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Independent expert answers
on psychiatry and psychology

Cause of Vaginismus or Vaginistic Reaction

Abstract: Many possible causes are described.

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Cause of Vaginismus or Vaginistic Reaction

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, psychologist in charge of Emergis, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: Aug 2008.

What are the causes of vaginismus the vaginistic reaction?


There are many possible causes of vaginismus. They are briefly summarized below:

Physical factors:

  • Pain in the vagina, which leads to fears of this pain at the next love play and to the woman tightening her pelvic floor muscles.
Psychological factors:
  • Fear of pain, the penis, pregnancy or an aversion to the partner.
Social factors:
  • Certain norms about sexuality in the education.
  • Religious taboos.
  • Traumatic experiences like a painful deflowering, assault and rape, sexual abuse or other harmful events.
Relational factors:
    Factors in the relationship like resentment and negative feelings about the partner, sexually and in a broader sense.
  • Clumsiness of the partner.
  • Insufficient foreplay and insufficient arousal.
  • Personal difficulties that become evident in the relationship.
  • Traditional ideas about sex.

All these factors lead to thoughts or feelings that make the pelvic floor muscles tighten when the penis or tampons come near.

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