL Rich is a thick, velvety water -based lubricant that feels like it’s silicone-based.
Designed with a pH suitable for both anal and vaginal use, the new “Rich” formulation has enhanced viscosity to ease anal penetration and soothe dry, delicate tissues. SUTIL Rich contains small amounts of Horny Goat Weed – a herbal aphrodisiac – that is added, along with Siberian Ginseng and Jujube nut. Traditionally, these herbs are used to increase strength, energy, stamina and vitality, but they also help to boost immune functions and have natural antibiotic and antiseptic properties to fight infection.
Horny Goat Weed is also a vasodilator, which promotes blood flow and increases natural lubrication. Depending on your sensitivity, you may feel a warm, slightly tingly sensation when using SUTIL Rich and if you are new to SUTIL we would recommend trying SUTIL Luxe first (or try both!).They both come in a 10ml sample size, 3-4 uses.
SUTIL Rich is an excellent lube for menopausal and post-menopausal people who find sex painful or uncomfortable, and can be used as a vaginal/ vulval moisturiser too. It is not recommended for those who take nitroglycerin, have sensitivities to herbal extracts, or experience vulval/vaginal sensitivity -
In these cases, the SUTIL Luxe is the lube for you.
YES Water-Based Lubricant
YES Water-based lubricant facilitates your pleasure without overwhelming your skin or senses. It is free of taste, smell, colour and residue. Also free of glycerine, parabens and glycols. Made from organic ingredients, it is non-staining and condom safe.
YES Oil-Based Lubricant
YES oil-based lubricant provides a wonderful smooth feel which enhances your enjoyment and helps sex play, without soreness or irritation. Created from the finest quality plant oils, it is nourishing to the skin. It is great to pop on if swimming in chlorinated water or the sea to protect the tissues of the vulva. Not latex condom safe.
YESOB and YESWB can be used together to create a Double Glide effect. You can also use it with Sutil too.
YES Vaginal Moisturiser
Just as you moisturise your face and body, moisturising our vulva and vagina keeps the tissues flexible, hydrated and free from irritation, all of which helps to make any penetrative sex more pleasurable and cervical screening test more comfortable. Having an intimate regime is important to keep your vulva and vagina happy and healthy. YES Vaginal Moisturiser is a long-lasting vaginal moisturising gel, pH balanced to restore and maintain vaginal health. Bio-adhesive, releasing moisture when needed. Non-irritating natural and organic ingredients. YESVM is not a sexual lubricant, it is designed to be used every 3-4 days internally and externally as required.
Calexotics Lube Tube.
Many people like to use the YES applicators ; however, you can use our handy Calexotics Lube Tube applicators which allows you to put 5mls of your favourite lubricant or vaginal moisturiser exactly where you need it. Made from skin safe plastic, they come in a pack of two and can be washed in hot soapy water to keep them clean.
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.
Seek Medical Advice
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. Do not let your GP dismiss your symptoms, tell you they are normal, advise you to use a poor lubricant or have a glass of wine, this is unprofessional and not helpful.
Combining self-help with the use of a slim vibrator, lubricant or dilators, pelvic health physiotherapy and psychosexual therapy, 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 :https://www.cosrt.org.uk/
Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy :https://pogp.csp.org.uk/
The Institute of Psychosexual Medicine : https://www.ipm.org.uk/
Contemporary Institute of Sexology : https://www.theinstituteofsexology.org/
Pink Therapy :http://www.pinktherapy.com/
Aoife Drury :https://drurytherapy.com/
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: www.rcog.org.uk
The Vaginismus Network : www.thevaginismusnetwork.com
The Centre for Psychosexual health : www.psychosexualhealth.org.uk