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What is Vaginismus? When Sex Brings More Pain Than Pleasure.

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When having sex hurts more than bringing you pleasure, the vagina needs your full attention. Vaginismus is a condition when the muscles of a woman’s vagina squeeze or contract when something is entering it. When a woman wears a tampon or is having sex, vaginismus can lead to mild to severe pain. This not only has a physical manifestation for women but also can affect them psychologically.

As we know vagina is a muscular canal that is lined with mucus membranes and nerves. It connects the uterus and cervix to the outside of the body. This connection allows for menstruation, intercourse, and childbirth. Many people must be aware of what a vagina is but sexual health problems related to the vagina like vaginismus are still under the rug talks. So,  let us unveil what exactly vaginismus is.

What is Vaginismus?

According to a study published in the International Journal of Medical Reviews, vaginismus is a sexual disorder that affects approximately 7% of women worldwide. It is basically the involuntary or uncontrolled spasm of our pelvic muscles. The condition often makes it difficult for women to allow entry of the penis into the vagina. It adds to fear which further make a woman contract her body, thus making the pain worse.

Dr. Sheetal Agarwal, Senior Consultant OBS & Gynaecologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital Delhi told SheThePeople, “vaginismus is when the body has no anatomical disorder, no physical disorder in her genital parts but she is still unable to perform the sexual act.”

Talking about the causes, she says, “According to my experience, the hindrance is perhaps all in her mind. She may enjoy the foreplay but the moment penetration takes place, her vaginal muscles contract and she does not let her partner penetrate completely. So that is vaginismus. It is in most cases very much psychological.”

Her experience resonates with a recent study that used electromyography of pelvic floor muscles and assessment of pudendal nerve activity in women undergo vaginismus discover neurophysiological abnormalities that suggest changes in the central nervous system are present in this condition.

Problems That Creep In Due To Vaginismus

The major problem due to vaginismus is unconsummated marriages. Apart from that, vaginismus has a significant psychological impact. Due to the inability of the female partner to continue with sexual intercourse, “the drift takes place in the relationship. The husband starts going out as he also has his urges and he too has to satisfy his sexual needs,” says Dr. Sheetal. Moreover, females develop various psychological problems like anxiety disorders, depression, etc. In addition to that, vaginismus makes sexual intercourse difficult or impossible, even it makes gynaecological examination and insertion of tampon painful.

According to clinical reports, females who have vaginismus have a negative perspective towards having sex, mainly out of fear and discomfort. This may also lead some women to be ashamed of their sexual problem, leading them to ignore it and hide it from husband, partner, families etc.

Types Of Vaginismus

Primary Vaginismus

Primary vaginismus is a condition in which vaginal penetration has never happened due to the women’s vaginal muscle reflexes and this is the most common reason for unconsummated marriages.

Secondary Vaginismus

Women with secondary vaginismus initially had normal sexual relations, but due to some kind of infection or sexual assault which develops a fear from sexual intercourse, women develop involuntary spasm of the pelvic muscles.

Treatment

Dr. Sheetal suggests “supportive treatment” for vaginismus. She told SheThePeople, “The initial treatment is psychological counselling. We counsel both the partners and we tell the male partners to go slow. We tell them to indulge in a lot of foreplay so that the secretion takes place. Normally, the secretion is so less that the act of penetration becomes painful.” The other thing she suggests is using “a lot of lubricant.”

For patients who still find sexual intercourse or insertion of tampons difficult, Dr. Sheetal with her experience of over 20 years says, “We call them to OPD, then gradually insert one finger if she is comfortable with that and then two fingers, actually we make her comfortable with the act of insertion. Over 10-15 days we do psychological counselling of the patient and of course, we do vaginal dilation so that she allows her partner to penetrate.” She adds, “Mostly, after one or two penetrations the fear drifts away.”

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Over half of Brits worry they will never want to have sex again, says survey

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Loss of libido can be due to many reasons, psychological or physical (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

With the pandemic still raging across the globe, it makes perfect sense if you’re not feeling very horny right now.

After all, our collective mental health has suffered and we’ve been told to avoid contact with other people unless absolutely necessary – and now ordered to stay away from sex altogether, unless we are in an ‘established’ relationship.

New research has revealed that although a dip in libido is normal, many people are concerned they won’t get the urge back.

Findings from a survey conducted by Blueheart, a digital sex therapy app, exclusively shared with Metro.co.uk, show that 55% of Brits worry they will never be interested in sex again.

In fact, 41% are trying to make themselves ‘unattractive’ to their partner by not showering or covering themselves up in layers, in order to avoid getting freaky in the sheets.

Others are distracting themselves with TV and video games (29%).

Out of the 2,559 participants, all of whom are currently dealing with a low sex drive, just over one in five have talked to their partner about it.

Loss of libido is very common.

It can happen to anyone at any time and there is a range of reasons that could be the cause, from circumstantial events (grief, losing a job, isolation etc.) which negatively affect mental health, to body image issues, physical problems like erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness, and more.

Among the survey participants specifically, 27% feel ashamed of their body, while 52% suffer from anxiety, fear and nervousness when their partner tries to initiative sex.

Nearly a third (27%) feel bored or numb to the activity.

‘Low libido – like many other forms of sexual dysfunction – can be a real taboo subject,’ says Dr. Katherine M. Hertlein, couples therapist, sexuality educator and expert advisor at Blueheart.

‘People are ashamed to discuss how they’re feeling for fear of being judged, as culturally we put a huge amount of pressure on people (particularly young people) to want to have sex all the time.

‘There’s a big focus on what we “should” want and what’s perceived as “normal”, but when it comes to sex there really is no “normal”.

‘Everyone has different preferences, drives and desires. 

‘Despite the ongoing narrative about an imminent “baby boom”, the recent months haven’t necessarily been a catalyst for many peoples’ libido.

‘High levels of financial stress, job insecurity and health anxiety have been the reality for many and stress might cause a loss or drop in libido. 

‘Some couples might also be experiencing intensified living situations, spending increased amounts of time at home with their partners.

‘We are social creatures, but we also need our own space. People often underestimate how big of an impact a variety of lifestyle factors can have on sex drive.

‘This is especially true for couples with children, who have had less privacy due to a lack of childcare in lockdown.

‘But low libido is incredibly common and also something that can be addressed with the right combination of help and support.’

If you are worried about your sex drive, speak to your local GP or visit a sexual health clinic for help.

You can also seek advice from therapists or medical professionals online (but ensure it is from a reputable service).

Furthermore, the NHS suggests visiting the Sexual Advice Association website, where you can find more information on loss of libido.

Dr Hertlein adds: ‘Therapy is a very useful tool individuals can use to regain control of their body, thought patterns and sexual relationship with their partner.

‘Low libido is nothing to be ashamed of and working through these issues and reconnecting with your body in a safe and supportive environment is a helpful way to understand and resolve it.

‘There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but what is certain is that those individuals worried that they’ll never be interested in sex again must not give up hope.

‘You can seek help to reclaim your sex life and achieve balance and fulfilment in your sex life.’

Do you have a story you’d like to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

MORE: Can sex help anxiety and depression?

MORE: How to get back into dating after a divorce

MORE: How I Do It: The newlywed man who would rather play video games than have sex



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Do You Have Dryness, Vaginal Atrophy or Vaginitis?

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At menopause as hormone levels decline, women start noticing signs of dryness or tightness and sex may become uncomfortable

There are several reasons for this, and a number of conditions that can arise at this time may need to be investigated.

Dealing with dryness

This is most common at menopause and related to the declining oestrogen levels that occur at this time.

This is not serious physically, though can certainly be distressing, and there are a number of lubricants available.

If you have mild to moderate vaginitis, using a lubricant can help relieve pain and discomfort while having sex but they provide short-term symptom relief and can improve vaginal dryness during sex, but there’s no evidence to show they’re an effective long-term treatment.

Several types of lubricant are available – some are water-based and some are silicone-based. You may need to try a few before finding one that’s suitable or  your GP  may wish to prescribe a local oestrogen cream, gel or pessary.

If you prefer a natural alternative then 20-1, which is a combination cream with the majority ingredient of progesterone with two natural oestrogens added, can help particularly if internal vaginal application is used.

Vaginitis

This is inflammation of the vagina that can cause itching, discomfort and discharge. It can be caused by any of the following infections or irritants:

– thrush – a common yeast infection that affects most women at some point

–  bacterial vaginosis – a bacterial infection where the balance of bacteria inside the vagina is disrupted

– trichomoniasis – an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) caused by a tiny parasite

– chemical irritation – for example, from perfumed soap, bubble bath, or fabric conditioner, or from spermicide and some sanitary products

– washing inside your vagina

– chlamydia – an STI caused by bacteria

– gonorrhoea – an STI caused by bacteria

– genital herpes – an STI caused by the herpes simplex virus. and symptoms include:

Symptoms can include the following

– an abnormal vaginal discharge

– vaginal irritation or itching

– pain when peeing or having sex

– light bleeding or spotting

– a strong, unpleasant smell, particularly after sex, can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, which can sometimes cause vaginitis.

Time to see your GP or go to a sexual health clinic if you have any unusual vaginal symptoms, particularly if you have :

– vaginal itching or an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge

– haven’t had a vaginal infection before

– had vaginal infections before but now your symptoms are different

– had a number of sexual partners, or you have a new sexual partner so you may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

–  finished a course of medication for vaginal thrush, but your symptoms are persisting

There’s no need to see your GP if you’ve been diagnosed with thrush in the past and your symptoms are the same. If you’re sure you have thrush and you’ve treated it successfully in the past with over-the-counter medication, you can treat it yourself again.

Treating vaginitis

Treatment for vaginitis depends on what’s causing it. Yeast infections, such as vaginal thrush, are usually treated with antifungal medicines, and bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics.

Vaginal atrophy

This refers to the thinning of the lining of the vagina after the menopause and the resulting dryness, itching or discomfort (particularly during sex). It can also sometimes be caused by a decrease in oestrogen levels after the menopause.

Your GP may recommend using a local oestrogen and that is usually necessary with atrophy until the condition is more stable.

Unlike combined or other forms of HRT, this only restores oestrogen to your vagina rather than to your whole body, reducing the risk of side effects.

You can balance this additional oestrogen with bioidentical progesterone, and once the atrophy is under control you can use a combined bioidentical progesterone and oestrogen cream.

How to help yourself

There are number of self-help measures which can reduce the risk of these problems and help once they are diagnosed.

– keep your genital area clean and dry – take a warm bath rather than a hot one and use unperfumed soap to clean your genital area and dry yourself thoroughly

– avoid douching (spraying water inside your vagina) – it may make your vaginitis symptoms worse by removing the healthy bacteria that line the vagina and help keep it free from infection

– do not use feminine hygiene products – such as sprays, deodorants or powders

– use pads rather than tampons if you’re using intravaginal creams or pessaries to treat an infection – tampons may ‘soak up’ the treatment meaning there’s less available in the vagina

– wear loose-fitting cotton underwear – this may be beneficial if you have external soreness, but it won’t prevent you getting vaginitis in the future

Helpful information:

Because women are often reluctant to talk about conditions like this, they do often suffer in silence but there really is no need as help is readily available.

Generally, maintaining good hormone balance with healthy levels of progesterone and oestrogen is a helpful measure too.

For any of these condition it is best to practice safe sex by using condoms to avoid getting or spreading sexually transmitted infections.

 What Are the Symptoms of UTIs?

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Implants made from gold can reverse women’s flagging sex drives, study finds

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WOMEN can reverse their flagging sex drives — by entering a new golden age.

Their love lives are said to be significantly boosted by implants made from the precious metal.

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Implants from gold can significantly boost a woman’s sex life, medics have claimedCredit: Getty – Contributor

Nearly 90 per cent of recipients said they felt firmer down below, while libido and satisfaction rose by a third.

Partners were happier, too, with pleasure scores doubling.

The gold strands, up to 2ins long and the width of a hair, are implanted in the intimate area to make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.

Gold is thought to stimulate collagen, which keeps skin and muscle firm.

It increases blood flow, improving sensation, says a report in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine.

Researcher Dr Su Mu Kim, from Chungbuk National University Hospital in South Korea, said: “There is a growing need to improve treatment of sexual dysfunction in women.

“Gold thread implants seem to improve arousal and sexual satisfaction.”

The findings come from a study of 46 participants.

Up to half of all older women in the UK experience age-related sexual problems.

Gold threads are used for face lifts, costing about £2,000.

Experts say they could be a cheaper alternative to vaginal treatments, such as rejuvenation surgery at £6,000.

Sex blogger tells hapless men why their wives aren’t having sex with them – and how to change that

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk



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This Is the Best Time of Day to Have Sex, According to Science

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Maybe you’re more of a nighttime lover. Or perhaps afternoon delights are your thing. Everyone has their preference when it comes to sex, but if you’re looking to get your libido back into gear, there’s one time of day in particular to do it. According to a recent survey conducted by British supplement company Forza Industries, the best time to have sex is actually relatively early in the morning, at 7:30 a.m.

Going straight for it with your partner first thing in the morning—ideally about 45 minutes after you first wake up—means you can bring your peak energy levels to your encounter. “Energy levels are at their highest after a good night’s rest which means both sexes have more stamina,” the study authors explain.

The survey also reveals that most people hit peak stress levels by 10:45 a.m. meaning if you wait that long, you may miss your window for a relaxing romp. That’s why the best time for sex is bright and early—maybe even earlier than some would like—but research shows it’s well worth setting the alarm.

There are many documented benefits of making love in the morning: For one, it can actually help couples feel more deeply connected. “During sex of any kind, you release oxytocin, the cuddle chemical,” Emily Morse, PhD, a human sexuality expert, recently told Women’s Health Magazine. “When you have morning sex specifically, you’ll feel more connected to your partner all day afterward,” she added.

Plus, that oxytocin that you release has long-lasting effects: It helps to lower overall stress levels, meaning you should feel more relaxed as you get on with your day. The Forza study authors add, “The rush of endorphins sparked by sex lowers blood pressure and stress levels and makes us feel more upbeat for the rest of the day.”

Man Checking in During Sex, healthy sex after 40

Another perk of morning sex is it won’t mess with your sleep schedule. Yes, this may sound like the least inspired reason to have sex early in the day, but as research has continuously shown, a good night’s sleep is directly related to your sex drive. “Because sleep shortage is perceived as a stress factor, your body may increase the production of stress hormones, thereby suppressing the production of sex hormones,” Alex Savy, a certified sleep science coach and founder of SleepingOcean.com, previously told Best Life. So, if it’s a better libido you’re after, feeling exhausted won’t do you any favors in the long run.

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The next time you want to spend some one-on-one time with your partner, you might want to set your alarm clock. It’ll give you a little something extra to look forward to as you drift off to sleep. And for more sex stats to pay attention to, check out Men With These 3 Personality Traits Have the Most Sex, Study Shows.

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