|About Female Sexual Dysfunction
Many women suffer from Female Sexual Dysfunction or FSD. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 43% of American women (about 40 million) experience some form of sexual disorder. Any woman can experience Female Sexual Dysfunction at some point in her life.
What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?
Physicians and other healthcare providers recognize Female Sexual Dysfunction as a medical condition. It includes a variety of disorders that are related to desire for sex, arousal during sexual activity, problems with orgasm or pain during sexual activity. If a womans sexual concerns are recurring in nature and cause her personal distress, she may indeed have female sexual dysfunction.
Specifically, Female Sexual Dysfunction is divided into categories related to desire, orgasm, arousal and pain. The medical definitions for the types of Female Sexual Dysfunction are found below. All of the disorders have a common component, namely, that the problem causes a woman personal distress.
SEXUAL DESIRE DISORDERS
- HYPOACTIVE SEXUAL DESIRE DISORDER The ongoing lack of sexual fantasies or thoughts. A woman with hypoactive sexual desire disorder does not have a desire for sex and is not interested in the sexual advances of her partner. This may also be called loss of libido.
- SEXUAL AVERSION DISORDER An ongoing severe fear or phobia of any sexual activity with a partner.
SEXUAL AROUSAL DISORDER An ongoing problem staying sexually excited. A woman would like to have sex, but when she has sex it is not pleasurable. This may be due to decreased sensitivity in the genitals or lack of vaginal lubrication or wetness. Sexual arousal disorder may be caused by decreased blood flow to the vagina or clitoris.
ORGASMIC DISORDER An ongoing problem related to having an orgasm. It may be difficult to have an orgasm or, if she does have an orgasm, it may take a long time. Some women describe their orgasms as muffled or not as intense as they once were. Other women may not be able to reach orgasm at all. This problem occurs even though she has been sexually stimulated and aroused.
SEXUAL PAIN DISORDERS
- DYSPAREUNIA Ongoing pain associated with sexual intercourse.
- VAGINISUMUS Ongoing spasm or tightening of the muscles of the vagina that makes the vagina difficult to enter or penetrate.
- NON-COITAL SEXUAL PAIN Ongoing pain in the genital area caused by sexual stimulation other than vaginal penetration.
What Causes Female Sexual Dysfunction?
Many women may think that Female Sexual Dysfunction is a normal consequence of childbirth, aging or menopause. This is not true. Women may have been told that the problem is "just in your head" which is also incorrect. Many times the primary cause of Female Sexual Dysfunction is physical in nature and is not psychological. However, due to the very personal nature of Female Sexual Dysfunction, psychological factors may become involved as well. For example, if a woman has decreased vaginal lubrication or wetness this may lead to painful intercourse. This in turn may become very distressing to both the woman and her partner and result in personal distress.
Some of the physical causes of Female Sexual Dysfunction are listed below.
- Pelvic surgery or trauma including hysterectomy, pelvic fractures, difficult childbirth or straddle injuries (such as falling on a bicycle or balance beam).
- Arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries
- Loss of the hormones including both estrogen and testosterone
- Spinal cord injuries
- Blood pressure medications
- Some antidepressants
- Birth control pills
- Some seizure medications
- Certain sedatives or tranquilizers
Psychological causes of Female Sexual Dysfunction include:
- Sexual, emotional or physical abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Problems with self-esteem or body image
- Problems in your relationship with your partner
If you think you may have Female Sexual Dysfunction, take our online FSD Quiz. Find out what treatments are available by visiting the Treatment & Therapy page on this website.