Therapist for Vaginismus


Therapist for Vaginismus

If you’ve never heard of vaginismus, you are not alone. Many people who experience vaginismus don’t know the actual term themselves! In the DSM (the book therapists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental health conditions) it is unhelpfully called “Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder.” Quite a mouthful.  In medical literature, the more specific term “vaginismus” is preferred. However, we do know that pain during sex is somewhat common, impacting an estimated over 15% of women, and estimates for the prevalence of vaginismus range from 1-17%. These are common issues, but under-researched and under-represented in clinical care.

What is Vaginismus?

So let’s get into it. What separates vaginismus from general painful sex?

  • pain during vaginal penetration or attempted penetration
  • difficulty with achieving vaginal penetration
  • fear or anxiety about vaginal penetration
  • marked tension or tightening of pelvic floor muscles in response to attempted penetration

Often these symptoms create other problems too

  • feelings of shame
  • an unfulfilled desire for connection in sexual relationships
  • conflicts with romantic/sexual partners
  • low self-esteem

These symptoms are significant and can have profound impact on your mental health and well-being. And it is important to know that you *can* get better.

Therapy and Treatment for Vaginismus



There are many approaches to treating vaginismus, and we believe it is best to take a multi-disciplinary approach. The best treatment will involve a sensitive, informed gynecologist, a pelvic floor physical therapist, and mental health counseling or therapy for vaginismus. On the psychology side, the approach should involve some basic components:


  1. Psychoeducation: Being informed about what vaginismus is from a non-shaming, non stigmatizing perspective is important.
  2. CBT, and Understanding the Root Cause: Working to acknowledge and understand where certain beliefs about sex come from is essential, because these beliefs impact our minds and bodies.
  3. Exposure therapy: Gentle, slow progress towards feeling comfortable with your body and reducing feelings of pain whilst increasing feelings of safety, calm, and pleasure is essential.

You are not a
problem to be fixed
but a person
to be healed

Finding a therapist for vaginismus is challenging, so it’s best to focus on making sure that you feel comfortable with your chosen provider. At Anam Cara, we have experience with vaginismus and are ready to provide support in a nonjudgemental, open, and caring environment. Click below to set up an intro call and get started.

FAQs for Therapy for Vaginismus

We’ll work together to understand the root cause of your vaginismus, and create a treatment plan. Therapy includes CBT and Exposure therapy, which means gentle, self-paced, and private (outside of therapy session) progress towards comfort with penetration.

Our therapist, Sarah, has experience using CBT and exposure therapy for many diagnoses involving anxiety and phobia, which is one way of thinking about vaginismus. Sarah also has training and education in human sexuality as part of her license to practice as a counselor in the state of California, and has engaged in continuing education around vaginismus specifically.

Our therapist, Sarah offers vaginismus therapy online in Sunnyvale, California or in London.

Therapy for vaginismus is about the psychology, thoughts, and feelings underlying the condition. Physical therapy is about treating muscular tension. Both are effective options for treatment, and are often most effective when used in conjunction.

Our fees are currently $180 per 50 minute session. There is a sliding scale available through Open Path Collective.

Easy! Just click this link to schedule your free consultation, where we’ll meet for 15 minutes to see if we’re a good fit. This is a low pressure, low stakes opportunity to get to know each other without committing to ongoing therapy 🙂