A disorder that causes the muscles surrounding the outer part of the vagina opening to involuntarily spasm is called vaginismus.  This makes sexual intercourse difficult or impossible.  Attempting sexual penetration may bring pain, humiliation, feelings of inadequacy or fear of having sex.  A gynecological exam or using a tampon may be difficult for a woman with this condition.



Childhood sexual abuse, rape or a painful first sexual experience are common psychological causes of vaginismus (resistance to remembering painful events).  Negative messages about sex, or premarital sex, a belief that one’s vagina is too small, fear or guilt about intercourse, fear of intimacy, fear of pregnancy and a woman unconsciously expressing anger towards her partner can also be causes of this condition.



Treating vaginismus includes educating both partners about the condition and receiving therapy for the underlying emotional issues involved.


Relationship counseling may be needed to address the marital stress that often accompanies this disorder.  A treatment program aimed at eliminating the vaginismus reflex with dilators can be very successful in relieving this condition.


For information about making an In-Office Consultation Appointment


CALL (310) 374-4173

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E-Mail: [email protected]


Carol Boulware, MFT, Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist – #MFT11632
ABS Certified Sex Therapist #1466
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
EMDR Certified Therapist – EMDRIA Approved Consultant
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner
3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550
Los Angeles, California 90401
(310) 374-4173
Email: [email protected]
Additional offices in Santa Monica & Redondo Beach