Vaginismus occurs when the vaginal muscles involuntarily tighten up when something tries to enter the vagina e.g. a penis or toy during sex, or a tampon.

It can happen to people who have experienced (and enjoyed) vaginal penetration in the past, as well as those who have never experienced it.

Ever heard the one about the painful first time?

Having some discomfort the first time you experience penetration (tampon or otherwise), is normal. Some people have no pain – it’s a very personal experience.

Vaginismus doesn’t always have an obvious cause. It could be triggered by:

  • a bad sexual experience
  • an unpleasant medical examination

It’s almost as if your body is saying no. If you have vaginismus, listen to your body. There’s no reason to force yourself into doing anything your body doesn’t want to do – even if, mentally, you want to do it.

If your sexual partner has vaginismus, it’s important to be supportive.

If you think you have vaginismus or have been diagnosed with vaginismus, you can speak to your doctor about how to manage it..

Vaginismus can be even more complicated for transmasculine people…

If you feel like you need health advice from someone other than your local GP, look for medical services tailored to transgender people, like the CliniQ clinic in London, or ask for advice from trusted sources online. Search ‘Terrence Higgins Trust’ online for a great directory of resources.