RELIEF FROM PAINFUL SEX
RELIEF FROM PAINFUL SEX
Whether you’re struggling to have penetrative sex with a partner or you’re too nervous to even try, you’ve come to the right place. Treating painful sex isn’t just about pleasure (though that’s a worthwhile goal), it’s also likely to improve your mental health — sexual dysfunction is associated with both depression and anxiety. You might worry that treatment will be awkward, but we’re experts in making you comfortable. Our PTs have helped hundreds of patients address pain and significantly improve their sex lives.
MIND + BODY HEALING
UNDERSTAND YOUR CONDITION
Your PT will take the time to learn about your pain and whether it might be associated with an event (childbirth, menopause, trauma) or due to a hyperactive pelvic floor. They’ll also want to hear your goals and concerns. There’s no such thing as TMI!
WORK 1:1 WITH A PHYSICAL THERAPIST
Your treatment plan will be personalized to your symptoms, circumstances, and goals. It may include:
- Manual therapy to relieve tissue pain and tension
- Regaining awareness of your pelvic floor
- Breathing and other tension-relieving techniques
- Vaginal dilators/trainers
GO AT YOUR OWN PACE
Origin PTs provide trauma-informed care — you can expect compassion and unwavering support at every step of your journey. On average, treatment requires 20 weekly visits.
LET’S GET STARTED!
COMMON & TREATABLE
Chronic, painful sex affects 1 in 5 women and many don’t realize that it’s treatable. Research shows that 45% of patients who see a PT for vaginal pain report improvement in symptoms.
"It feels like his penis hits a wall."
"I don’t even want to be touched."
"I can only be on top."
Source: Flynn KE, et al. Assessment of vulvar discomfort with sexual activity among women in the United States. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017.
Painful Sex FAQ
What is vaginismus?
Vaginismus is the inability to penetrate the vagina due to pain and tissue overactivity — even using a tampon can be unbearable. Primary vaginismus is when the pain has always been present, while secondary vaginismus develops later from a specific event like trauma, infection, or menopause.
What causes pain with penetration / vaginismus?
The pelvic floor consists of three layers, the superficial, the middle, and the deep layer. The muscles sit in the base of the pelvic floor and encircle the vaginal opening. Spasms or dysfunction in one or more of the pelvic floor muscle layers can decrease the size of the vaginal opening so that it makes vaginal penetration painful and/or impossible.
Vaginismus does not always have a direct cause. However, it can be related to a history of sexual trauma or abuse, other pelvic traumas (e.g., car accident, sports accident), or a multitude of emotional and stress related factors. Other pelvic floor muscle disorders like endometriosis can also result in vaginismus.
Inadequate lubrication is yet another cause of vaginismus and can occur with breastfeeding, oral contraception use, and menopause due to lowered estrogen levels. With aging, lack of sexual activity can result in a loss of muscle flexibility that can make penetration painful.
How long does it take to reduce pain with penetration?
Because the pelvic floor may have been in spasm for years, it can take some time to downtrain and lengthen the pelvic floor. Every patient truly is different, but a typical course of treatment consists of 20 weekly visits.