In this article, published in the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Today’s Christian Woman Kate Cardwell relates her experience with painful intercourse and the impacts to her marriage. Kate served as a moderator in our private forum for many years.

“What happens when the process of “becoming one” in marriage brings pain, not pleasure? Or when every attempt at intercourse induces intense burning and the sensation of being torn apart inside? Many women live with an invisible handicap that robs them and their spouse of the enjoyment of sexual intercourse. It’s called vaginismus, and it’s possibly the most common cause of female sexual pain you’ve never heard of.

Commonly misdiagnosed, vaginismus is the involuntary and unconscious spasm of the muscles surrounding the vagina, making penetration painful or impossible. Estimates suggest that in North America alone, hundreds of thousands of women suffer from vaginismus to some degree. Statistics are hard to gather because many never come forward due to shame and embarrassment. Victims suffer in silence for years, never realizing they can find help.

My journey with vaginismus began 12 years ago. My husband, Brian*, and I had been married eight years when I gave birth to our second child. Labor was traumatic, and the baby was finally taken by C-section. After my recovery and with two babies in the house, my husband and I were tired but eager to resume the joy and comfort of intimacy.

Instead, sex brought anything but joy and comfort. Every time we had intercourse, I experienced intense burning pain. While I wanted to say “yes” to intimacy, my body said “no.”

When my physician examined me, he found nothing physically wrong and said the pain should subside. But it didn’t. In fact, it got worse. I didn’t know what was happening, and fear kept me from telling Brian for two years. Many times I hid the tears. I thought if I told him, he’d be afraid to touch” Read Full Article at »


  1. Cardwell, K. (2004). When sex hurts. Today’s Christian Woman, November/December, 62-64.