March 15th, 2017
At times, maintaining satisfying sexual relationships becomes extremely difficult, no matter how simple it may seem. Most marriages in western countries slowly becomes deprived of sex as the couple fails to consummate their relationship. Unfortunately, in most cases, the cause is not an organic issue such as cancer; but a gynecological problem like vaginismus.
Vaginismus is a condition which involves incessant involuntary stiffening of vaginal muscles at the time of every attempted penile penetration. It can be a major obstacle in sex life and may resultantly lead to depression, low self-esteem and a marriage in tatters. It may also make pelvic and gynecological examinations complicated or intricate to carry out. Poorly managed vaginismus may drive away the husband either in confusion or anger, and the woman is left feeling nothing but guilt and anxiety.
The symptoms of vaginismus may vary from women to women. Some women do manage to engage in sex however, sexual encounters will be painful or unpleasant for them. Others may be able to insert a tampon but fails to have a satisfying sexual encounter. There is an even smaller percentage of population of women, who can’t bear inserting anything. The classic symptom of vaginismus are, difficult and excruciating sex and absence of satisfaction or sexual gratification. The pain may or may not go away after the activity.
If a physical cause is identified such as oversensitive nerves or infection at the vaginal opening, the symptoms can be easily treated with medications. But if there’s no clear clinical picture, then following methods are usually recommended:
1. Melles, R. J., Dewitte, M. D., Ter Kuile, M. M., Peters, M. M., & de Jong, P. J. (2016). Attentional Bias for Pain and Sex, and Automatic Appraisals of Sexual Penetration: Differential Patterns in Dyspareunia vs Vaginismus?. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(8), 1255-1262.
2. Lahaie, M. A., Amsel, R., Khalifé, S., Boyer, S., Faaborg-Andersen, M., & Binik, Y. M. (2015). Can fear, pain, and muscle tension discriminate vaginismus from dyspareunia/provoked vestibulodynia? Implications for the new DSM-5 diagnosis of genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder. Archives of sexual behavior, 44(6), 1537-1550.
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