Toa lock: Vaginismus- The ‘witchcraft’ that gets couples stuck during sex


Getting ‘stuck’ can be explained medically and could have nothing to do with witchcraft.

The condition is called vaginismus where a woman’s ‘P-Unit’ contracts involuntarily. It causes discomfort, burning sensation or pain during sex, pelvic examination or when wearing a tampon.

For the unlucky man who finds himself ensnared in the ‘honey pot,’ trying to pull out is akin to an attempt to free your hand from a crocodile’s mouth!

And because of the heightened importance of female sexuality in today’s world, vaginismus is an embarrassing condition to talk about and is usually discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors of a gynecologist’s consultation room.

Whereas it can be mildly uncomfortable for some women when inserting a tampon or having sex, it can be very painful for others.

Not only is the pain distressing, but it can also affect relationships and make women have low self-esteem. The good news is that this condition is treatable.

The degree of discomfort or pain varies from one person to another. While some women experience pain during internal pelvic examinations, others feel the pain when inserting tampons or during sex.

In either of the above cases, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about because medical science and other related fields have a remedy. Irene Ongoche, a general practitioner, explains that vaginismus is a sexual dysfunction in women, characterised by painful, involuntary tightening or contractions of muscles that surround the vaginal entrance.

Though the actual cause is unknown, Dr Ongoche says that some of the attributing factors include previous sexual trauma, anxiety or trauma during childbirth, as well as infections. Previous sexual abuses, thinking the vagina is too small are other probable causes of vaginismus.

Depending on the onset of the uncomfortable feeling, medical experts describe it as either primary or secondary.

Primary vaginismus relates to a woman who has always had painful sex, whereas secondary vaginismus is usually caused by a medical condition, traumatic event, childbirth, surgery, or life-changing phases like menopause.

Some of the suggested ways to treat it include using lubrication. Vulnerable women can also perform exercises that dilate the vagina known as Kegels, which involves squeezing and releasing your pelvic floor muscles to help in gaining control over muscles that cause the vagina to close involuntarily.

The Kegels are done by tightening the muscles of the pelvic floor – the same muscles you would contract if you were on the toilet urinating and wanted to stop the flow of urine.

If the cause is from an infection, appropriate drugs can be prescribed. Surgery is another option for some cases, but this can only be explored after a comprehensive medical examination and discussion with your doctor.

If the cause of the involuntary contractions is psychological, counselling is available, and so is sex therapy, to tackle fear or anxiety related to sex. It is advisable to visit your doctor for professional opinion about painful sex.