Unlike male erectile dysfunction, female sexual dysfunction along with its causes and symptoms are rarely discussed.
In fact, some of you reading this might be wondering what female sexual dysfunction actually is. In a nutshell, female sexual dysfunction happens when a woman cannot fully or enjoyable experience some of the physical parts the body normally experiences during sexual acts and/or intercourse.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines female sexual dysfunction as the absence of interest or pleasure in sexual activity.
The normal stages of sex are typically the stages of desire, arousal, and orgasm. All these stages can be affected by female sexual dysfunction.
Female sexual dysfunction can take numerous forms and has a variety of causes. Although it is rarely discussed, it is rather common. Exact numbers are unknown as some women are ashamed of it, but it’s estimated that approximately 40 percent of women have some type of sexual dysfunction, where it is caused by interpersonal problems, physiological malfunction or psychological issues.
In the scientific literature, this condition is considered the standard nomenclature for any situation that impairs sexual desire or libido. A woman’s sex drive might decrease as a result of physical or psychological damage caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, abuse, or certain medications. Even drugs such as cocaine and opiates can lead to a decrease in a woman’s sexual desire.
Typical Causes Behind Female Sexual Dysfunction
A woman’s view of her own sexuality can be influenced by society, upbringing, society and even personal experience. Feelings can cause anxiety because of a cultural association that “good girls don’t do that” or that sex is only meant for procreation. Anxiety or even fear of punishment from “god” can stop lubrication and even cause painful sexual intercourse. Common causes behind female sexual dysfunction include:
- Religious upbringing
- Inexperienced partners
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of pregnancy
- Conflict or tension with a partner
- Incompatible sexual partners
- Prior sexual abuse or childhood physical abuse
- Physical problems (such as diabetes or urinary problems)
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Self-esteem issues such as weight gain or loss, or surgical removal of some part of the body making the female feel less attractive
Although women are capable of remaining sexually active and having orgasm all of their natural lives, most women find a lack of desire and painful intercourse, which is caused by a lack of estrogen during menopause, keeps them from participating in sex as often as they used to.
An imbalance of sex hormones including estrogen and testosterone is the main cause of low female libido. In these conditions, women develop a weakened or absent sexual desire. They may not want sex or be able to have it regularly. For example, a woman may have low libido or experience sexual dysfunction, difficulty in achieving orgasm or a loss of her ability to become aroused.
Some of these symptoms may look like they’re related to your medical problem and only later it is found out that the problem is a hormonal imbalance.
Very few women (about 10 percent) say they feel more desire after menopause than before, but they are the exception and not the rule.
Female sexual dysfunction after menopause is one of the most widely-discussed, and least-understood, aspects of the aging process. It has been observed that women in their 50s and 60s may be less sexually active than those in their 20s and 30s, due to decreased strength after childbirth, increased likelihood of sexual dysfunction, and reduced lubrication.
Factors that might contribute to the development of this condition include physical inactivity, hormone changes, adverse effects of pregnancy and childbirth, and hormone replacement therapy. Although the causes of female sexual dysfunction after menopause have been extensively researched, they remain largely unknown.
Common Symptoms of Female Sexual Dysfunction
The most common complaints from women who aren’t enjoying sex include:
- Feelings of fear
- Feelings of anger
- Low Self-Esteem
- Lack of sexual desire
- Inability to have an orgasm (or unsatisfying orgasms)
- An inability to fantasize to arousal
- Pain during intercourse
- Feelings of aversion towards sex or their partner
Most sexual dysfunction can be broken down into three types. Some women might suffer from one type, while other women suffer from all three.
- Orgasmic Disorder – this means that a woman might enjoy sex or sexual acts, but either cannot reach orgasm or has a very difficult time reaching orgasm.
- Sexual Desire Disorder – When women have little or no interest in having sex, regardless of partner, they are said to lack desire or have a low libido.
- Arousal Disorder – The inability of some women to become excited or become lubricated, even after lengthy sexual stimulation. Recognizing the dysfunction is half the battle. Speak to your gynecologist or family doctor to help determine the nature of the problem.
Women also may experience depression and anxiety due to their relatively more numerous cases of sexual dysfunctions. Symptoms of the disorder may vary by individual depending on how it is produced and affected.
This is why it’s important to take care of female sexual dysfunction with proper treatment and prevention options.