What is vaginismus?
Jess, Clem and the girls of Collectif Junon thrill Paris with their program of feminist and eclectic events, their eponymous blog since 2015 deconstructs the preconceived patterns of sexuality of our time. If you open your eyes, you may have seen Clem on his blue Pussyclette delivering their brilliant magazine Hysterique to the four corners of Paris. Gapianne joins forces with Junon to present a selection of subjects that have been swept away by the collective, and of course the number 2 of Hysterique is available for sale here , good reading!
Vaginismus, a vaguely known word? Heard it once or twice here and there? It affects, however, today, more than 15% of French women!
What is vaginismus?
Vaginismus is simply a psychological block that prevents your body from letting anything into your vagina. But how is it possible, you will say to me? Here are some explanations to understand this word that is too little known and still taboo for most of those concerned. First of all, vaginismus is not a disease, nothing very serious or fatal. It's only the result of a psychological block, an unconscious reflex, often due to a sexual experience badly experienced by your body or your brain.
The body will therefore create a physical blockage so that the pain experienced does not recur. How does this reflex manifest itself? When inserting a foreign body into your vagina such as a finger, a penis or any other object (it all depends on what you prefer…), the pelvic floor muscle, which is located around the vagina, will tighten and cause either slight discomfort, burning, sharp pain or sometimes even a tearing sensation.
The pain is therefore real, although the brain is the trigger. There are different kinds of vaginismus which will, most of the time, define the pain experienced and its frequency during sexual intercourse. There is therefore “global” vaginismus, which prevents you from having penetrating sexual relations in all circumstances, or the “situational” vaginismus which will occur with a specific person or object.
Vaginismus can also be "primary" and appear from the first sexual intercourse, or "secondary" and occur after trauma such as abuse, pregnancy phobia, neurological cause, gender identity disorder, lack of lubrication or a vaginal infection following radiotherapy treatment of the cervix.
Although 15% of French women are affected by vaginismus, it is not inevitable and this disease can be treated well, especially if it is detected at the earliest. And in the meantime, sexuality is always possible otherwise, as well as pregnancy, if you wish.
This subject has been taboo for too long, women wallow in silence out of shame, but that shouldn't be the case anymore!! Indeed, the longer we wait to treat vaginismus thinking that it will eventually pass, the more difficult it will be to find a liberated sexuality quickly.
How to get rid of vaginismus?
First, you have to take your time and not expect results too quickly. To treat vaginismus, you must first know and detect where this trauma comes from.
What is the source of this problem? It is possible that the answer to this question is buried deep in your brain and that you need outside help, but do not panic, many professionals are there for that. The answer to this question is the key that will allow you to go further, so there is no way to ignore it.
You have found the "answer" to this question and your body still does not accept to open up? It's normal, the brain keeps its muscular reflex in memory, so you have to relearn your body to relax and gradually accept external objects or bodies. For this, doctors and sexologists offer a series of different exercises to practice every day and over a more or less long period.
The first exercise is to find the problem muscle and contract it. This muscle is on the side of your southern hemisphere, it's the one you use to hold yourself back from urinating (it saved us from ridicule dozens of times this one didn't it?! Once detected, just squeeze and release it in sets of 20 throughout the day Don't worry no one will see what's going on in your panties unless your face betrays your supreme focus.
The second exercise consists of gradually inserting an external body into your vagina. It is recommended to use your own fingers, allowing you to fully manage your body. Start by relaxing completely and then insert a single finger. Tame your body and rediscover it gently and without forcing.
Repeat the exercise daily and for a more or less long period depending on your body and your feelings. If you can't do it, don't panic, you'll start again later, it's a hell of a job to relearn your body! Then take the leap, go to two fingers, then later to three, always without forcing and listening above all to your body. If this exercise doesn't work right away, don't panic, it takes time. Go back to the first one for a while before continuing.
The third exercise involves introducing a foreign body into the vagina. If you have a partner, you can ask him/her if he/she would like to help you or do it alone. You can also use what is called a candle kit. No, it's not an arsonist's fantasy, it's a small kit with a few dildo-shaped dilators in different sizes. For this exercise, the foreign body must be introduced daily, without necessarily making any movements. Just so that your body gets used to being "inhabited", penetrated. If your body accepts, you can ask your partner or practice small movements yourself, very gently, always with the aim of relearning new reflexes to your body and understanding it better.
At Gapianne, we recommend the vaginal dilator kit from Vagiwell . They have been specially designed to support women suffering from pain during penetration during a sexual act.
These different exercises take weeks or months. It may seem long and discouraging, but you have to stick to it (always without forcing) to get results (a bit like abs and buttocks classes). It may also be that the exercises do not work, in which case nothing is lost.
Lots of solutions exist to fight against vaginismus with the help of specialists. To recondition your brain and not wash it out, you can consult hypnosis specialists, psychologists, sexologists, physiotherapists, homeopaths, midwives or associations. Do not consult by default, take a specialist in whom you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable. And don't forget, listen to your body first.
Article written by the Junon collective and relayed by Gapianne as part of a collaboration