Let's Open Up About Vaginismus
Valentine’s Day is famously the one day of the year when you can share your feelings with those that you love. This February 14th, we swapped cliched roses, chocs and teddy bears to seize the opportunity to help people with vaginas have open conversations about a common, but taboo topic, vaginismus. Let’s Open Up.
What is vaginismus?
Vaginismus (the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles) is a debilitating condition that can make everything from tampon use to penetrative sex painful or impossible. It parallels erectile dysfunction, but unlike its male counterpart, there is no little blue pill to treat Vaginismus. Instead, the treatment is a combination of physiotherapy and psychotherapy – but recovery and even diagnosis is often hindered by embarrassment about the condition and a societally-ingrained reluctance to talk openly about vaginas. If you’re already anxious about going to the GP, let alone about your vagina, and don’t practically have the words to describe what’s happening (medical terminology can be really overwhelming and/or confusing), it’s all too easy to be silenced.
Why are we talking about it?
We want to challenge the lack of general awareness around this condition and its symptoms, and help ease those tricky conversations to light. Doctors believe as many as 1 in 2 people with vaginas will experience Vaginismus at some point in their lifetimes, but due to the shame and stigma attached to it and the lack of conversation around the condition, many will suffer in silence. Before starting HANX, our Co-Founder Dr Sarah Welsh specialised in NHS gynaecology and sexual health, and witnessed firsthand the distress associated with the condition - which is why we’re so passionate about putting this topic in the spotlight.
It’s time for an honest discussion about the painful side of pleasure - and believe us, this is personal. We’ve teamed up with a female-led team of creative legends at Leith, who know the feels of vaginismus shame - literally. Together, we’re determined to normalise a very necessary conversation that we wish we’d had ourselves. From hacking Valentine’s cards to taking over billboards all over the UK, we’re shouting about painful penetration. Over to our Co-Founder Farah:
“For too long, the ins and outs of sex has been a male-dominated topic, with vaginas, and painful conditions such as vaginismus, too taboo to discuss openly. We’re excited to team up with Leith to build on the frank, female-centric and sex positive conversations we have with our community - including how to experience pleasure when your body won’t play ball.”
- Head to Let’s Open Up, our digital hub, for advice on how to talk to your doctor - and partner/s - about vaginismus, and navigating the impact on your sense of self.
- Join the conversation and share your story, tips and chat on our digital safe space, HANX Life.
- RSVP now for our International Women's Day panel to tackle awareness of vaginismus.