Project Space

Project Space: In the Dark: Vaginismus



Medical history has demonstrated that the bodies of women and assigned female at birth (AFAB) people have been repeatedly overlooked and wrongly diagnosed. Incited by this lack of universal awareness, this ongoing series aims to ethically visualise health experiences that affect women and AFAB people to make viewers aware of the emotional and mental strain caused by them.

The series follows on to visualise artist Phoebe Wingrove’s friend’s experience of Vaginismus. This condition is incredibly painful, and occurs when any kind of penetration is attempted, whether that is from a penis, tampon, or even your own finger. When this does occur, the muscles in the vagina automatically tighten without the person even knowing, which is why this can be such a difficult condition to diagnose. Its causes can be linked to previous bad sexual experiences, your own fear / thoughts around sex, or from an unpleasant medical examination.

Matilda experienced 4 years of misdiagnosis, during which one female doctor told her “this might just be something you have to deal with”. It was, in fact, an article that her mum showed her about Vaginismus that finally led to her diagnosis. From there, she was referred to a psychosexual therapist, where she had a year’s worth of treatment, most of which included ‘training’ the muscles around her vagina using dilators and breathing exercises.

The exhibition In the Dark: Vaginismus showcases abstract images of Matilda’s body and experience of Vaginismus, inclusive of a soundscape that uses her poetic words to narrate her journey. Visitors are invited to follow Matilda’s journey around the room to embody and witness the (in)visibility of Vaginismus through the photographs and sound. 

Trigger Warning: This content is sensitive and could be triggering for some people.

Phoebe, the artist, will be there each day invigilating and is more than happy to discuss the work.

There will be an artist talk with Phoebe Wingrove and Matilda Godson, hosted by Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez on Saturday 27th April 11.00-12.00pm. Get your free tickets here: 


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