Sexual dysfunction can take it’s toll on a person’s physical, mental and emotional well being, especially if there is not enough awareness and education around these issues.
Sexual dysfunction certainly does not discriminate based on gender or age and can potentially decrease an individual’s standard of living and affect one’s self esteem especially if we are not equipped with the right kind of knowledge and tools to overcome it.
There are some sexual issues such as STD’s or reproductive health issues that are quite common and although still quite frowned upon, are still more likely to be cured quickly. However for the disorder we are about to delve into today, we still don’t have a defined cause behind it.
Vaginismus affects 1 in 500 women worldwide and is a disorder where a woman’s vaginal muscles contract involuntarily during penetration or sex. This not only prevents the individual from engaging in sexual intercourse but may also make the usage of tampons or menstrual cups impossible and exceedingly painful.
This sharp pain or burning sensation takes place when a woman is touched near the vaginal area, when a tampon or cup is attempted to be inserted and even during penetrative sex. This does not mean that there is any dysfunction in a person’s libido or sensation of sexual arousal, but interferes with intercourse.
Unlike the more commonly identified disorder, Dyspareunia where individuals experience painful sex due to the presence of inflammatory diseases or cysts, Vaginismus does not always have a defined cause behind it. There have been correlations between the disorder and menopause as due to a drop in estrogen levels, the vagina secretes less lubrication and therefore becomes less elastic.
Symptoms and how to identify the disorder
Although the extent and severity of the condition varies from each case, one of the more acknowledged symptom is the painful and involuntary contractions of the vaginal muscles. No matter how severe, this involuntary constriction makes penetrative sex near impossible and extremely painful.
Adding onto the contractions, other symptoms that have been recorded include a decreased libido, fear of sexual intercourse, burning sensations and even sharp and stinging pain near the vaginal entrance.
The important thing to note here is that while sexual disorders such as vaginismus are extremely physical and painful, a lot of that discomfort has to do with an individual’s emotional distress and lack of self esteem, especially since this renders you unable to perform your sexual obligations and duties. The first step is to accept that you are experiencing something similar to these symptoms and to realize that nothing is wrong with you as these symptoms can be lessened.
The next step is to seek help from an authorized health practitioner who is well equipped to help you deal with this disorder. The most important thing to remember here is that like any other medical issue, the area affected needs to be examined. Do not shy away from pelvic exams!
There are a lot of apprehensions among men and women when it comes to such exams but they are completely natural and quite necessary for continued sexual health and care. Do not shy away from sharing your sexual history with your medical practitioner as well. This will give them insight and will only help them take care of you better.