Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vagina that close the vagina. Difficulty or inability to allow vaginal penetration for intercourse is the primary symptom (making penetration difficult and painful, or even impossible). It is considered a sexual dysfunction and is relatively uncommon (occurring in less than 2% of women in the US).
Vaginismus is a complex condition with several possible causes that may result from past sexual trauma or abuse, other psychological factors, or a history of discomfort with sexual intercourse. Sometimes no specific cause can be determined. The first step, regardless, is to discuss this problem with your health care provider.
Women with varying degrees of vaginismus often develop anxiety regarding coitus and penetration, and intercourse is usually painful. However, this does not mean that they cannot achieve or sustain sexual arousal. Many are very sexually responsive and may have orgasms through clitoral stimulation. Some women with vaginismus will seek sexual contact and sexual play as long as vaginal penetration is avoided.
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