What causes vaginismus?


Vaginismus is when the muscles around the opening of the vagina automatically contract and tense involuntarily. The condition can be very distressing and makes sexual intercourse and any kind of vaginal penetration painful or impossible.

Although the causes of vaginismus are usually psychological, they can also be physical. The condition may be caused by past negative experiences such as a bad sexual encounter, a difficult medical examination or procedure, or a painful medical condition such as Thrush. A belief that sex is a cause for shameful, or wrong, can also lead to vaginismus.


Women with vaginismus feel a stinging or burning pain, caused by an involuntary muscle contraction, when an object such as a finger, tampon, penis or sex toy is inserted into the vagina. This results in growing fear and anticipation of pain during vaginal penetration, and avoidance of sexual intercourse.

How to treat vaginismus?

Treatment for vaginismus will seek to identify the emotional or physical causes of the condition and deal with the resulting physical symptoms.

Treating the psychological causes of vaginismus

A specialized psychosexual therapist will help you identify, express and resolve any feelings that contribute to your condition. They may suggest relaxation techniques that will enable you to relax the vaginal muscles to overcome vaginismus.

Treating the physical symptoms of vaginismus

The therapist will encourage you to carry out gentle touching exercises so that you become comfortable with touching the area around the vagina and, eventually, penetration of the vagina without reflexive tightening. They may suggest that you begin by using vaginal dilators, or simply using your fingers to explore your vagina.

Whether you use vaginal dilators or fingers during treatment, it is advisable to use an intimate lubricant when attempting penetration. However, many of the available intimate lubricants are not suitable for treating vaginismus, due to their ingredients or lubricating properties.

AH! YES® products and the Double Glide effect

AH! YES® intimate lubricants offer a unique solution. Ruth Hallam Jones, a renowned psychosexual therapist, devised a successful approach using a combination of AH! YES® WB water-based and AH! YES® OB oil-based intimate lubricants.

Applying a first layer of nourishing, protective AH! YES® OB plant-oil based lubricant followed by a layer of smooth, silky AH! YES® WB water-based lubricant on top provides the woman with longer-lasting protection and cushioning that allows her to relax and control the involuntary contraction of her vaginal muscles. This pioneering ‘Double Glide’ technique, using two natural intimate lubricants, boosts the woman’s confidence that she can achieve penetration without pain, burning or stinging.

AH! YES® WB and OB used for Double Glide – Professional Recommendation

Trudy Hannington – Psychosexual and relationship therapist and former chair of COSRT (College of Sex & Relationship Therapists) recommends using the AH! YES® Double Glide technique:

“I have worked with hundreds of women and the challenge is to break the cycle of pain and fear of pain. I introduce AH! YES®, and in particular the Double Glide technique of AH! YES® water based applied over AH! YES® plant-oil based to my clients. By helping the vagina and the entrance to the vagina to feel naturally lubricated, they are able to relax, leading to more arousal, which then improves desire resulting in pain-free sex. The vicious circle can then become a virtuous circle. The feedback from my clients using AH! YES® products is always excellent but the Double Glide method is the most effective.”

Why use AH! YES® lubricants?

  • Using AH! YES® OB and AH! YES® WB in the Double Glide method is endorsed by healthcare professionals.
  • AH! YES® WB & AH! YES® VM both provide effective relief from irritation, dryness and discomfort.
  • Feels like your body’s natural lubrication – responds to your body’s needs.
  • All AH! YES® products are made with natural, pure and certified organic formulations and are designed to be hypoallergenic, ultra-sensitive and side-effect free.
  • AH! YES® WB & AH! YES® VM are pH balanced for the slightly acidic vaginal environment. Maintaining vaginal pH may help to protect against bacterial and yeast infections.
  • AH! YES® WB & AH! YES® VM are endorsed by medical and healthcare professionals.

Additional Resources: