Published on November 15, 2021

Tammy Fontana MS NCC CTRT Clinical Sex TherapistAre you a woman who finds sex very painful? Have you been diagnosed with vaginismus? Do you have fear about having penetrative sex? Have you been unable to consummate your marriage and now want to have children? Is your vaginismus and your inability to have sex causing big conflict and disconnect between you and your partner?


Vaginismus is a condition where the vaginal muscles tighten up and prevent objects from entering the vagina causing pain. Many women have a fear of penetrative sex. They anticipated going to be hurt and the fear of possible pain causes their pelvic floor muscles to tighten up.


For many women the source of vaginismus may have been one or two negative painful experiences of sex. For other women, they have received so many negative sex messages about sex hurting or they just have a fear of something entering into their vagina that the mere thought of having penetrative sex causes their pelvic floor muscles to tighten up. Sex under these conditions is nearly impossible and incredibly painful for the woman, and can be also painful for the man.


Many women seek medical advise on how to address this. However,  many cases of vaginismus are based in incorrect and unhealthy beliefs around sex and negative messages about a woman's body. The fear of sex and the anticipation of it hurting keeps them locked in a vicious cycle. The correction of vaginismus has a physical component which is using dilators to help the woman learn how to relax and control her pelvic floor muscles.   But for many women this solution is not enough. They still have beliefs and thoughts about sex.


Other sources of vaginismus come from incorrect thinking, wrong beliefs and emotional issues. Some women are afraid to lose her virginity. Many women have been given messages that virginity is what makes them special and they do not want to let go of their status as a virgin. Therefore, the fear or thought of what that may mean causes their pelvic floor muscles to tense up. They have been led to believe it'll be painful to loose and they won't be special.


Another emotinal source of vaginism is that some women are given messages that their body don't belong to them or specifically their gentials, they belong to their future husband. These are very subtle messages. From childhood they were told that marriage requires the woman to have sex, that they will not likely enjoy it, but it is the responsibility and the duty of a wife to have sex. And therefore, they are educated, subtly and over years, that they are not supposed to say no or turn the husband down or to put the marriage at jeopardy.


In these cases,  vaginismus, at an unconscious level, can be a way for a woman to take back control over her body and whether or not she wants to have sex. A woman is not refusing to have sex with her husband, but rather her body is not working.


These dynamics are often uncovered when couples are struggling with power differences in their relationship and is very complicated. In this case, there is a dynamic in which woman doesn't feel or believe she can say no to sex without great consequence and therefore, a physical manifestation or problem provides a perfect out in which she is not saying no, but rather her body doesn't work.


These situations require extensive therapy and are very complicated. 


The third thing is that women may have had sex at times when it was against their will or they were forced to comply and therefore, they don't feel empowered to have control over their body or say no. And then vaginismus can just be a reaction to a feeling of powerlessness.


In any case, vaginismus often requires a lot of therapy and discovery to adderss the emotional and psychological beliefs. Unfortunately, many people want quick fixes and this is part what increases the frustration between the individual and in the couple. Therapy is a very effective way to help couples address vaginismus so long as they are willing to do the work and provide to the long-term therapy that is required.


If you would like to learn more about how therapy can help you and/or your relationship address vaginismus, please contact All In The Family Counselling Center Pt. Ltd. at +65 9030 7239 or you can email


All In The Family Counselling Center Pt. Ltd. is one of the oldest and most established therapeutic centers in Singapore and Southeast Asia. We have been providing therapy for under two decades.


Our lead therapist, Tammy Fontana, has specialised training in attachment, sexual therapy for individuals and couples, anxiety, depression. She is very well experienced and has great success working with difficult individuals or couples in which they are having very challenging cases related to anger, infidelity, insecurity and relationships. If you would like to learn more how we can help you, please contact us now at +65 9030 7239.    

Category(s):Anxiety, Emptiness, Marital Counseling, Men's Issues, Relationships & Marriage, Sexual Problems / Sex Therapy, Women's Issues

Written by:

Tammy M. Fontana, MS NCC CTRT Sex Therapist USA

Ms. Fontana is a relationship counsellor specializing in helping people with their relationships whether it is dating, marriage, parenting or with their extended family. Her clients call her approach practical and found solutions to their problems. Ms. Fontana has obtained her Master Degree in Mental Health counselling from the United States and is a USA Nationally Certified Counsellor. She is also a Certified Choice Theory Reality Therapist and is USA trained Sex Therapist.

Tammy M. Fontana, MS NCC CTRT Sex Therapist USA belongs to All in the Family Counselling Centre, PTE LTD in Singapore

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