The Vaginismus Network Meet Up

The Vaginismus Network Meet Up

We are delighted to announce details of The Vaginismus Network (VN)’s next meet up, happening in-store on Friday 02 August!

This will be a relaxed, friendly and safe space to connect with other people who have vaginismus over a glass of bubbles (non-alcoholic if preferred). VN founders Kat and Lisa will host a relaxed and honest question and answer session with resident Psychosexual Therapist, Sarah Berry, on all related topics, as all three have first-hand experience of living with the condition.

Our store manager, Renée Denyer, will be on hand to explain exactly how Sh! can help sufferers and why many GPs and psychotherapists choose to refer patients to us. If that wasn’t enough, the fab Co-Active Coach, Audrey Cairo, will be making a guest appearance to share her experience with vaginismus as someone who has grown up with it:

“Vaginismus has been part of my story that has shaped me in various ways.  While coaching people to get back their agency I hope to open my practice to women with similar challenges to build their confidence, their own self worth and step into their beauty & sexuality.”

You can read more about Audrey’s journey here. There is no reason to suffer in silence if you are affected by vaginismus. Come along, enjoy a complimentary goody bag and have a chat!



‘Couples on the Couch’ – Couples Therapy on TV

Couples on the Couch is an innovative new series for BBC Three, following real-life couples as they bring their genuine relationships to therapists at our specially created relationship clinic. The series will follow their journey through therapy as well as provide genuine take-home advice for people who may well see their own lives reflected on screen and provide them with a framework to help in their own lives.

The sole aim of the programme is to improve people’s quality of life/relationship.

Couples will be offered three therapy sessions – this will all be bespoke and tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. Our therapists have years of experience and we’re looking to create a really positive experience for everyone that participates.

We are looking to hear from people who think they could benefit in some way and might be interested in taking part. We’ve seen on forums online people discussing the effect Vaginismus can have not just on them but also on their relationship – one of our therapists has experience working with clients/couples in this area so we wanted to reach out to your network to let people know a bit about our programme and the help that we could offer.

If anyone is interested in taking part or would like to find out more, please email or give call/text 07712 872469 – there is, of course, no obligation to take part, Gorana is happy to chat with people and tell them more about the show to see if they think it might be something for them.

Want to take part? Register your interest by emailing or calling Gorana by the 26th of October 2018.

Vaginismus Awareness Event

Vaginismus Awareness Event

Did you know that at least 2 in 1,000 women experience Vaginismus once in their lifetime?

Vaginismus, a condition where the pelvic muscles spasm to prevent penetration, making sex painful or even impossible affects thousands, but many are too embarrassed or afraid to seek treatment. Sh! is now opening up the conversation about painful sex and Vaginismus with an in-store awareness event, featuring expert advice and non-judgemental discussions.

On Friday 14th of September, in honour of Vaginismus Awareness Day we have curated an in-store event as part of our mission to reach out and support anyone affected by this condition.

As well as a complimentary glass of bubbly and a free bottle of Sh! Pure Lube (25ml), our resident specialists will be on hand to present and share their expertise.

Join Us!

*Spaces are limited so make sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

About the Speakers

Sarah Berry, Sex & Relationship Therapist – Your Vaginismus Journey

Sarah BerryHaving had her own battle with Vaginismus, Sarah is honoured to be able to help sufferers and partners on their own journeys with this condition.

Sarah is an accredited, experienced, sex & relationship therapist, who uses traditional counselling techniques as well as specialists sex and relational tools to help people find answers to why they have the condition, what maintains it and how to overcome it. She works experientially with each person or couple. While there are patterns, everyone is different and needs to find their own way to achieve their own goals.

Sarah’s advice has featured in publications including:

Cosmopolitan, The Telegraph, DIVA, The Daily Mail, Bizarre, Metro, The Huffington Post, The Evening Standard, Time Out, Company, Fiesta, Forum and Men’s Health.  Sara has been a guest on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and various shows on LBC.

Renée Denyer, Senior Store Manager at Sh! – Vibrate Your Way Through Vaginismus

Renee - Senior ( & award-winning!) ManagerRenée is the multi-award winning Senior Store Manager & Sexuality Educator at Sh!.  An expert in female sexuality, Renée’s knowledge of sex toys and their benefits is unparalleled and she has years of experience offering advice and recommendations to women (cis and trans) battling Vaginismus.

During the evening, Renée will do a short presentation of the specially designed Sh! Vibrating Dilator Kit and explain the benefits of using vibrations as a way of overcoming Vaginismus. After the presentation, she will be on hand to recommend suitable toys and their potential for your pleasure.

During her 11 years at Sh!, Renée has been invited to share views, insights, and tips & tricks with a wide range of online & print magazines and newspapers such as Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Glamour, BuzzFeed, The Debrief, Evening Standard, The Sun, Flavour Magazine, DIVA Magazine, Mirror, Amor Magazine, Bloomberg, SoFeminine and Hindustan Times.


vaginismus awareness day 2018





The Vaginismus Network July Meet Up

We are delighted to welcome back The Vaginismus Network aka Lisa & Kat for a second meet up on 13th July at 6.30pm.

VN Invite

Co-founded by Kat and Lisa, the Network was set up as a relaxed, safe space for women living with Vaginismus to chat and connect. Their mission is to educate, support and empower women who are living with this condition, and they will each share inspiring parts of their personal journeys with guests.

Sh! Store Manager Renee will give a warm & humorous talk on the usefulness of vibrations, especially focusing on the Sh! vibrating dilating sets and how these kits can help overcome Vaginismus.

vaginal-dialator-setThe Sh! dilating kit is the world’s first soft silicone vibrating dilating kit, a million miles away from the hard, blunt monstrosities often offered by the NHS. The kit was designed after meeting so many women desperate for something other than the above-mentioned plastic dilators, and we are proud to say ours are hand-poured in our in-store silicone lab. Guests attending the meetup will be able to touch and feel the dilators and accompanying vibrating bullet, and will also be offered a discount on these unique kits after the talk.

And as if that’s not enough, Sex & Relationship Therapist Sarah Berry will give an insightful talk on Vaginismus, its causes and what can be done to overcome this stressful condition. Having a wealth of experience, Sarah’s open & honest talk was hugely popular at the last meetup, offering valuable insight into a condition that often makes the sufferer feel alone and isolated.

The first Vaginismus Network meet-up was a great success with over 30 women coming together to discuss Vaginismus and their experience of living with it. We’re looking forward to an equally inspiring event and if you feel nervous or worried about attending, you needn’t be. The atmosphere is warm, supportive and welcoming. (And the relaxing glasses of wine to welcome guests work to settle nerves fast!)

When: Friday 13th July 2018 | 6.30pm

Where: Sh! 31-35 Pitfield Street, London N1 6HB

Tickets: FREE | Book here: July Meet Up

Tickets for the first event booked up quickly and we recommend you book early to avoid disappointment as spaces are limited.



Womanhood – a Documentary

We have been contacted by Burning Bright Productions who are looking for women to take part in a new Channel 4 arts documentary all about their womanhood. They are working with a renowned photographer/storyteller as they create a new project and are looking for people to speak about what being a woman is to them, told through their life experiences and their bodies.

They are looking to speak to women, but particularly are looking for people who may not have had a sexual relationship or experiences, or may be suffering from conditions such as Vaginismus. Taking part involves getting some intimate photographs taken in a sensitive and respectful environment, as well as doing a short interview. The photos are all anonymous and your photo will not be matched with your identity if you don’t want it to be. Each woman’s photo and story will be part of a large chorus of women, providing their testimony to explore how their experiences and bodies have affected their womanhood.

If you would like more information or would like to apply then contact Elle at or call her on 0203 696 5049.




Vaginismus Network Meet Up

The Vaginismus Network Community Meet-Up at Sh!

We are delighted to welcome The Vaginismus Network to Sh! for its very first meet-up on 13h April 2018.

Co-founded by Kat and Lisa, the aim of The Vaginismus Network is to break isolation and create a inclusive community for those living with Vaginismus.

Having only met in person as recently as 2017, Kat and Lisa have both been living with the condition for years, feeling isolated, ashamed and frustrated. Being all too familiar with the impact Vaginsimus has on relationships and self-esteem, they decide to do something about it:

“Our aim is to build a community of women with Vaginismus, and help make connections between women who live near one another or who are in similar situations.”

The evening will include short talks by Kat & Lisa (Co-Funders of The Vaginismus Network), Renee Denyer (Senior Store Manager & Sex Educator at Sh!), and Sarah Berry (Sex & Relationship Therapist). There will be ample time to meet, chat and connect with other women living with Vaginismus in a safe, relaxed space.

Where: Sh! 31-35 Pitfield Street, N1 6HB (enter through Pitfield Coffee Shop)

When: Friday 13th April at 6.30pm

Price: Free

Book a space: Eventbrite page here


Follow the Vaginismus Network on Twitter. 

Vaginismus Awareness Day

Vaginismus Awareness Day

Vaginismus, a complex psychosomatic condition affecting thousands of women, yet so few talk about it.

At least 2 in 1,000 women experience Vaginismus at some point in their lifetime – and probably many, many more who are too afraid or embarrassed to seek medical attention and help.

Many of these women go for years without seeking help, or even realising that help is available. Or, another common thread, is plucking up the courage to look for help, only to be told the pain is imagined.

Vaginismus Awareness Day

In order to raise awareness of this painful condition, we created Vaginismus Awareness Day on the 15th September 2016.

We’re dedicate this day (15th September 2017) to talking about Vaginismus and raising awareness of issues associated with it. Vaginismus isn’t ‘only’ about sex, it’s about life.

Penetrative sex is not the only thing its victims loose – let’s be honest, not everyone prioritise that – but a sense of intimacy or self-worth too.

Join the discussing by using #VaginismusAwarenessDay, #Vaginismus or #PainFeeSex on when Tweeting at us (@Shwomenstore), or leave a comment below – we’d love to hear first-hand experiences of Vaginismus.

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is the term used to describe recurrent or persistent involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted. Penetration, in this case, does not refer to penis-in-vagina sex only, it refers to any type of insertion into the vagina, including use of tampons and cervical smear tests.

This tightening of the vagina may make any kind of insertion not only difficult and painful, but impossible.

1. Body anticipates pain and tightens vaginal muscles.

Facts About Vaginismus

  • Approximately 10% of adult women have experienced painful intercourse in the last six months.
  • 2 out of every 1,000 women has at least moderate Vaginismus.
  • Approximately 20% of women who seek help from sexual clinics are experiencing Vaginismus.
  • 53% of clinical Vaginismus patients are married.
  • 53% of women with Vaginismus are between 25 and 35 years old, with 18% younger and 29% older.

Is Vaginismus Treatable?

Yes, it is! Because it’s a condition that involves the head and body, the best thing to do is see a psychotherapist who knows about Vaginismus. All the therapists on the COSRT website will have had specific training in this.

For more information and helpful advice on Vaginismus, visit our Vaginismus Awareness site.

Or, if you have been diagnosed and feel ready to start treatment, take a peek at a peek at our handmade, soft silicone dilating kit.

The existing plastic kits were described by women we talked to as too blunt and painful to use, which is why ours are made from silicone, ensuring the maximum level of comfort.
The thrilling buzz from the removable vibrating bullet helps to relax tense nerve endings and can make the process easier, the discomfort less and the pleasure involved better than with the standard plastic dilator sets.
With a 95% chance of treating the condition, it is time to talk about Vaginismus, shatter the isolation, and eliminate the pain.

By using code  DILATE0917 you will receive a 12% discount when you buy the Sh! Silicone Dilating Kit up until and including Friday 22nd September 2017.






Have Your Say: Sh! Vaginismus Training Kit

The Sh! Soft Silicone Dilating Kit with vibrating bullet became a popular product with women living with Vaginismus and Vulvodynia, as well as  the medical profession, as soon as it was launched on Vaginismus Awareness Day on 15th September 2016.

The very first of its kind, the Sh! Dilating Kit made pleasure waves by incorporating a small vibrator, delivering relaxing thrills to tense nerve-endings and exciting chills to the clitoris because – why not?

Considering pleasure was and continues to be an important aspect of the treatment for us – we want women using our dilators to not only overcome a stressful condition, we also want them to have fun whilst doing it.

We’re now looking into whether the Sh! Dilating Kit can be made better in terms of use, or more appealing in terms of looks.

This is where you come in!

If you are in treatment for Vaginismus or Vulvodynia; if you are in recovery from vaginal or anal reconstruction; if you are a post-op trans woman or if you have been diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, we’d love your take on the two designs below.

How do you feel about the following designs?

Dilators 2 Sets

  • Does one design look more medical (less sexy)?
  • Does one design look more sexy/fun (less medical)?
  • Does the design (medical versus sexy) matter to you?
How do you feel about a gradual increase in length?
  • Do you prefer the look of each trainer/shaft getting longer?
  • Do you prefer the look of each trainer/shaft being the same length?
  • Do you think the length of the trainers/shaft affect how you feel about using the products?
What is you main reason for using trainer/dilators?
  • Vaginismus/Vulvodynia
  • Vaginal Reconstruction
  • Anal Reconstruction
  • Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome
  • Post-Op Trans Woman
  • Other
Do you have any further comments or ideas on what could make these design dilators better?

We’d appreciate your feedback on the two designs, and by answering the three questions in the survey below, you can be sure your comments count when it comes to improving the Sh! Dilating Kit.



Q&A: Did sex hurt because I’m not attracted enough to men?

I recently lost my virginity to a guy that I absolutely trust and am very attracted to. He was able to make me cum using his hands, but sex was incredibly painful for me. He isn’t particularly big but I’m pretty sure he caused some tearing as well (I bled a lot, although I think I started my period at same time). I was sore so we left it and recently tried again and it still hurt, perhaps marginally less but still far too much for me to continue.

I’ve heard that even your first time doesn’t have to hurt if you’re properly aroused and unarousal was the only explanation I could think of, but I enjoy everything else he does. I’m bisexual so perhaps it’s possible my attraction for men isn’t strong enough to be sexual? There’s also the fact I have never inserted anything besides tampons and in fact being fingered hurt first time round. 

So I want to know: is it normal for it to hurt or should I be worried, and what can I do to stop the pain?


Hey there,

Many thanks for your email.  We’re sorry to hear your first time was so painful but it’s not uncommon. Painful sex is never fun and can put people off for a long, long time.

First of all we’d recommend booking a check up to make sure all is well on the inside of the vagina. There could be a number of reasons for the pain,  and it’s always best to have it checked out. It’s not impossible that you have a vaginal infection that may require antibiotics, for example. Or Endometriosis which is a common condition that causes pain during and after sex. There is another condition called Vaginismus that causes pain when penetration is attempted. But – the good news is that most conditions causing painful sex are treatable.

Sh! Paraben-Free LubricantSecondly, did you use lube? We always recommend generous amounts of lube for all sex play. There is always the possibility that your vaginal membranes were dry, especially if you felt nervous for your first time. Other factors such as dehydration caused by alcohol, medication or tiredness are very common and these can all  make penetrative sex uncomfortable.

Positioning can make a whole world of difference. It might be an idea for you to be in control of penetration, when you decide to give sex another go. Being on top means that you can stop if it begins to feel uncomfortable at all.

We can’t comment on whether or not you felt aroused at the time – only you know that. It could be that you didn’t feel turned on because there was no chemistry with the guy or it could be that you didn’t feel aroused, or lost your desire exactly because it was painful!

The good news is that sex usually gets much better with time so you have lots of exciting experiences to look forward to!

Love, Team Sh! xx



Vaginismus Girl

Vaginismus Awareness Day!

So Vaginismus Awareness Day is almost upon us!

Vaginismus Awareness Day is a think we made up. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very important thing. In fact for next year we’re thinking about broadening our umbrella and holding a Pain Free Sex Day.

As we hope you know, vaginismus  is the term used to describe recurrent or persistent involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted.

If you want to read more about the condition, and what you can do to overcome it please click over to our blog, ‘Moving Towards Pain Free Sex’.

If you’d like to get involved in helping women to talk more openly about pain they experience during sex please overuse the hashtag #PainFreeSex on the 15th of September.

And if you’re free please attend our Vaginismus Event.

We’ll be hosting a webinar on the evening of the 14th of September with Krystal Woodbridge a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist and Qualified nurse. If you’d like to join in please email

We’ll also be hosting a live event in London on the 15th of September, featuring talks from Psychosexual therapists, including Sh! advice columnist Sarah Berry. We will also hear from vaginismus sufferers and the Sh! Team.

Where: 57 Hoxton Square

When: 5-30-7.30pm Thusday 15th September

How Much: It’s FREE

Register Here