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Vaginismus is considered a disorder of sexual dysfunction. Vaginismus is vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse. Vaginismus can also develop later in life, even after many years of pleasurable intercourse. Vaginismus is a common cause of ongoing sexual pain and is also the primary female cause of sexless (unconsummated) marriages.

Vaginismus is a much more common problem than you may realize. Vaginismus can vary from mild discomfort with intercourse to the man being unable to enter because of pain and spasm. Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the vaginal entrance making intercourse impossible. Vaginismus is commonly classified as “consistent” (occurring each time penetration is attempted); “global” (independent of the partner or the circumstances); “lifelong” or “of recent onset”.

Vaginismus is considered abnormal if it occurs in the absence of genital sores and if it conflicts with a woman’s desire to participate in intercourse or to permit examination, but it may be a normal response if painful genital conditions exist or if forcible or premature intercourse is expected.

Therapy typically is tailored to the needs and situation of the woman and her partner. Therapy may also be needed to resolve the emotional issues regarding the cause of the vaginismus. When treated by a specialist in sex therapy, success rates are generally very high. Sometimes, in addition to the above treatments, individual and/or couples therapy is recommended as well.

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