Vaginismus is when the vagina suddenly tightens up when you try to insert something into it. It can be painful and upsetting, but it can be treated.

Vaginismus is thought to be one of the most common female psychosexual dysfunctions but the exact prevalence rate among the general population is not known. However it is though that is could be as high as 17%.

Vaginismus can be grouped into four categories and symptoms can vary between individuals. Pain can range from mild to severe. Without treatment, Vaginismus can lead to distress and frustration. However, treatment is possible

Primary Vaginismus is a condition in which the spasming starts the first time a woman tries to have sexual intercourse or insert an object like a tampon into the vagina. During sex, a partner is unable to insert anything into the vagina. A woman may experience pain, burning, or generalized muscle spasms. The symptoms stop when the attempt at vaginal entry stops.

Secondary Vaginismus develops when vaginal penetration was once achieved, but is no longer possible. It can occur at any stage of life, and it may not have happened before. This can stem from a specific event, such as an infection, menopause, a medical condition, surgery, or childbirth. The psychological effect of physical or emotional trauma or a combination of both, can also be the cause.

Even after a doctor successfully treats any underlying medical condition, the pain can continue if the body has become conditioned to respond in this way. (Hypnotherapy can help to set new patterns of response).

Global vaginismus can be primary or secondary. It is when the symptoms happen in response to any type of penetration'

Situational vaginismus can be either primary or secondary.. It is when the symptoms occur in response to some types of penetration, but not others. For example, a woman may be able to insert a tampon, but may not be able to have sex.

Symptoms can vary between individuals and may include difficulties with intercourse that may include tightness and pain, penetration that may be difficult or impossible, long term sexual pain without a known cause, generalised muscle spasm during attempted intercourse, pain during gynae examination, pain in inserting a tampon.

Pain can range from mild to severe in intensity, and the sensation may range from slight discomfort to a burning feeling.

Vaginismus does not prevent people from becoming sexually aroused, but it may lead to anxiety about sexual intercourse and cause people to avoid sex or vaginal penetration.

During sexual activity, a person with vaginismus can still experience an orgasm from clitoral stimulation. The condition does not prevent this ability and only affects penetrative sex. However, some people with vaginismus may have difficulty reaching orgasm.