Common difficulties experienced by women/people with a vulva are Vaginismus (painful /uncomfortable vaginal penetration), Vestibulodynia (painful vulva caused by touch) and low desire.

Below are some leaflets providing an introduction to these difficulties, as well as some information on looking after your vulva and some things you can try to have more enjoyable sex:

Information About Sex & Your Vulva

Vulval Care – a guide on the different ways to keep your vulva hygienic and irritation-free.

Understanding Sexual Arousal and Orgasm for People with a Vulva – a guide to understanding what happens to the body during arousal and orgasm.

Vaginismus and Vulvodynia

Vaginismusinformation on the causes of Vaginismus and psychological treatments. 

Vulvodynia  –information on the symptoms of Vulvodynia, why it may occur, and how to treat it. 

Some self-help techniques for overcoming Vulvodynia and Vaginismus:

Desensitisation for Vulvodyniafor help with Vulvodynia, desensitisation therapy uses techniques to stimulate your vulva in a way that reduces pain. 

Kegel Exercises and Diaphragmatic Breathing – a description of what Kegel exercises are, how they can help sexual problems such as Vaginismus, and how you can do them. 

Graded Practicegraded practice is designed to help Vaginismus by building up your vaginal muscle control and awareness of your bodies sensations through a series of graded tasks involving penetration. 

Low Desire

Low sexual desire – Common reasons for low desire for sex

Self-help Techniques for Enjoyable Sex

Sensate Focus can be very helpful for couples where one or both partners have experienced a sexual difficulty. It can help built (or re-build) body intimacy and can help challenge unhelpful patterns.

Mindful Self-Practice for Those With A Vulvaa guide on how to use mindful masturbation.

Resources

Books

  • Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski – explores female sexuality from a scientific perspective and debunks some common myths about sex.
  • Becoming Orgasmic by Julia Heiman – a book with a focus on helping you feel good about your sexuality and yourself.
  • Sex For One by Betty Dodson – explains how to fully enjoy the pleasures of masturbation.
  • Tickle Your Fancy by Sadie Allison – A guide to female self-pleasure
  • My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday – a compilation of female sexual fantasies.
  • Overcoming Sexual Problems by Vicky Ford – a self-help guide which suggests cognitive behavioural techniques for various sexual difficulties.
  • 7 Steps To Pain Free Sex by Claudia Amherd – a self-help guide for people who experience vaginismus, painful sex or vulvodynia.
  • Private Pain by Ditza Katz – personal stories from women who have experienced vaginismus and painful sex.
  • Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein – A self-help book for people who experience pelvic pain, recommended by a participant in one of our groups for women who experience pain during sex.

Websites

  • www.omgyes.com. A website dedicated to exploring the many ways that women can experience sexual pleasure. Includes videos and tutorials.
  • The Dirty Normal – A website with books, worksheets and information which promotes better sex, powered by science.
  • Scarleteen – Inclusive, comprehensive and smart sex, sexual health and sexuality information and help for people in their teens and 20s.
  • Vulval Pain Society – You can read detailed information about vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, lichen sclerosus, and other vulval pain conditions.
  • Labia Library – Have you ever wondered is my vagina normal? Labia come in all shapes and sizes. This website is a directory of labia.
  • My Body Back resources – A wide range of resources for having a cervical screening (smear test) following sexual assault.

Apps

  • Kegel Trainer – An app which supports with kegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor.

Twitter Feeds

Please also have a look at our page of further online resources