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Painful Intercourse? What is Vaginismus and How Can Hypnotherapy Help?

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Vaginismus is an extremely painful and distressing condition.

Do you know what Vaginismus is? I’ll tell you about it:

Vaginismus is a mind-body response to vaginal penetration. The vaginal muscles at the entrance to the vagina tighten involuntarily, making penetration impossible or very painful. There are two types of vaginismus:

Primary vaginismus when involuntary tightening of the muscles mean there has never been any vaginal penetration.

Secondary vaginismus occurs when there has been normal, successful penetration before, sometimes for years.

In both types the muscles tighten or contract in anticipation of pain. Added to these are the variations of total or partial muscle spasm occurrence. Those with total vaginismus are unable to have a pelvic examination, insert a tampon or have penetrative sex. Partial vaginismus is when it may be possible to do one or more of the different types of penetration, but involuntary muscle spasm prevents the other/s or makes them very painful. Attempting penetrative intercourse is the most likely partial, even when there has been no problem before. Sometimes there is a reason but frequently there’s no known cause.

Those experiencing primary vaginismus may or may not have suffered or witnessed sexual abuse. Sometimes there is a deeply buried psychological reason. For others, there is no apparent reason other than once it is apparent, anxiety then surrounds penetration attempts.

My clients tell me the pain can be excruciating and take their breath away. However hard they try to relax, they cannot stop the pain and tightening of the vaginal muscles. Many come to me after they’ve tried various other methods that they hope will help. Things like using lubrication, having an alcoholic drink or spending longer on foreplay before attempting penetrative sex.

Sexual penetrative vaginismus doesn’t actually impact on the woman’s arousal or pleasure from other forms of intimacy, but if left untreated it can quickly impact on her relationships, mental health and self confidence.

The sad fact about this completely involuntary closing of the vagina is the impact it has on couples with either or both feeling inadequate and frustrated. The pain leads to anxiety and the anxiety exacerbates the whole problem building it up into an even bigger issue. Ignoring it and just not having penetrative sex is not a sensible option, my clients say things like:

‘I feel so ashamed and guilty, I don’t know what to do, I can’t help it’.


‘Since it started happening, I’ve been diagnosed with depression. I’m afraid to try and have sex.’

The good news is that pleasurable, pain free penetrative sex is possible through hypnotherapy vaginismus is treatable. Hypnotherapy can help those suffering the psychological fear that manifests as a physical spasm. I work with my clients to discover and remove the negativity surrounding penetration and by introducing positive hypnotic suggestion to completely flip the psychological response.

Vaginismus is a classic example of a completely involuntary mind created physiological response, which cannot be helped by physical intervention due to the mind-body connection.

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