Pelvic floor hypertonicity and pelvic floor dysfunction explained

Published: August 8, 2022

Whoa, whoa. Before we go throwing around those big words mentioned above, I want to introduce you to a glorious part of your body. And it’s one many people have never even heard of.

I’m talking about your pelvic floor.

“My pelvic what?!”

The pelvic floor is a set of muscles between your legs that you have the ability to contract and relax. The pelvic floor holds up and supports your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, and rectum). Anything that leaves the pelvis has to pass through the pelvic floor. So our ability to control these muscles allows us to not pee and poop when we don’t want to.

I told you it was glorious!

So you can think of the pelvic floor as the gatekeeper for all things coming out of – and going into – the bottom of our pelvis.

Oh yes, I said “going into” the pelvis, too. Which means…

The pelvic floor is the gatekeeper to your sex life!

During pain-free sex, the pelvic floor relaxs and allows the vagina to welcome in a visitor (often a penis, but hey, you’ve got options). Because the muscles around the vagina are relaxed, there’s enough room for the visitor to move around freely without causing any pain.

But if the pelvic floor is in spasm, or has too much muscle tension, these muscles are wrapped too tightly around the vagina, making the vaginal opening smaller. This smaller opening makes it really hard for a penis to get in, much less move around freely. With too much muscle tension, the penis tries to shove its way into cramped quarters, causing pain.

If you’re having pain with sex and a medical professional has diagnosed you with this “cramped quarters” problem, they probably called it “pelvic floor hypertonicity” or “pelvic floor dysfunction.” That’s exactly what I write in a client’s chart, but you know I like to explain things with words that people actually use in real life!

Pelvic floor hypertonicity = muscles surrounding the vagina are too tight

Pelvic floor dysfunction = muscles surrounding the vagina aren’t working right

Pelvic floor hypertonicity means your muscles are too tight (pretty much all the time) and will probably cause pain. Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) means the muscles aren’t performing correctly. So if your muscles are so tight that you can’t relax them for sex? That’s pelvic floor hypertonicity and dysfunction.

But let me be clear. These are not permanent conditions. Pelvic floor hypertonicity and dysfunction can be very temporary!

This is where a combination of pelvic floor physical therapy techniques, relaxation exercises, and mindset shifts can work wonders. These are the skills that I want to share with women who have pain with sex. I’ve been there, too! Having a set of skills that I could use by myself or teach my partner saved me!

My experience with pain also gave me a stronger insight into client’s issues holistically. I became even more committed to pelvic floor therapy for painful sex and exploring all treatment options. I also became that much more compassionate with my clients. Over the years, I’ve become more and more passionate and outspoken about pain, urging women not to accept pain with sex.

Pelvic floor hypertonicity and dysfunction can be corrected. And with a little help, most women can correct it themselves!

What started as a whisper, has become a battle cry:

Women shouldn’t suffer through painful sex!

If you are struggling to have the pain-free, feel-good sex that you really want…

Whether it’s from pelvic floor muscles that are too tight, or aren’t working properly, or some other reason…

stay in touch, keep reading, and when you’re ready, reach out!

YOU shouldn’t suffer through painful sex.

If painful sex is something you’re struggling with, I’d love to help. You can buy my book for women looking to boost their love life, schedule an appointment to see me in real life, or  schedule email or video sessions and work with me online

7 Essentials for

Pain-Free, Feel-Good Sex

Pain with sex? Decreased desire, Arousal, and orgasm?

Let's get started on the solution right now!

Wish you weren’t dreading sex or the pain that comes afterward?

Download my 7 Essentials for Pain-Free, Feel-Good Sex guide to help things go more smoothly. This is the advice that I give to my clients when they first contact me. These changes are the essential foundation for having pleasurable stress-free sex!

Hi, I'm

Dr. Lauren Crigler.

I specialize in pelvic floor therapy, and have spent over a decade helping women have sex without pain.

I’m here to help you stop having pain and start really enjoying your sex life.

My favorite part of what I do is helping women reconnect with their partner. This isn’t just a job for me; it’s a passion!

Are you ready to look forward to Friday nights? If you want to have sex without vaginal or pelvic pain, you can work with me via professional coaching.