Do we know how to care for our pelvic floors? And why we should?

We’re in the middle of our pelvic floor series for June, where we talk about some of the things that can go wrong with the pelvic floor (like vaginismus or postpartum pain), and what to do about it!

And today on the podcast pelvic floor physiotherapist Bethany Peterson, who wrote Tuesday’s amazing post about how we need to get in touch with our pelvises, joins us. 

Listen in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

1:20 Dr. Bethany Peterson joins to discuss women’s comfortability with their own anatomy
6:20 The importance of having the right words for anatomy
11:25 Early Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is the way to go!
15:10 Let’s talk definitions!
21:20 How a physiotherapy session would typically go
27:30 Vaginismus
40:45 Rebecca joins for Reader Questions
50:50 Finishing with encouragement

Main Segment: Let’s Talk Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

When I went through vaginismus, pelvic floor physiotherapy wasn’t a well-developed field and wasn’t understood well.

Today it is, and it can be so helpful for so many issues.

Bethany Peterson is the director of Well Core Physiotherapy in Kansas City, and she joined us today to talk about what she does, and what kinds of patients she sees, in her practice. And how a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you!

We talked about:

  • what the pelvic floor is and why it’s important
  • the shame that many women feel about our vulvas (plus a big parenting fail of mine!);
  • what a pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment tends to look like;
  • what can go wrong after childbirth, and how to address it;
  • how to address vaginismus.
  • and why Christian women suffer at higher rates and how beliefs impact pain.

Reader Questions: How Do We Handle Pain with Sex?

I have a backlog of reader questions about painful sex, and many of them Bethany touched on in her segment, so I thought I’d read some of them out in today’s podcast. Rebecca joined me to tackle them, and some showed how many pelvic floor pain issues involve not just the pain, but also affect the marriage dynamics:

I was married 2 months ago and was a virgin. The first time we had sex it was difficult and at one point a screamed – probably loud enough for the neighboring hotel room to hear. Since then our sex life has been strained. My husband doesn’t want sex as often because he doesn’t want to hurt me. Him not wanting sex hurts and makes me feel unwanted. But at the same time, I’m relieved that we aren’t having sex. There is usually a sharp pain and occasionally irritation. We have had sex about 10 times, mostly in the missionary position as it doesn’t usually hurt– but feels like nothing. I’ve seen a pelvic flour therapist and she says my muscles are too tight. What can I do to improve my sex life it is comfortable or at the very least so I want it again.

First of all, I love your blog, podcasts and books, and want to thank you for your obedience to God to speak out about these things! Your materials have been so important to my vaginismus recovery. I have been married for 5 and half years to a wonderful guy, but due to my severe primary vaginismus (the brick wall), we were only able to have penetrative sex one week ago after months of therapy and re-educating myself. I am so happy that God has finally lead me to the right information and treatment and healed me of my vaginismus.

I write to you to say whilst we’re overjoyed, my hubby has got so used to a more direct manual touch as that was all we were able to do before, that he has not been able to climax during intercourse and is losing his erections often and quickly. I know that we just need to focus on his pleasure and be together in the moment, but I’m really unsure whether we should abstain from giving him manual stimulation and just keep trying with intercourse, or whether that’s depriving my guy from reaching climax when he’s been so, so patient and loving through my vaginismus recovery. He did have a porn and masturbation habit pre-marriage but has dealt with it and I trust him. However the masturbation did follow us into marriage, and was reinforced by the vaginismus (even when it was me stimulating him). I am so happy we are able to have intercourse – but it feels tainted by this disappointment, and I just want him to feel as happy as I do!

We dealt with vaginismus at length in The Great Sex Rescue, because we found that the things that women believe about sex, and the dynamics around how and why we have sex, definitely impact vaginismus rates. If we can get a healthier view of sex, we may be able to prevent so many of these problems! (of course some people have vaginismus for purely physical reasons; but we know it’s higher in Christian communities). 

What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It's time for a Great Sex Rescue.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

All About the Pelvic Floor Podcast

What do you think? Would you be nervous to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist? Why do you think we’re so nervous about our genitalia? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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