Are you a female?
Is it difficult for you to have an orgasm during sex?
Do you find sex painful or uncomfortable in any way?
Do you find yourself uninterested in having sex, period?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be experiencing Female Sexual Dysfunction.
I know that sounds like a scary term, but it’s actually very common among females and is nothing to be ashamed of.
Studies have shown that 43% of women have complaints relating to sexual dysfunction within their lifetime. However, many don’t express these complaints due to shame, embarrassment, or general discomfort around discussing the topic with their healthcare provider.
Because of this, female sexual problems often go undiagnosed. But, my hope is, the more we de-stigmatize issues surrounding sexual function, the less this will happen.
In this article, my goal is to discuss what female sexual dysfunction is, what can cause it, and when to seek treatment. The more we know about our bodies, the more we can help them function properly.
What is female sexual dysfunction?
This is something that occurs when anyone with a vulva has reoccurring problems during the sexual response cycle that prevents them from enjoying sex.
This can look like, a lack of sexual interest or desire, a lack of arousal or vaginal lubrication, difficulty achieving orgasms, and experiencing pain during sex.*
*Note: It is very common to experience more than one of these problems at the same time.
When should one seek help for this?
The answer is simple; you should seek help whenever it starts to become an issue for you. If your symptoms become distressing or cause difficulty between you and your sexual partner, then it’s probably time to ask for help.
What are the best treatment options?
The most effective way to treat sexual dysfunction is to determine what the root cause with your healthcare provider, and then treat those issues. Once you begin to address what’s causing your sexual dysfunction, the issue should resolve itself.
This is why it’s important to discuss your medical history at length with your doctor so they can create the most effective treatment plan for you.
What causes sexual dysfunction?
There are several different factors that come into play here.
I’ll try to break down the most common causes by category to help you pinpoint where your sexual dysfunction may be coming from. Of course, you’ll want to consult your doctor to be certain, but hopefully this will give you a better idea of what could be happening in your body.
Biological Factors that can lead to Sexual Dysfunction
Another thing to consider is whether or not your reproductive organs have experienced any trauma — such as childbirth, episiotomy or pelvic surgery. All of these can cause pain during sex.
We can’t forget about certain lifestyle factors like smoking, lack of exercise, or drug and alcohol abuse either. These often fly under the radar, but can make a huge difference when addressed.
Medications that can lead to Sexual Dysfunction
For your safety, you should never stop taking a prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor first. If you suspect that your current medication could be the cause of your sexual dysfunction, talk to your doctor about it. They may be able to prescribe a different medication with fewer side effects while safely weaning you off your current one.
Psychological Factors that can lead to Sexual Dysfunction
The brain really is our most important sex organ. If there’s anything causing us emotional distress or discomfort, our bodies don’t feel relaxed or safe enough to engage in sex — let alone enjoy it.
In addition, the way we approach sex can play a role here as well.
Cultural norms, religious influences, the quality of sex education we received, and any opinions we heard on the subject as adolescents can effect how comfortable we are engaging in sex as adults.
For example, if you received the message that sex is bad throughout your teen years, and weren’t taught that much about it, you may feel a sense of shame engaging in it as an adult. But, if you were given proper education about how to engage in safe, consensual sex, you’ll probably feel more empowered to do so.
Relationship Dynamic with your Partner
Depending on your relationship dynamic, sometimes, sexual problems can be the first sign that something is not right between you and your partner.
A lack of emotional intimacy, poor communication or intense conflict within a relationship can hinder proper sexual function. Put another way…if you don’t feel connected to your partner emotionally it may be difficult to connect with them physically.
If your relationship is in a difficult place, seeking couple’s therapy could make a world of a difference in your sex life.
Procreation aside, sex is meant to be an enjoyable way to connect with your partner, and this is something that everyone deserves to experience.
Sexual dysfunction is not something you have to live with, and there is absolutely no shame in seeking help in this area.
If you are having difficulty enjoying sex, or if there’s anything that makes the experience uncomfortable for you, I can help.
Feel free to schedule a consultation with me, and we can get to the root of the issue together.