Purpose For patient comfort and safety, irradiation times should be kept at a minimum while maintaining high treatment quality. In this study of high dose rate (HDR) therapy with a vaginal cylinder, we used the butterfly optimization algorithm (BOA) to simultaneously optimize individual dwell times for precise dose conformity and for the reduction of total dwell time. Material and methods BOA is a population-based, meta-heuristic algorithm that averts local minima by conducting intensive local and global searching based on switching probability. We constructed an objective function (a stimulus intensity function) that consisted of two components. The first one was the root-mean-squared dose error (RMSE) defined as the square root of the sum of squared differences between the prescribed and delivered dose at the constraint points. The second component was weighted total treatment time. Eight previously treated cases were retrospectively reviewed by re-optimizing the clinical treatment plans with BOA. Results Compared to the eight original plans generated with the commercial adaptive volume optimization algorithm (AVOA), the BOA-optimized plans reduced treatment times by 5.4% to 8.9%, corresponding to a time-saving of 13.1 to 47.7 seconds with the activities on the treatment day and saving from 29.3 to 64.6 seconds if treated with an activity of 5 CI. Dose deviations from the prescription were smaller than in the original plans. Conclusion Dose optimizations based on the BOA algorithm yield closer dose conformity in vaginal HDR treatment than AVOA. Incorporating total treatment time into the optimization algorithm reduces the delivery time while having only a small effect on dose conformity.