Say Hello To Vaginismus, The Locked Vagina Syndrome

Image: So keep your love locked down, your love locked down. Courtesy of Carlos Luz, Flickr

Let's just all agree that vaginas are amazing and all powerful. 

In fact, they are so puissant (and yes we mean that in terms of physical strength and influence thankyouverymuch) that its walls can contract with the force of a thousand Spartans and prevent the entry of a penis, sex toy and even a tampon, involuntarily.

Wait, wait, wait, no! That's bad! Penetration is basically the bee's knees and tampons are basically a blessing in cotton form. What evil, vagina-hating sorcerer would cast such a curse upon a lovely young maiden? The medical term is vaginismus and it is, unfortunately, a very real problem that affects approximately every two women in a thousand. Like a lock with a mismatched key, it's physically impossible to do anything.

What it looks like
So, while the vagina is typically thought of as an awesome hole of sweet silky lovin' hiding between our thighs, it's not—actually, the vag is more like a collapsible tube made of muscle. Your "walls" are touching right now, unless of course . . . anyway, the point is, a lot could potentially go wrong. Women suffering from vaginismus feel an intense pain when attempting to insert anything up in there. Those affected claim that it feels like a tearing sensation, or that the item being pushed in is "hitting a wall." More severe cases actually won't allow anything in there—no matter how much force. In that sense, the vagina snaps shut. Spasms may also occur.

Curious about the sensation? Make a tight fist with your left hand. Now, take your right index finger, bend it and try to force your knuckle into your fist. Not so easy is it. Imagine that sensation, but about a trillion times more painful.

So what the hell is going on down there? 
This chronic tightening—not surprisingly—has a whole bevy of reasons why the muscles surrounding your ladybits (the PC muscles) tense up unconsciously. Most women don't predict it coming. 

Physical issues include urinary tract infections, yeast infections, STIs, pelvic tumors, cysts, hormonal changes, reaction to medication and difficult childbirths. Whew! None of these are fun on their own, so adding sexual dysfunction to the list creates extra stress. This stress can then foster a cycle of fear and anticipation in the bedroom, which encourages the evil vaginismus to close its doors to our gilded tunnel of bed-sack bliss. 

Speaking of gilded tunnels, the problems can't always be diagnosed by our trusty gyno. Often this condition is completely dependent on psychological underpinnings like women with anxiety or those who have experienced a past trauma (like sexual or emotional abuse). Interestingly but not-so-shockingly, those who grew up in strict religious households who were explicitly taught that sex is sinful (think about Carrie in Stephen King's cult classic whose mother called breasts "dirty pillows") are also likely to suffer out of inherent shame.

How to treat it
It's only Tuesday ladies, I wouldn't leave you without some good news! Vaginismus is one of the most treatable forms of sexual dysfunction for a woman. Women must first understand what is causing the glory hole lockdown. Additionally, it's vital to have a working knowledge of what is going on physically. Anatomy 101 brush up, anyone? Once this is accomplished (which, granted, may take awhile) insertion techniques can be implemented. Using lubrication and patience, women are encouraged to slide instruments up in there—starting with something small (like a Q-tip!)—is advised. Once your vagina has wrapped its pink fleshy mind around that concept, women can on the force exerted and movement once inside. Gradually, larger items can be introduced and eventually, it's time to tackle sex. Double-fist pump hurray!

(Just don't get overzealous with all that Easter candy and use chocolate OK?)
 

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