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Renaming Vaginismus

Let's face it, the word Vaginismus is not the nicest word out there.
My partner has a hard time spelling it and I can't blame him!
Wasn't "ISM" enough ? Why the ISMUS ?

Anyway, it's clear that it's more important to get to terms with the concept, and then the word won't be too much of a problem, but it's hard enough gathering up the courage to say it out loud to someone for the first time, so some women thought that if it had a different name, maybe it'd be a bit easier or it would be taken a bit more seriously.

I remember one girl said it should be renamed something more specific and clinical, such as "Involuntary Pelvic Clamping Syndrome" or similar..

So I thought I'd ask here: how would you rename vaginismus?

i totally agree about the name being stupid, i doubt i can even say it right. involuntary pelvic clamping syndrome sounds about right. vainismus just sounds like a horrible infection.

Re: Renaming Vaginismus

Wasn't "ISM" enough ? Why the ISMUS ?

Just to answer this - the translation of "ismus" is "contraction", whereas "ism" is used to form a noun of action with a verb.

I don't have a problem with the word "vaginismus" - I guess I'm used to scientific terms by now - but I also don't mind Involuntary Pelvic Clamping Syndrome. Except that it's too long to say easily. I feel like it would need to be abbreviated IPCS.

i agree. the name should be changed. i feel weird saying the word "vaginismus".. it sounds almost like a term made up for some teen comedy. and since theres really nothing funny about it, i wish it were called something else.

I guess I don't mind the word that much, at first I didn't like it because it's a bit of a mouthful and the way the two s's are really soft, it sounds a bit weird and doesn't feel nice to say.

I usually abbreviate it to vag. now though which is a lot easier to say... and type! Very Happy

Love Gayle xxx

I strongly disagree with the notion of renaming vaginismus for two reasons:

1. Changing the name does not affect the condition. Any embarrassment or unease with the term 'vaginismus' comes from its association with the condition, rather than the actual word. Since the unease is projected onto the word by the condition, any other word will similarly be affected. I'm sure vaginismus need only be renamed "Involuntary Pelvic Clamping Syndrome" for a couple of months for people to feel embarrassed by having to say they have 'IPCS'.

To use a vaguely related example: the Spastics Society renamed itself 'Scope', to remove itself from the fact that 'spastic'/ 'spaz'/ 'spacker', etc are used as insults. Now people use 'scoper' as an insult! In the same way, children with learning difficulties were renamed as having 'special needs', and now 'special' is an insult. I'm quite sure that 'Have A Special Birthday' cards will soon be seen as a bit odd, in the sense that 'Hope Your Day is Bright and Gay' is.

2. 'Vaginismus' describes the condition perfectly: it is a contraction ('-ismus') of the vagina ('vagin-'). If the name is changed to remove reference to the word 'vagina' (which the above example, and all other suggestions I've seen tend to do) then this to me suggests that people are having a problem with the word 'vagina', not necessarily 'vaginismus'.

If we take the vagina out of 'vaginismus' what are we left with? A lot of women have vaginismus precisely because they are distanced from their bodies - changing the name to reflect this isn't going to help people come to terms with their selves and heal.

I don't have a problem with the word 'vaginismus'. It's really easy to pronounce (it's basically phonetic other than the 'vag' which is 'vadge' - just speak the syllables). Because it's so easy to say it's easy to spell, since you can just say it to yourself and write down the syllables.

(although maybe the fact that my name coincidentally ends in 'isMus' endears me to it Wink )

DISCLAIMER: Please note, I am talking in general terms. I am not isolating any one person and aiming my comments at them - if I were, I'd mention it Smile

Hi Brevismus,
see, I actually agree with you on all those points.
And by now, I'm pretty fond of the word vaginismus and I can use it without many problems in front of pretty much anybody I have to, with some nonchalance too..

But I remember how ashamed of that word I was at first, and I know many other girls feel the same way, so I just thought I'd interpret those people's opinions and ask here how they would rename it.

But i was curious to see what kind of thoughts would follow because it is clear that if negative associations to vaginas and to lack of sex don't cease, then changing the name will be useless anyway. But while those negative associations change, I wish women had 2 names they could choose from somehow.. you know?

I would keep vaginismus by all means, but maybe have also another word that made it a bit easier for them to move forward and talk about it the first times..

i guess that's why some women remove the word Vagina from the alternative wording, cause unless you've been in a support group for 3 years, you usually dont talk about vaginas as if you were talking about ... shoes!! Very Happy

so i guess what i meant was to look for a "transition" word..
until they feel comfortable with both their vaginas and with vaginismus.

that's all.


You made me laugh, Brevismus! Welcome to the forum!

I hope your day is bright and gay! Smile


P.S. I think it's nice to have a different way of describing vaginismus when one is in a personal situation. Vaginismus works great in a doctor's office, but if I were with a guy, I'd be more likely to borrow that title from that old book about vag and say I had a frightened vagina. Or I might say I have a wild, untamed vagina. lol

other terms

Well, you can use other terms that feel more clinical or more comfortable. Some options:

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic Floor Disorder

Pelvic Pain

Vaginal dysfunction (okay, i'm sure we probably all hate this one but I thought I'd include it)

When I refer to v.v. outside of my family or doctor, I just say "chronic pain syndrome" or "chronic pain" or sometimes "bladder pain" because I sometimes have urinary involvement with my v.v. (vulvar vestibulitis) and for some odd reason it's easer to talk out bladders than vaginas! =)


I have to admit I don't really like saying vagina but at the same time I don't really like saying penis either. It feels so "high school biology". Having said that, there aren't really any appropriate words to put in there place are there? They all either sound really crude/vulgar or childish (e.g. foof or fairy!). Actually those two examples are really cute Surprised)

Maybe I should tell my doctor I have a sore fairy and wait for her reaction?


LOL, Gayle! I think those nicknames may be exclusive to the UK. I've never heard them before. You guys have such cute nicknames for things. I like calling all private parts "bits". It sounds so non-threatening. They're just bits, after all.

foof or fairy

Wow, I never heard "foof" or "fairy" to refer to genitalia! LOL Forum Index -> VAGINISMUS CENTRAL (Public Forum)
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