“Like an insect had crawled its way in.”
That’s how some women on our forum described feeling unusual vibrating or pulsating sensations in their vaginas, but they are certainly not the only ones who have experienced this phenomenon.
(Editor’s note: for our purposes, the term “women” encompasses both binary and non-binary women.)
When Terri, an author from Nevada, first noticed an unprompted vibrating and tingling sensation in her vaginal area, she didn’t know what to think. “Initially, I [asked myself], ‘what the heck?’” Terri told me.
She isn’t alone in her experience.
For years, tampons were my personal nemesis, primarily because I just couldn’t use them.
Whenever I would try to insert one, what I felt was far more than “normal” discomfort — I experienced a burning pain that made using a tampon all but impossible.
Whenever I sought advice from others, I was reassured that using a tampon could be uncomfortable at first and that my discomfort was just part of becoming accustomed to using them.
Still, what everyone else described as discomfort didn’t match up with what I felt, and at the time, I didn’t know why.
Online, it’s easy to find forums and conversation threads filled with concerned women who have also felt unprovoked buzzing, twitching, or painful sensations in their vaginal area.
While every woman has a different story to tell, they all seem to be asking the same question: Why is my vagina vibrating and what can I do about it?
I was on a mission to find out.
What Is A Vibrating Vagina And What Does It Feel Like?
Even though it might feel like your vaginal area is pulsating, twitching or buzzing, it isn’t physically vibrating.
However, that doesn’t mean what you’re feeling isn’t real or that it’s “all in your head.”
Women who experience vibrating, buzzing, or tingling in their vaginal area often describe the sensations very differently from one another.
Here are some of the ways it’s been described:
- Like a cell phone vibrating in my pocket
- Like I lost my vibrator in there
- A strange humming sensation
- Rhythmic buzzing/vibrating every 5 seconds like a metronome
- Like when your leg falls asleep, except “down there”
- Like a bug accidentally made its way inside
- Like a hive of bees buzzing away constantly
- Feels like it is behind my pubic bones, lasts a few seconds every 2 minutes
- It reminds me of a purring cat
One forum user even joked that she thought the vibrating sensations were “aliens trying to communicate via my IUD” or “the copper coils picking up radio waves.”
While some have said that the tingling, pulsating vibrations are more annoying than anything else, others described these sensations as being physically painful.
Likewise, some women may experience pulsing or buzzing sensations frequently, while others may only feel them on occasion.
It’s hard to know for sure just how many women experience vibrations in their vaginal area, as the issue is likely underreported.
However, an estimated 25% of women in the U.S. live with some type of pelvic floor disorder, which can cause humming or tingling sensations in their vaginal area.
Pelvic floor disorders become more common as women age, occurring when the connective tissues and muscles in the pelvic cavity become injured or weakened.
Women over the age of 60 experience pelvic floor disorders more frequently than their younger counterparts, and may experience vibrations and pulsations in their vaginal areas as a result.
Understandably, people are often hesitant to talk about such an intimate issue and I found this to be true, as well, when seeking women who were willing to discuss it with me.
Terri, the author from Nevada, said that she first experienced vibrating and tingling sensations in her vaginal area in 1990. She said:
“To me, [the sensation] feels like an orgasm, only greatly reduced. [They’re] very distracting but not uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s just a tingling sensation.”
So, what is actually happening when your vaginal area feels like it’s pulsating or tingling?
What Causes A Vibrating Sensation In The Vagina?
Generally, these sensations are vaginal spasms or an involuntary contraction of a group of pelvic floor muscles.
Two people experiencing vaginal spasms may describe those feelings very differently.
While these contractions can occur when you’re turned on, they’re usually more noticeable — and less pleasurable — when they occur spontaneously.
Physical therapist Isa Herrera is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a master’s degree in physical therapy and specializes in helping patients with pelvic floor issues, including vaginal spasms.
She explained to me:
“Spasms are involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that squeeze down on the muscles, nerves, and arteries, causing a variety of sensations. Women in my clinical experience describe these sensations as painful, heavy, numbing, or [as having] a heightened sense of arousal.”
Dr. Rachel Gelman, PT (physical therapist), DPT (doctor of physical therapy), specializes in treating patients with pelvic floor conditions in San Francisco.
Dr. Gelman explained that women who report having involuntary vaginal spasms sometimes discuss their experiences without realizing that they’re actually describing spasms. She told me:
“Often, I see patients report that they have difficulty with vaginal penetration. They may have pain or be unable to insert a tampon or dildo, or they are not able to have penetrative intercourse. Some people say they feel the muscles in and around their pelvis tensing, just like someone might feel their neck muscles are stiff or tight.”
While everyone describes their own vaginal spasms differently, there are also several reasons why women experience them in the first place — and no, none of them are related to frequent vibrator use.
Here are some of the most common reasons you may feel a humming or vibrating sensation in your vaginal area when you’re not aroused:
- Pelvic Floor Disorders:
There are various types of pelvic floor disorders, with three of the most common disorders including urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse, according to UChicago Medicine.
“Pelvic floor disorders [impact] the musculature of the vagina and rectum, most often due to childbirth, obesity, straining with defecation, aging, or menopause,” Dr. Kecia Gaither, a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine from New York City, told me.
Vaginismus, defined by vaginal and other muscles in the pelvic floor area involuntarily contracting whenever penetration is attempted, is less common than some pelvic floor ailments.
“Vaginismus, or muscular contractions in the vaginal area, can occur with intercourse, tampon insertion, or having a pelvic exam,” Dr. Gaither told me.
While some women may experience a humming or buzzing sensation with vaginismus, some women, like me, may experience pain as a primary symptom.
- The Way You Sit:
Surprisingly, your posture when sitting — and the amount of time you spend sitting — can cause or worsen vaginal spasms.
Isa Herrera, the physical therapist and author I spoke with earlier, explained that sitting with poor posture for long periods of time can negatively affect your pelvic floor.
“My clinical saying is that ‘sitting is the new smoking for the pelvic floor,’” Isa said. “Excessive pressure on the vaginal muscles caused by sitting needs to be addressed and fixed.”
- Restless Genital Syndrome (RGS):
Restless genital syndrome is a recently-recognized condition and, as the name suggests, can cause a variety of uncomfortable sensations for both men and women, though the ailment seems to be more common in women.
This syndrome can result in physical symptoms of the genital area that include numbness, pain, discomfort, a burning sensation, restlessness, and vibration.
- Neurologic Disorders:
Different neurological conditions often cause tingling or numbness in a person’s arms, hands, legs, or feet. However, these sensations can occur nearly anywhere in the body, including the vaginal area.
“Neurological disorders [can cause] ‘abnormal sensations’ known as paresthesias,” Dr. Gaither told me.
She explained that paresthesias is often a clinical symptom of diseases that affect the brain and spinal cord, including multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, or spinal cord tumors.
- Side Effects Of Medications Or Hormonal Changes:
Certain medications or treatments such as chemotherapy or even natural hormonal changes during menopause can “impact the body’s musculature,” according to Dr. Gaither, causing muscle twitches and sensations in the vaginal area — and elsewhere throughout your body.
- Excessive Caffeine Intake:
How Can You Deal With And Treat A Vibrating Vagina?
The throbbing, pulsing, twitching, or tingling sensations that accompany a vaginal spasm can be disruptive and distracting.
After all, it’s difficult to focus on anything when you feel like your phone is vibrating in your pocket and there’s no “off” button.
Fortunately, there are treatment options for women who are experiencing vaginal spasms, including:
- Exercises Recommended By A Physical Therapist
Often, doctors recommend physical therapy for those struggling with any type of pelvic floor issues.
Depending on the cause of vaginal spasms, Kegel exercises can help women strengthen and learn to relax their pelvic floor muscles.
Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins, an OB-GYN who sits on our medical review board, said that Kegel exercises increase a “woman’s awareness and control of her vaginal muscles.” She told me:
“While the goal is not necessarily to strengthen the vaginal muscles in a woman with vaginal spasms (as this can be counterintuitive to using vaginal dilators), it is focused on awareness and progressive muscle relaxation techniques which will decrease their painful spasms.”
Dr. Perkins added that physical therapy “may also specifically include sex therapy with a focus on the physical, cognitive, and emotional/sexual communication with their partners in the treatment of vaginal spasms.”
In my own experience, working with a physical therapist who recommended Kegels and other exercises has helped me to experience fewer painful spasms.
- Use Of Dilators
In addition to pelvic floor exercises, physical therapists often recommend using dilators with lubricant, particularly if vaginal spasms are caused by vaginismus.
Though dilator therapy isn’t an instant fix, it’s often a helpful long-term solution.
Using dilators can help women to become more physically comfortable with penetration and can improve the elasticity of their vaginal walls.
In many cases, dilator therapy can help people who are struggling with vaginismus to experience fewer spasms and significantly less pain with penetration.
- Medication And Counseling
For individuals whose tingling or vibrating vaginal sensations are a result of restless genital syndrome (RGS), there are a combination of treatment options that tend to be helpful.
Modern treatment methods may include electrical nerve stimulation and medications, combined with psychotherapeutic counseling.
Of course, in order to find the best way to treat your case of RGS, it’s best to talk to your doctor to find safe, effective treatment methods.
- Change Your Posture When Sitting And Move Around Often
Sitting for extended periods of time can put stress on your pelvic floor.
It’s important to always practice good posture while sitting, but you should also make sure that you’re getting up and moving around often.
Particularly if you have to sit for long periods of time, taking a break (and a walk) can help to relieve pressure and stress on your pelvic floor.
Isa Herrera, the physical therapist I spoke with earlier, told me that women can alleviate vaginal spasms by “paying attention to their sitting posture.”
She also explained that women should avoid sitting for longer than 45 minutes at a time.
“Some women may need to use a cushion for sitting to alleviate the pressure in their vaginal muscles,” she added.
Ultimately, being mindful of how you sit, while ensuring that you’re getting out of that chair every so often, can be beneficial to the health of your pelvic floor.
- Reduce Stress Levels And Caffeine Intake
Since stress and caffeine overconsumption can both impact how frequently a person experiences vaginal spasms, it can be helpful to keep stress levels as low as possible and limit your caffeine intake.
If you’re an all-day-long coffee drinker, for instance, this can be as simple as making a gradual switch to decaf. If you’re a cola-drinker, substitute some of those beverages for water or a caffeine-free alternative.
When you find yourself under a lot of pressure, yoga can be an effective tool to help manage your stress and anxiety. You can also try a number of different relaxation techniques to see what works for you.
Even though you may feel alone, it’s important to know that you’re not the only one dealing with uncomfortable or strange pulsing sensations as a result of vaginal spasms.
While it might feel awkward to bring up the topic of a vibrating vagina with a medical professional, it’s important to remember that your doctor is not there to judge you.
In fact, unless your doctor is very young or just beginning in their career, you most likely won’t be their first patient to have experienced this phenomenon before.
(And if you are the first, then you’re paving the way for their next patient who approaches with a similar problem.)
The relief you’ll get from beginning some form of treatment plan will far outweigh any initial hesitation or embarrassment over bringing up what might initially feel like an obscure or embarrassing topic.
Have you ever had a vaginal spasm? Do you ever experience pulsating or tingling feelings in your vaginal area?
Or, have you found ways to help lessen your spasms?
Either way, we want to hear from you! Share your frustrations and triumphs with others.
Tell us about your experience by clicking on the “Discuss” link/button that appears at the end of this article.