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Breaking Barriers; Hypnotherapy’s approach to Vaginismus

Transforming Pain into Pleasure

A topic often shrouded in silence, it is time I shed light on vaginismus – a common experience among women that remains largely unspoken, even with medical professionals, partners and practitioners. Despite its prevalence, the term may be unfamiliar to many.

Recent studies (1.) have uncovered a wide-ranging occurence of vaginismus, affecting 7% to 68% of the female population globally, varying by country. These statistics, while illuminating, underscore the pervasive shame and guilt associated with the condition, hindering women from seeking the help they need. It is crucial to note that these figures only represent reported clinical cases, indicating a more significant issue than percentages suggest.

What is Vaginismus?

It is a common health condition easily recognizable; Vaginismus causes involuntary muscle spasms in the vagina during intercourse, gynaecological exams, insertion of tampons or other types of vaginal penetration. The pelvic floor tightens to prevent any entry of any kind or in the very least make it extremely difficult. A physical barrier is in essence created.

It is in fact a subconscious triggering of an anatomical muscular system to protect. The muscles tighten making sex painful and uncomfortable. In session, women have shared their partners describing it as hitting a wall that can not be bypassed or so tight it feels like sandpaper. In addition this is because lubrication is happening behind that tight wall of muscular tissue and can not get out as much as barely anything can get in.

The repeated pattern that tends to occur in the above described situations can then lead to anticipatory anxiety and trigger an even stronger response from within. Women may grapple with feelings of brokenness, fears, doubts, diminished confidence and sense of self, or a belief they can’t enjoy intimacy ever, contributing to a feeling of helplessness.

It is certainly understandable why woman with the condition may feel isolated and hesitant since it is not openly discussed, even amongst female friends. It is not difficult to accept the reservation a person would have in reference to sharing about this with someone, anyone, even a professional.

Why Some Do and Some Don’t

What makes it so that some women experience painful intercourse and others are just fine? 

Allow me to first make very clear I am no medical doctor or licensed professional. I am, however a hypnotherapist experienced in recognizing and helping women overcome vaginismus. I am blessed to collaborate with medical experts and pelvic floor therapists.

As a proven expert in the field of hypnosis, allow me to indicate that vaginismus is in fact a subconscious mechanism. Subconscious means automatic or neurological. It is an involuntary reaction of the body. It is fear at work. The fear is in fact a learned behavior that somehow crept into one’s mind. It is the result of something, as picked up through the senses, and the mind neurologically wired to it. Whether it happened just once but with intense emotion surrounding it or multiple times and/or both. This has to do with how the brain learns which you can find more in depth info on in some of my other blog entries.

It is essential to recognize the causes to painful intercourse are diverse as I’ll list just a few that are including but absolutely not limited to:

– Sexual Trauma of any kind

– Surgery

– An OB or Dr. that was a bit too quick, too rough etc during exams

– Religious beliefs around sex before marriage or sex as a sin all together

– Parental influences

– Being with a partner who wants children and you don’t

The list can go on more but I think you understand the way in which the mind associates experiences and stories with penetration or the pelvic region as a whole. 

It is important to recognize that the brain’s function is not to make us happy… It is to keep us safe… Safe from what?  Well that depends on the kind of life you have had so far. In this instance, physical intimacy is deemed unsafe to those whose body rejects penetration. This to ensure you don’t put yourself in such a situation again whether directly related to some of the possible causes mentioned above or slightly different. 

Vaginismus is a learned reaction that is subconscious in nature. It worth repeating!

A secret problem with a known solution

I have seen in my private practice many individuals who had the courage to seek medical expertise and somehow the diagnosis of vaginismus is missed. It truly surprises me how many times I have had to explain exactly what is happening and how common it is. Many of my female clients with vaginismus find relief just in understanding what it is that happens to them in those most intimate of moments.

Luckily it doesn’t have to end there. There are indeed multiple ways to overcome this condition and let it become a part of the past. 

Female clients are time and again pleasantly surprised by the results that can be obtained in around 3 sessions or so. 

The power of your mind, particularly your subconscious mind, plays a pivotal role. It is a powerful engine working behind the scenes, triggering reactions in your body (and much more). This is quite literally what the science of placebo has taught us. Placebo doesn’t mean it’s not real, it proves and underscores the mind’s capability, showing that mental processes can be as influential as medication and surgery.

So then the solution lies in the problem…in your subconscious mind; Guiding it to relaxation during intimacy with another consenting human adult instead of tightening. It involves reaffirming safety and security in such situations. Emphasizing the right to enjoy sexual intercourse with other consenting adults as a part of connection and freedom.

To feel safe and relaxed in those circumstances where previously vaginismus was wreaking havoc is the ultimate aim in therapeutic hypnosis. We can absolutely teach both your mind and body to cooperate in facilitating such a wanted change for women.

To enhance the therapeutic journey, I advocate a comprehensive approach, acknowledging that the use of dilators at various sizes and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists can complement the process and vice versa. Working a size up at your level of improved comfort. Whether individually or synergistically, these methods contribute to a holistic solution.

Many women after just a few sessions express increased ease, confidence, happiness in their relationship, and optimism for future partnerships. The weight is lifted, a door to happiness opens and a life fully embraced.

Should you be one of the woman silently suffering, wondering and questioning, you are invited to reach out. In a safe space, we converse with respect, understanding and know-how.



  • Yasmine Verberckt

    Yasmine Verberckt is a certified hypnotherapist with offices in the SF valley and Los Angeles in addition to offering sessions around the globe via video chat. She specializes in anxiety relief, smoking cessation, fears and phobia's among other topics. She can be contacted at hope@happyinhypnosis.com or watch her video's at www.happyinhypnosis.com

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