Vaginismus | Why do my muscles tighten?

In this blog, we're going to look at the limbic system—or the internal alarm that's been alerting the body of 'danger' and causing the vaginal muscles to tighten.

The limbic system is a group of structures in your brain that deal with emotion, motivation, and memory. With vaginismus, that system acts like an internal alarm that once triggered, makes intercourse repeatedly very difficult or completely unachievable.

Here's how it works:

In the body's natural, normal state, the vagina will stretch to accommodate a penis, similar to how when dressing, a sock will stretch enough to allow a foot to be inserted. However, there is a powerful band of muscle that surrounds the entrance to the vagina. When these muscles strongly contract, it tightly closes the entrance, blocking penetration.

That's what happens with vaginismus - the body's limbic system sends an alarm signal that causes the vaginal muscles to tense up. So, why would the body signal an internal alarm to sound?

As an analogy, it's as if you went skiing for the first time. As you make the first attempt down the slopes, your limbic system recognizes messages in the brain of getting scared, hurt or injured. It hears messages like 'I might fall with this turn. That's going to hurt!' and the internal alarm sounds throughout your body, causing many of your body's muscles to tense up protectively in potential anticipation of the event. At the end of the first day skiing, your whole body might be sore from the constant tightening up of your muscles.

The same thing is happening with vaginismus; it's just affecting a specific area of your body. It's only natural that when something is perceived as potentially dangerous or painful in some way, our bodies tense up.

Many women wonder why their internal alarm is overreacting when it seems like  everyone else is able to have sex without an issue. There's no specific answer to that question - everyone and every body reacts to internal messages and individual life experiences differently. Vaginismus is a spectrum condition, and it affects a range of females, young and seasoned.

Think of the muscle response as a protection mechanism—the body senses potential harm and goes into action to protect itself.  The truth is, it's nearly impossible to pinpoint precisely why this happens to some women and not others. Fortunately, vaginismus is treatable, and it's not necessary to know the exact reasons for the initial limbic reaction.

Our program teaches women how to silence the alarm permanently, once and for all!


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