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Vaginismus, sometimes called vaginism, is the physical or psychological condition that affects a
woman's ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration, including sexual intercourse, manual
penetration, insertion of tampons or menstrual cups, and the penetration involved in gynecological
examinations (pap tests). This is presumed to be the result of an involuntary vaginal muscle spasm,
which makes any kind of vaginal penetration painful or impossible. While there is a lack of evidence
to definitively identify which muscle is responsible for the spasm, the pubococcygeus muscle,
sometimes referred to as the "PC muscle", is most often suggested. Other muscles such as
the levator ani, bulbocavernosus, circumvaginal, and perivaginal muscles have also been
suggested. [1]
A woman with vaginismus does not consciously control the spasm. The vaginismic reflex can be
compared to the response of the eye shutting when an object comes towards it. The severity of
vaginismus, as well as the pain during penetration (including sexual penetration), varies from woman
to woman. [2]