Why Your Vagina Is Numb:How Trauma Affects Sexual Response

I have been teaching authentic, lineage-based Tantric methods for sexual healing for over a decade, and during this time, a signifiant number of the women I have worked with believed at some point that their vaginas were broken due to numbness, pain and/or irritation during sex. I too used to believe that my vagina was broken.

Then I learned about trauma and how it functions in the human body, causing desensitization, pain, and numbness.

In fact, lack of vaginal sensation is so prevalent in our culture that mainstream sex education suggests most female bodies aren’t even capable of having vaginal orgasms, and the clitoris is the key to sexual fulfillment for women worldwide.

Having gone through the process of restoring full sensation to my vagina and reclaiming my birthright to deeply satisfying, ecstatic, toe-curling and mind-bending vaginal orgasms, I am deeply offended by the suggestion that “some women just aren’t wired for vaginal pleasure”, and the suggestion that we should just “give up” and focus on the clit.

If a man’s penis was perpetually numb would mainstream sex education encourage him to just give up and focus on his balls, suggesting that not all penises are meant to feel pleasure?

Not likely!


Your vagina is made for pleasure. If you aren’t feeling pleasure there is a reason.


99% of the time that reason is some form of trauma or unresolved emotion stored in the genital tissue.

How can this be the case for so many female bodies? Take a look at our culture:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience some form of sexual abuse or assault before the age of 18.
  • 99% of women have experienced “street harassment”- i.e. verbal sexual assault while walking down the street.


We live in a culture that encourages and condones sexual violence towards female bodies. The most recent rape cases in the US confirm that sexual violence towards women is considered a “minor infraction” by our justice system. And if you are a woman of color, this is even more pronounced.

Desensitized, numb, irritated, and painful vaginas are the natural result of living in a culture which teaches us sexual DIS-connection from infancy and provides pornography as the most prevalent and accessible form of visual sex education.

So what can we do?

First, we must understand what is happening and why. Then we can apply the correct “medicine” to heal it.


Watch “How trauma affects your sexual response” and listen to my Sex Is Medicine Podcast episode with trauma specialist Beverly Engel about what to do when your partner has a history of childhood sexual abuse.

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15 Responses

  1. I think men also have sensitivity problems due to a variety of issues. These can be healed through a brain rewiring and avoidance of sensory images (since members are more affected by the senses). Both men and women need healing to fully enjoy orgasmic pleasure.

    1. We 100% agree with you. In fact, we mention that at the start of the video. Lack of full sensation is an issue for people of all genders. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Dear Devi and Marthe,

    Thank you for illuminating the key role our nervous system plays in the dance of sexual/spiritual energies, and how past trauma stored in the body can inhibit this dance to organically flow in ways we’ve been created to celebrate. I feel like the nervous system is the most over-looked aspect of most tantra/sacred sexuality programs, and yet, it influences our ability to be present in the most profound ways, not to mention affecting the healthy flow of oxytocin, blood circulation, sexual response, and a relaxed vigilance center. So delighted to see it addressed here!

    Thank you both for embodying such radiance, wisdom, love and service.
    Rahi Chun

    1. Hello Rahi! Thank so much for your comment. I deeply admire you and the work you do, so it is a special treat to know you are watching. We look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  3. I’ve been studying somatic-emotional processes and what you said was the most gentle explanation to traumas/processes I’ve heard/read so far. And also the first one directed to sexual experiences.

    It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges to bring more awareness and follow the ‘body commands’ is our conditioning as to what the other will think. Some communication between the partners about what is happening and respecting each other seems to be crucial. And not being in a hurry, allowing each other’s own time to figure out what’s happening and learn with what comes up.

    Thank you,

  4. You don t need any expensive equipment. One of the benefits of Kegel exercises, aside from being able to tighten your vagina, is that you can do them whenever and wherever you like with no one the wiser. Exercises to tighten your vagina can be done in your office chair, on the sofa at home, while making dinner, folding laundry or even when standing in line at the Post Office!

  5. Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work. ddkabdedbfafafke

  6. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me &amp my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.

  7. Thank you. I am a African American girl who has been sexually abused by a family member when I was a child. It carried on in adolescent years. I am so disconnected from my Yoni because of the trauma and feel like I will never have satisfying sex or get rid of the shame and guilt. I am 28 now and still haven’t recovered. It feels hopeless. I have met someone who seems to have awakened a desire in me but I am afraid of the intense sexual attraction. I can’t relax. I will try your advice and hopefully that will help me.

    1. Dear Brittany,
      Thank you for writing to us.
      We understand the profound wounding you live with and we want you to know that you too can heal and blossom sexually.
      Your healing journey will require lots of empathy, love, support and practicing concrete tools for reclaiming the innocent, shame free enjoyment and connection to your sexuality that resides within you.
      We are glad to hear that you are taking our tips to heart, and invite you to connect with us again if you would like more direct support.
      We would love to help you!
      With love and compassion, Marthe.

  8. I’m so grateful for you sharing this, and it resonates deeply with my own experiences. For the longest time, I kept thinking I was wrong or damaged until I realized my body was, in fact, responding exactly in the way she could, and she helped me become aware and slow down enough to pay attention to her needs. This video and the topic is so important for us to be more connected in our bodies.

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