The first step in overcoming sexual dysfunction is to realize there is a problem. The next step, and probably the hardest one for most women, is to seek help from a professional. What makes it somewhat confusing is that the topic of female sex drive is a relatively new area of medical study and medical practitioners are hesitant to treat conditions they know little about. The medical community is a closely-knit one, however, and your physician is bound to know a doctor or therapist who can help you.
The good news is that the vast majority of cases of female sexual dysfunction are treatable.
What is Female Sexual Dysfunction? Finding a consistent and comprehensive definition of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) has been the greatest challenge in the preparation of this site!
In order to help with the diagnosis of FSD, the American Foundation of Urologic Disease formed a Consensus Panel in 1998 to establish four categories of disorders under the FSD umbrella. They are:
sexual desire disorders
sexual arousal disorders
sexual pain disorders.
Currently the medical and clinical research focus is sexual arousal disorder, which may include a persistent or routine inability to attain or maintain genital lubrication or engorgement in response to sexual stimulation.
• 43% of women suffer from some type of sexual dysfunction.
• Female sexual dysfunction most commonly occurs in premenopausal women ages 25 – 50.
What Factors Affect FSD?
The female sex drive is affected not only by hormones, but also by the way a woman thinks and feels about herself, her feelings about sex, how she relates to her partner, and how her partner relates to her. The context of a woman’s sexuality is as important to the female sex drive as is the physiological outcome of sex.
Women are vastly different from men in their sexuality, and each woman is different from the next in her sexual needs, desires and feelings. Much of the female sex drive may be based on her sexual relationship with her partner. For most women, sex drive depends on contributions from her body, mind and partner.
Certain medications and diseases, alcohol and illicit drug use, as well as hormone levels can adversely affect libido. Menopausal and postmenopausal women, and women who have had complete hysterectomies often suffer from FSD due to hormonal imbalances. Painful intercourse due to surgery, abnormalities, pain following childbirth, or infections can understandably inhibit sexual arousal and pleasure.
The life of the “modern woman” is filled with professional duties, home chores, childcare, and meeting family needs. It’s no wonder that nearly 70% of couples have sexual problems (Berman and Berman, 2001) at some point in their relationship! Stress, exhaustion and depression can all contribute to low libido. For women, the brain is the most sensitive “sex organ”. Relaxation and fantasy coupled with manual stimulation are often the most effective means of achieving sexual pleasure and female orgasm. A woman cannot relax and “let her mind go” when she is stressed, exhausted or depressed.
Sex is inevitably a couple’s issue. Many women are hesitant to tell their partner what feels good and unfortunately, our partners are not mind readers. Great sex comes from communicating with and guiding our partners.
You are not alone.
According to the results of a national survey of people 18 to 59 years of age published in the February 10, 1999 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association, 43% of women suffer from some kind of female sexual dysfunction.
The Female Orgasm
Many women do not have an orgasm during intercourse. If sex doesn’t end in orgasm for you, do not be disappointed or feel that you have let your partner down. Instead of focusing on female orgasm as the goal of sex, focus on the pleasures of the here and now, and let your body and fantasies guide you. You may be surprised.