Pain with Pleasure Tools

A few people reached out to us to understand which pleasure tools can be used if you have pain with intercourse (often in the context of vulvodynia or vaginismus).

What is vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia refers to chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva, which lasts at least three months and has no clear cause. People often describe the following sensations: burning, stinging, irritation, or rawness.

A growing body of research suggests that many cases of vulvodynia are caused by low estrogen levels. Estrogen levels decline naturally as we age, and can be treated with vaginal estrogenGenitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) refers to the constellation of genital and urinary symptoms that occurs as we age: vaginal dryness, urinary frequency and urgency, spotting and discharge, urinary burning, pelvic pain, constipation, recurrent UTIs, and pain with intercourse.

What is vaginismus?

Vaginismus is different than vulvodynia, but can also cause pain. Vaginismus refers to the involuntary contraction of pelvic floor muscles in response to vaginal penetration. Even the idea of vaginal penetration can cause vaginismus (i.e. when you are on the exam table for a pelvic exam, anticipating the insertion of the speculum). Vaginismus sometimes has no clear cause. In other cases, it is caused by endometriosis, pelvic cancer, prior surgery, childbirth, bacterial vaginosis, or sexual trauma.

How can Cerē tools help?

Some people with vaginismus want to avoid penetration entirely. If that is the case, the suction component of the Spellbound Stimulator can be a painless source of pleasure. This tool has an air pulse end and a vibrating end. There are 7 air pulse settings that you can use on the glans clitoris. This versatile tool allows you to use suction, vibration, or both. If you eventually feel comfortable with penetration, the Spellbound Stimulator gives you the option to use the vibrating end for vaginal penetration.

When Dr. Lovie was at the ISSWSH Annual Meeting and the Mayo Clinic Transforming Women's Health earlier this year, some doctors suggested that the Reverie Duo can be used as vaginal dilators. They expressed interest in using them for patients with vulvodynia and vaginismus (in the context of radiation therapy and sexual trauma). The Reverie Duo are made of soft, flexible medical-grade silicone, and can help you get comfortable with inserting a small tool into the vagina.

The Wand is another good option for people with vulvodynia and vaginismus. With its soft, flexible head, it can be set to a comfortable vibration setting and used externally on the vulva.