Vaginismus is a condition in which the walls of the vagina tighten when you attempt penetration. This could be because of a past experience of pain during sex, an expectation of the experience to be painful or a bad sexual experience. It leads to pain and avoidance. But there are ways to overcome vaginismus; talking therapies, working on your pelvic floor, and hypnotherapy. Here, we chat to Lizzie Smith, Hypnotherapist, to find out more.   

One of the best parts of my job as a hypnotherapist is seeing my clients smile at the end of a session because they feel calm, relaxed and happy, having enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of hypnotherapy. They may have felt anxious or overwhelmed at the start of the session, but an hour later, that smile is the most obvious indicator of a positive shift in their subconscious mind.

As an experienced certified clinical hypnotherapist, I have helped many clients with various health fears and emotional difficulties, ranging from imposter syndrome and PTSD to weight loss and stopping vaping, but the one that produces the biggest smile is when the women I have been working with overcome vaginismus

Vaginismus is a debilitating condition in which involuntary muscle spasms stop vaginal intercourse or other types of vaginal penetration, such as using a tampon. It is the body’s automatic reaction to fear or past trauma of penetration, and the sufferer has no conscious control over it. This contracting of muscles makes sex painful and, for some, impossible. It is not something that women generally talk about or share, and it can feel incredibly isolating.

My husband is a journalist who, a few years ago, was working on a national women’s magazine where the subject of vaginismus was often discussed on the health pages. He suggested to me that this could be something I could help women overcome by using hypnotherapy – and so my journey began to spread the word and reach out to those who were struggling with this issue. 

I began by speaking with GPs about the treatments for this condition. These involve an examination to determine if there is a physical problem, and patients are then often referred to a sex therapist, where dilators form part of the treatment.

One of the doctors I had been talking to decided to refer a patient to me who suffered with vaginismus. After a course of hypnotherapy, she was delighted to report that she had been able to enjoy penetrative sex for the first time in her life at the age of 38. She had previously seen a number of doctors and specialists and had found little solace in the talking cure. When we first met, she was depleted and tearful but optimistic about trying a different approach with hypnotherapy.

During our sessions, she was able to reframe her thoughts and felt for the first time in control and safe. I also created an audio for her to listen to every night as she went to sleep to keep reinforcing the positive messages to her subconscious.

With this success and with her permission, I wrote a blog about it on my website, and, as a result, I am now seeing more clients than ever with this condition. Hypnotherapy is having such a positive effect on their lives and sexual well-being.

I have worked with women of all ages and cultures with great success, enabling them to break free from the pain, frustration and negative response patterns that this condition creates. They often describe their body as being “locked”, and they feel let down – betrayed by their own bodies. If you were brought up to believe that sex was not something to be enjoyed and could bring unpleasant consequences for you, then your body will react strongly, making it physically difficult for you to engage in a behaviour that it has linked to those consequences. You may have had a bad “first-time experience” or problems with tampons or some other trauma. Your subconscious mind holds on to all of these memories, and that creates the block.

The wonderful thing about hypnosis is that it facilitates positive change in the subconscious mind – so if you consciously want to be able to relax and enjoy sex – then it will happen!

So, how does hypnotherapy work? 

Hypnotherapy uses a mix of talking therapy and hypnosis and works with the subconscious mind.  This part of the mind is not logical but purely reactive and behavioural. It is where all our learned and sometimes “limiting” beliefs and behaviours and fears are held. This is where the blocks live and where hypnosis does its work.

Hypnosis is deeply relaxing and restorative, and once we achieve a complete state of relaxation, it becomes possible to replace negative thoughts and responses with positive ones and focus on what is achievable rather than what is not. I use a mixture of guided imagery and suggestions to overcome their fear. By reprogramming the subconscious mind, the client can learn to relax their vaginal muscles and experience pleasurable, pain-free intercourse. 

The feeling of empowerment is strong as women are able to experience a real sense of calm in their bodies with no tension or tightness. They are able to free themselves from the doubts and the pain they associate with sex and feel, often for the first time, that powerful connection between the mind and body.

The results speak for themselves, and it is completely life-changing – anything you imagine and want you can create – so the potential benefits are huge. 

In some cases, I have found that other fears have been unlocked too! One client found herself jumping in a river – despite a lifelong fear of deep water! Another took up belly dancing with the newfound confidence she now had in her body, and the most surprising one was a client who felt so liberated she took up trapeze lessons.

So, it really is never too late to do something positive and to get your sex life back on track.  Hypnotherapy can help you to create the life you want to live and, ultimately, to be able to smile again!

Lizzie is a clinical hypnotherapist with a successful practice built on reputation, recommendation and referral.  She uses Hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Brain Working Recursive Therapy® (BWRT®) to treat her clients. Lizzie is an accredited member of the APHP, a Hypnotherapy Supervisor and a Bereavement Counsellor with a particular interest in the area of women’s health. She provides a service to clients of all gender in the UK and internationally. All her sessions are online.

You may also like...