Let’s put it out there: Sex can be pretty gross, but it can also be pretty awesome, and that sort of cancels out a lot of the inherent nasty stuff. But it turns out if you’re really, really grossed out by sex, you may have a bigger problem.
A new study revealed that feeling disgust at sexual situations can actually physically prevent you from having or enjoying sex at all. Women who suffer vaginismus are more likely to be grossed out by sexual, sexual situations, or just the idea of body fluids being exchanged. (Okay, when you put it that way, it is pretty gross.) Vaginismus is a disorder that makes your pelvic muscles involuntarily contract if and when they’re penetrated–meaning it usually prevents vaginal sexual intercourse from happening at all.
The research says that if you feel disgusted by sex, vaginismus may be a subconscious defense mechanism that the body uses to prevent it from going down (or in, as it were). And disgust is something tough to control–think of how seeing someone else puke makes you gag. You can’t help it, right?
Researchers did a bunch of surveys on sexual disgust on normal, healthy people and some on women and men with sexual disorders including vaginismus. They found that the women with vaginismus reported a lot more disgust at sexual situations than sexually healthy people or people with other sexual disorders did.
However, it’s sort of unclear in a chicken-or-the-egg sort of way which causes which. Does disgust trigger the body into shutting down the possibility of intercourse through vaginismus? Or does the discomfort and embarrassment that comes with vaginismus lead to being disgusted with sex in general? It can–and probably does–go both ways.
Which isn’t to say it’s abnormal to think sex is a little icky. It is. But it’s also amazing when it’s right. If you experience physical discomfort and disgust during sex, though, you may want to talk to your gyno, because it’s never supposed to feel bad. (If it was, we’d all be extinct by now!)
Do you think sex is gross? Have you ever experienced disgust or discomfort during sex? Do you think one leads to the other? Tell us in the comments!