Definition of Vaginismus

Vaginismus is defined as involuntary spasm/contraction/reflex of the muscles surrounding the entrance to the vagina, making penetration impossible and/or painful, which causes personal and/or relationship distress.

This involuntary vaginal reflex can be triggered by attempts at intercourse, but also by attempts to insert other objects, like tampon's, tools for a medical examination and even your own finger. Some women with Vaginismus express it feels like ‘hitting a brick wall' when trying to insert something.


The extent to which vaginismus manifests itself various greatly from woman to woman. Some can insert their own finger, some are fine with a medical examination and others may even be able to partially insert a penis. But there are also women with vaginismus who are unable to insert anything into the vagina at all, since it is too painful or the muscles cramp up too much.

It is important to note that most women with Vaginismus are able to get sexually aroused and most do have a deep desire to have sexual intercourse with their partner. It therefore becomes extremely frustrating for these vaginismus sufferers not to be able to make love.

There are 2 types of Vaginismus:

Primary Vaginismus occurs where a woman has never, at any time, been able to have pain-free sexual intercourse.

Secondary Vaginismus occurs when a woman develops Vaginismus after having been able to engage in pleasurable pain free intercourse previously; this is usually due to trauma or surgery,

Prevalence of Vaginismus

Vaginismus seems to be quite uncommon when looking at its prevalence in the general population. However, because of the shame and secrecy associated with the condition it may be underreported and on the basis of clinic samples, it would appear that vaginismus is not that uncommon after all. Vaginismus is also believed to be a leading cause of the nonconsummation of marriage.


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