Vaginismus

Illustration: Ari Saperstein

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is an involuntary contraction of the muscles surrounding the entrance to the vagina. It doesn’t interfere with sexual arousal, but it does make penetration painful – and sometimes, impossible.

What Causes Vaginismus?

Hope & Her state that there can be various causes for Vaginismus, ranging from, physical and mental medical conditions, age-related changes, defects at birth, and medications, to abuse – however sometimes there is simply no identifiable cause. 

“Depending on the intensity, penetration issues will range from minor burning sensations with tightness to total closure of the vaginal opening with impossible penetration.”

Two Types of Vaginismus

According to Heathline.com, vaginismus is classified into two types: primary vaginismus and secondary vaginismus. 

Primary Vaginismus: When vaginal penetration has never been achieved. // Secondary Vaginismus: When vaginal penetration has been previously achieved, but is no longer possible, potentially due to factors such as gynecologic surgery, trauma, or radiation.

Misdiagnosis

There is also dyspareunia, which is the medical term for painful sexual intercourse. It’s often confused with vaginismus, but dyspareunia could be due to cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, or vaginal atrophy.

To read more on dyspareunia, Mayo Clinic have written a useful article with everything you need to know about dyspareunia. Just click the link.

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Confession

“For most of my teens and early twenties I struggled with vaginismus. You wouldn’t know you had an issue until you go to try and have sex. You could be fine using tampons, but suddenly when it matters, then everything just clamps shut. Great.

I only found out that I had Vaginismus when I tried to have sex for the first time when I was 16. The opportunity arose – parents and younger siblings were away for the weekend, we got down to it, condom on and it wasn’t going in…

We tried wiggling around, different positions, nothing was working. Worst of all, it would be extremely painful when we forced it. Then his parents returned earlier than planned, and I found myself running down their incomprehensibly long driveway with the wrong shoes on my feet.” – J, London, 29

As time went by, she felt nervous when it came around to having to explain her Vaginismus to a new partner. One night stands and flings would be even more confused. Making some relationships difficult, well sexual ones anyway… 

“There were occasions when I was very grateful that I didn’t sleep with someone who I knew I would have regretted. And it was a relief to not worry about pregnancy too much either. I managed this way for nearly 9 years after I first tried to have sex.” – J

Vaginismus Treatments

J recommends that the use of vaginal dilators can help with vaginismus. The NHS have a poster with everything you need to know about vaginal dilators, and they define a vaginal dilator as a plastic shape that is used to stretch (widen and lengthen) the vagina. They come in a range of sizes, as displayed in the image below, to allow gradual stretching of the vagina. 

Vuva Girl have written a useful article on what you need to know about how to use vaginal dilators. They state that for best results, you should use them 1-2 times a day. 

She finds that breathing exercises before sex help too, taking slow inhalations to saturate the lungs with oxygen, relaxing the body.

A Little Reassurance…

“I’m still grateful in a weird way for my vaginismus. In my head, my vagina is this odd prudish lady and she’s got way more sense than me! It taught me the value of taking things slowly, taught me more about my body than I would have known otherwise, and also protected me from some shitty hookups. So if you’re experiencing this, please don’t panic and please don’t think you’re weird. There is loads more information on it now, and it’s much more readily accessible. And at the very least, use it as an excuse to get him to go down on you girl!” – J, London, 29

Get Involved

If you would like to share one of your sex stories that you deem to be ’embarrassing’ or ‘cringey’ or even if you have any questions, send them over to shithappenstothebestofus@gmail.com and let’s change that! Shit Happens is a completely #JudgementFreeZone and I need YOUR stories!

Ooh Aah Kama Sutra

No book is more famous for sex than the Kama Sutra. An Indian homage to a guru of great sex. The actual term ‘Kama Sutra’ translates to ‘Teachings on Desire’ which is rather fitting. Only a small amount of the ancient Sanskrit text actually delves into sex ― much of it is instructions are on holistic living.

Although after 2,000 years, the book is slightly outdated. With regards to homosexual sex, it does pop up in the text but for the most part, it is for the heterosexual reader.

When people hear the words ‘Kama Sutra’ they presume in order to participate in any of the sex moves that you have to be some sort of Olympic gymnast. That is not true. The Kama Sutra can be applied to both straight and gay sex.

If you would be interested in reading a more modern version of the Kama Sutra that includes gay couples, straight couples and threesomes – give Minisutra a read. Minisutra is a book of creative illustrations to represent all types of people doing it in different ways.

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@BiancaTschaikner – ‘Scissor Sisters’

Splitting Bamboo/ The Splitter

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‘Splitting Bamboo’

You’ve probably done this sex move without even realising. Don’t be scared by the name. According to GQ Magazine this is one of the few Kama Sutra positions worth bothering with. The bottom lies on their back with one leg over the other person’s shoulder as they penetrate.

The Anvil (Jrimbhitaka)

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@lucymacaroni – ‘The Anvil’

The Anvil position is an advanced rendition of the ‘Missionary Position’. The Anvil is also known as ‘Jrimbhitaka’ which stands for ‘Gaping’ according to refinery29.com? Yes, gaping. Maybe because it stretches the holes more? This position is where one person lies on their back with their legs over their partners shoulders.

Reverse Cowgirl (Virsha)

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@lucymacaroni – ‘Reverse Cowgirl’

Reverse Cowgirl or otherwise known as ‘Virsha‘ is a well known sex move, but this rendition has a little twist. Have the penetrator lie on their back with a pillow underneath so they’re sat up slightly, and not lying completely flat. Use the bed or their ankles as a base, and ride. According to Cosmopolitan this rendition of the famous ‘Reverse Cowgirl’ is called ‘Reverse Cowdog.’

Lazy Dog

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@lucymacaroni – ‘Lazy Dog’

Similar to Doggystyle, but Lazy Dog revolves around the woman lying flat on her stomach rather than on all fours. Perfect if you’re feeling a bit complacent, but still horny. Some good angles can also be achieved in this move.

Bandoleer (Piditaka)

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@BadGirlsBible – ‘Bandoleer’

The Bandoleer, or otherwise known as ‘Piditaka’ is a move quite similar to The Anvil, except the person on their back places their feet on their partners chest. The partner should have their knees either side of the other person’s hips whilst they penetrate.

The Anvil is a good transition from the Bandoleer. As too long in the Bandoleer going at a fast pace can be pretty intense.

Binding Spoon

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@lucymacaroni – ‘Binding Spoon’

The Binding Spoon is a transition move from The Spoon, being penetrated on your side and then moving onto your back, opening your legs. To achieve extra pleasure you can reach over and play with your partners clitoris/penis.

Get Involved

If you would like to share one of your sex stories that you deem to be ’embarrassing’ or ‘cringey’ or even if you have any questions, send them over to shithappenstothebestofus@gmail.com and let’s change that! Shit Happens is a completely #JudgementFreeZone and I need YOUR stories!

BDSM & Safe Practice

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BDSM – What is it?

BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. BDSM is an umbrella term for any kinky play that involves a consensual power exchange.

The larger the kink community gets, the more it must spread awareness of safe practice – especially in the BDSM community. The BDSM community is all about trust, your partner respecting your limits and of course pleasure and pain.

Therefore, doing my bit in spreading awareness, this article will cover – safe choking, spanking, aftercare, and safe words.

Through common misconception, being a submissive (sub) is not to be feared. Yes you are vulnerable, that’s the whole point of it, but when it comes down to it – the submissive is more in control of the whole situation than the dominant (dom) is.

Pretty much everything is on the submissive’s call. It’s now hurting and you want to stop doing that? It stops.

Erotic Asphyxiation : Choke Safe!

The feel of a hand caressing your neck and then having it pinning you down with pressure applied can be incredibly tantalizing for some people. Or even choking yourself out – whatever you’re in to! However, not many things come without complications…

When being with new partners who haven’t explored the BDSM avenue, choking can sometimes be a bit of a … problem. Tip Number One – Squeeze from the sides, and do not, I repeat, DO NOT squeeze on to the throat and crush your partners windpipe!

Tip Number Two – if they pass out, don’t panic! They’re not dead, just to try NOT to continue choking them or else then you might have a murder on your hands.

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The reason for choking being a turn on is because the oxygen to your brain is getting restricted, making you go lightheaded. However, when the pressure is lifted the blood and oxygen begin to flow again due to a release of hormones and endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine. Which creates a sort of high.

According to Healthline.com, in the immediate aftermath of choking your body confuses the rush of endorphins and hormones as a positive, pleasurable thing. When actually the hormones were caused by your body’s protective reaction.

Instead of feeling as though warning signals are being sent to your brain and body because you’re in ‘danger’, it conflicts the feeling with pleasure. Which is why some people enjoy it so much – both men and women.

TIP : A bag over the head can also enhance the sensation received through being choked.

So… Choke safe!

Spanking and Aftercare

Spanking can be pleasurable for many reasons, powerplay, roleplay, or the pleasure derived from a touch of pain. However if you’re planning on incorporating this newly into your sex life, discover your limits and find your feet before you dive in to the deep end.

Start off with a hand, then maybe move forward to a crop, and experiment from their onwards, onto paddles, floggers, whips etc…

A big part of safe practice is aftercare which is heavily focused on within the BDSM community – due to the nature of the kink. It is always good to check on your partners mental and physical well being after engaging in some power exchange kink scene.

A certified sex coach and sexologist Gigi Engle says in an article for Mens Health that, “Aftercare is great in all sexual experiences because it takes a person’s emotional well-being into consideration.”

Aftercare isn’t just emotional support, but physical too. Tend to your partner’s bruises, rub some cream on them and give them a massage etc…

However, it is imperative that after a BDSM scene you talk about what happened and that you were ok with what went on, and that emotionally you’re comforted. That is a key part of BDSM aftercare and BDSM as a whole. Fully consensual sex.

Safe Words. What are They? How Do I Use Them?

First off – Know your limits!

To help you do this, safe words exist. Now a safe word can be anything, as long as both you and your partner know that it is your safe word. It ensures safe roleplay and that you’re both on the same page.

For example, your partner could be trying to tease you by telling you to STOP – and with a safe word, you know it’s safe for you to carry on kinking until the mutually agreed safe word is said.

It’s important to know both your own and your partners limits in the bedroom, we don’t want anyone taking more than they’re prepared to handle. Safe words aren’t necessarily for everyone as some people might have a trustworthy partner who’s respectful towards their limits.

For instance, a safe word may not necessarily be needed because a simple, change of character can call it off in some instances.

However, if you’re new to the whole BDSM scene , or if you’re having sex with a new partner – then a safe word is definitely a good option. A safe word just lets your partner know that you want to stop whatever it is that you’re doing – it can literally be ANYTHING.

Stay Kinky and Stay Safe!

Get Involved

If you would like to share one of your sex stories that you deem to be ’embarrassing’ or ‘cringey’ or even if you have any questions, send them over to shithappenstothebestofus@gmail.com and let’s change that! Shit Happens is a completely #JudgementFreeZone and I need YOUR stories!

Sex and… Sick!

Confession One

“I had not long been with my boyfriend, like a couple of months? If that? We were freshers too. So the concept of freedom, youth and a new partner meant we fucked like rabbits all the time. However, as a fresher my diet consisted of 90% noodles.

One night we were going at it like normal, nothing out of the ordinary. Until he finished that is, I get up to go to the loo and clean myself up (always pee after sex!) and vomited up the entire pot of beef noodles I had for my dinner before – without warning. I guess the shag shook up the contents of my stomach? It was horrendous, and he could hear me vomiting.

We’ve been together for four years now and I haven’t eaten those noodles in years.” (S, 22, The South).

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#StayOffNoodles

Vigorous exercise and a poor diet of the same saturated foods day in day out is bound to disagree with you at one point S. Thankfully it was AFTER you finished having sex.

Instant noodles are often full of sodium, so consuming those high levels of salt, with next to no protein or fibre on a daily basis is going to make you dehydrated, which according to registered nutritionist Jim White for Vice says, “That much sodium would likely lead to serious water retention. That would promote weight gain, and also feeling bloated, sluggish, or lethargic.”

Although the I must admit, I think that the sex definitely shook it up. However, on this topic I do have another contributor who has shared their story, but wasn’t quite as lucky…

Confession Two

“I was giving my boyfriend a blowjob whilst he was laying down and I was kneeling in between his legs. He thought it would be a great idea to grab my head and push it down really hard.

As I pulled my head up I projectile vomited all over his penis, chest and stomach. I then proceeded to cry for about fifteen minutes because I was so embarrassed.” (R, London, 27).

The gag reflex is a tender thing within some people, and to push your head straight down on it wasn’t necessarily going to go very well – some men just get too god damn horny! Respect each other’s limits in the bedroom to avoid things like this. He should be the one that was embarrassed – not you!

Get Involved

If you would like to share one of your sex stories that you deem to be ’embarrassing’ or ‘cringey’ or even if you have any questions, send them over to shithappenstothebestofus@gmail.com and let’s change that! Shit Happens is a completely #JudgementFreeZone