| Tara Langdale
It’s a real challenge for women with vaginismus to be confident in bed. Whether a woman knows the reason for her vaginismus or not, sex is painful, difficult or impossible. She may feel that she has little to no control over the muscle spasms that cause her vagina to tighten up whenever she attempts intercourse… so it’s no surprise that over time, the consequences go beyond the physical. Women with vaginismus suffer emotional and mental effects too, and lack of confidence is one of the most common.
Vaginismus can contribute to lack of libido, heightened anxiety, low self-esteem and even confusion about sexual identity. The whole thing can soon become a vicious cycle that seems impossible to overcome. However, with a bit of patience, practice and the right partner, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Just because you have vaginismus, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to have sex. You probably crave intimacy as much as the next person, but for you the process is usually lengthier and more challenging. That’s why we wrote this article with a few helpful approaches to becoming more confident in bed, despite your vaginismus:
6 tips to help you get confident in bed
- Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to turn on yourself when you feel that something is ‘wrong’ with you, but this doesn’t help. Many women battle with vaginismus, and most would surely agree that beating yourself up about your perceived shortcomings is not going to help you become more confident in bed. On the contrary!
This is tantamount to piling a whole lot of pressure on yourself to be ready for something you quite simply are not ready for. You may feel frustrated, but know that being kind to yourself equates to loving yourself. Give yourself the time you need to work through whatever has to be worked through in order to overcome this condition.
- Practice on your own
If you find that you get very nervous when with a partner, this may play out on a loop whenever you try to have sex. You can develop confidence in bed by practicing sexual relaxation alone, where there is nobody waiting for you. Rather than focusing on what is not working, allow yourself to fantasize about the things you want to enjoy. In this way you are preparing your mind and body for exactly that – even if it takes a long time.
Getting to know your own body and what it likes will help you to build confidence when you’re in bed with someone else. You may also benefit from using vaginal dilators to prepare your body for penetration.
- Choose the right partner
Finding an understanding and patient partner is paramount. The alternative is likely to exacerbate any negative perception of your issues and leave you feeling less confident than ever, not to mention frustrated. Casual sex may be more damaging than anything, as it puts a great deal of pressure on you to perform, which only worsens anxiety.
Yes, it can be difficult to date when you have vaginismus… but don’t let it stop you exploring potential relationships. You’ll never get confident in bed if you never have the opportunity to practice; it may just be a case of taking it slowly with potential partners and when you feel that you can trust them, being honest about the issue before you commit to any bedroom activities!
- Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing helps both the body and mind to relax. When done with a partner, perhaps before or as part of foreplay, it can actually help you to feel connected to one another. Without focusing on the tight muscles directly, try to relax your whole body with each breath.
- Focus on foreplay rather than penetration
An understanding partner will also recognize that penetration is not the ‘be all and end all’. Sexual pleasure is easily attainable in other ways, through foreplay and oral sex, for example. When you experience orgasm with your partner regularly even without intercourse, you become more connected and more comfortable with each other – and your bedroom skills are eventually likely to be better than most, since you won’t be taking any shortcuts!
Over time you will get more confident in bed because you’ll know that you can both enjoy yourselves without penetration. When you feel you have reached this point, you might start attempting penetration more often, but without pressuring yourself.
- Communicate in bed and take control
Always let your partner know how you’re feeling: for example, whether you are ready to attempt penetration or not, whether you are in pain, and whatever it is that you need, be it time, more foreplay or to stop completely. You are likely to get more confident in bed if you know that you are in control of the pace (which should be as slow as you need it to be).
You need to commit to honesty in this situation, as your partner may not always pick up on hints or visual cues, and you could set yourself back if your boundaries are crossed. Encourage your partner to ask questions so that communication is two way at all times. You may also want to physically show them what you enjoy, if possible.
With patience, time and perseverance, you may be able to come to a place where you feel confident in bed, and penetration becomes not only possible but also enjoyable. If you can imagine it, it can happen… so keep that goal in sight!