When you have vaginismus, intimacy can be a drag. If you’re like I was, you may constantly feel like you’re lacking or doing “consolation prize” sex. However, it’s essential to remember that sexual intimacy encompasses a wide range of experiences beyond penetrative intercourse, all are equally validating and enjoyable (some are much more enjoyable than penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex!). By embracing alternative paths to pleasure, those with vaginismus can cultivate fulfilling and satisfying intimate connections, as long as you’re addressing any feelings of inadequacy or lack. We all agree that it is important to prioritize intimacy, so lets look at alternative ways we can enjoys pleasure while still acknowledging our feelings through self-compassion.
Prioritizing intimacy: Shifting the focus
Intimacy should not be solely defined by penetrative sex. It is a multi-faceted aspect of human connection that encompasses emotional, physical, and sensual elements. By shifting the focus away from penetrative intercourse, those vaginismus can explore alternative avenues for pleasure, fostering intimacy and deepening their connection with their partner.
Change your definition of successful intimacy from accomplishing the task of PIV sex or even experiencing orgasm, to connecting and enjoying pleasure. Once you take the pressure off of performance of any type, you’ll experience more joy and a deeper bond with your partner which is arguably way more fulfilling.
Addressing feelings of inadequacy: Open communication and exploration
Feelings of inadequacy or lacking can arise when traditional sexual encounters are challenging. It is crucial to acknowledge and address these feelings and emotions. Suppressing or ignoring these can further compound the challenges with painful sex, orgasming, or experiencing arousal. Be open and honest in your feelings with yourself and then create a safe space for open and honest communication with your partner. Express any areas where you may feel like you’re lacking or feel inadequate. Engaging in honest conversations with your partner about your needs, desires, and boundaries can help foster understanding and create a supportive environment for alternative forms of sexual intimacy.
Exploring alternative paths to pleasure
It can be hard to practically come up with satisfying alternatives to the traditional PIV-sex experience, but I promise there are way more fun and satisfying experiences that you may even prefer once you’re past vaginismus. Here are a few places to start with deepening your intimacy experience.
Sensual Massage: Indulge in the art of sensual touch through massages. Take turns exploring each other’s bodies, using gentle strokes, varying pressures, and aromatic oils. This allows for intimate connection, relaxation, and heightened pleasure.
Oral Pleasure: Oral stimulation can be a powerful and pleasurable way to experience sexual intimacy. Focus on clitoral or penile stimulation, using techniques such as licking, sucking, and gentle caresses to provide intense pleasure and reach orgasm. For a deep dive into oral pleasure, especially the female experience, check out the book “She Comes First” by Ian Kerner- lots of incredible tips and strategies!
Mutual Masturbation: Engage in simultaneous self- and/or other-pleasure while maintaining eye contact and being present with your partner. This activity promotes a sense of vulnerability, trust, and shared experience, allowing you to explore pleasure together without pressure of penetration. Communicate what feels good as you go so you both can learn about and connect with each other’s pleasure zones.
Erotic Role-Playing: Embark on playful scenarios and explore different roles or fantasies with your partner. This allows for creativity, imagination, and the opportunity to build anticipation and desire without the pressure of penetration.
Use of Sex Toys: Incorporate the use of sex toys into your sexual encounters. Experiment with vibrators, dildos, or other devices that can provide pleasure and stimulation to erogenous zones outside of the vagina. Remember to choose body-safe toys and explore different textures, intensities, and sensations. Check out Married Dance- a sex toy store designed for Christians with safe browsing options.
Games and sexual play: Add some fun with games that are designed to help you intimately connect emotionally and physically . Games such as truth or dare, would you ever, or even dice games can help keep things interesting and engaging! Check out the Ultimate Intimacy app for more fun and easy to implement ideas.
Mindfulness and Emotional Connection
Engaging in sexual encounters that do not involve penetrative sex offers an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and deepen emotional connection with your partner. Be present in the moment, focus on sensations, and communicate openly about your desires and experiences. Mindfulness can enhance pleasure, intimacy, and create a sense of fulfillment.
Even though intimacy has its struggle points with vaginismus, you don’t have to let vaginismus run the show. Prioritize intimacy and redefine what success in the bedroom looks like. You can keep PIV-sex as your long-term goal, but try not to let this be the mood-dampening end-all-be-all that takes away from the amazing opportunity to connect with your partner in the here and now.
And if you’re ready to put PIV-sex on the table (or bed…) schedule a free consultation call with me today. Let’s talk about how we can open the door wife for PIV sex without all the pain and drama that vaginismus brings. It’s possible to heal from this and put vaginismus in the past once and for all!
If vaginismus continues to impact your sexual experiences and emotional well-being, seeking professional support from a healthcare provider or a sex therapist can be beneficial. They can provide guidance, therapeutic techniques, and exercises specifically designed to address vaginismus and help you explore alternative paths to pleasure.