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WTF? (Where's the feels?)

Wondering why it sometimes feels tingly down there?

From riding a bike to vigorous sexual activity, temporary numbness in the pelvic area can be completely normal but prolonged numbness or even de-sensitization can also indicate underlying problems.

What causes a numb vagina temporarily? 

The numbness or tingling sensation occurs when a nerve is cut or a blood vessel is blocked, it can result in a temporary loss of feeling, which for some people might feel like tingling or numbness. The feeling should only be temporary as eventually, the nerves regenerate and blood starts flowing again.

It can happen from perfectly normal everyday activities like biking or sexual activity. Cycling for a long time can compress the nerves between your vagina and anus, causing numbness. Overstimulation during sex or quality time with your vibe can also cause numbness and may feel like tingling for some. In both cases, the vaginal numbness should only be temporary and should subside after time and rest. Vaginal numbness may also occur after giving birth as delivery may put pressure on, stretch, or even injure the pelvic area nerves. 

Other causes for numbness in the pelvic area

From hormonal imbalances to psychological blocks, the loss of sensation in your vaginal area may last longer.

  • Menopause: When estrogen levels drop, the vaginal walls can become thin, dry, and less sensitive.
  • Stress: When the stress hormone (cortisol) is high, it can mimic menopause in your vaginal environment as estrogen levels decrease.
  • Strained pelvic floor muscles: Blood flow suffers when your pelvic floor muscles are strained because they’re constantly contracted, which results in increased sensation and sensitivity.
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles: A weak pelvic floor can reduce sensation too.

Other medical conditions that could cause numbness in the pelvic area include obesity as well as alcohol, drug, or tobacco abuse. If other symptoms like back or butt pain, leg weakness, and difficulty with bladder or bowel function are present, vaginal numbness could also be related to an underlying condition.

But lack of sensitivity or numbness can also be psychological as well as physical. If you’ve experienced sexual assault or any other trauma, the numbness and lack of sensation could be a psychological reaction. A loss of sensation may also result from shame. For a long time, it was taboo to talk openly about female sexuality and wellness, and the situation is made worse for those who had an especially conservative upbringing.

When the loss of sensation occurs during sex, it can hinder your enjoyment. Treatment will depend on the cause but if the numbness or desensitization is not subsiding, there are a few things you can try:

  • Vaginal massage: Hear us out, the vagina is like any other muscle, and massages can help relax the tense muscles and increase blood flow. Use your fingers or grab a toy.
  • Pelvic floor exercises: These exercises can release tension, strengthen your pelvic floor and help you re-sensitize
  • Therapy: If you think your numbness is attributed to trauma, talking to a professional or counselor can help.
  • Get to know your vagina: As you age, preferences change. What felt good before might not do the trick anymore. It’s never too late to get to know your clit, connect with your vagina, and practice solo.

You know your body best so if you’re concerned or if the numbness doesn’t go away, consult your doctor. They will assess your medical history and recommend an appropriate course of action. Potential treatments may include using topical estrogen cream or dilators that either help stretch and relax the pelvic floor muscles or increase vaginal awareness and strength.