An Introduction to Female Sexual Dysfunction
It is common to talk openly about erectile dysfunction, but not nearly as much about the female equivalent. It is obviously not called erectile dysfunction for women, as female sexual activity does not involve any kind of erection, but rather female sexual dysfunction, and it is just as real and common.
Unlike vaginismus, the other main female sexual disorder (FSD) in which the muscles of the vagina and pelvic area contract painfully at any instance of sexual contact, female sexual dysfunction is only defined by a lack of sexual response, whether it is a lack of desire or not being able to achieve an orgasm.
FSD might be a lifelong condition or appear later in life, it can manifest constantly or only in select situations, and - though this isn’t a defining factor - it can cause pain during the sexual act.
Sexual dysfunction can manifest in one of four conditions in women. The first and more common is low desire disorder, which is the lack of sexual interest and desire. The second is arousal disorder, which is akin to ED, as the woman has no problems with sexual desire but can’t seem to reach or sustain a state of sexual arousal. Next is orgasmic disorder — when a woman is aroused and has been thoroughly stimulated, but isn’t capable of producing an orgasm. The last one is, as it’s already been mentioned, physical pain during sexual intercourse.
The causes of FSD may vary, and they can be physical, psychological, sociological or a combination of different factors. There are also many diseases and conditions that can cause a lack of desire or arousal - from diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, to menopause, hormonal imbalances, alcohol and drug addictions.
As for psychological factors, they are much harder to pin down, but they can include stress, anxiety, trauma, a damaged romantic relationship, cultural or religious beliefs.
Treatment for female sexual dysfunction will very much depend on the diagnosis and whether the cause can be pinpointed. It may be as simple as changing the routines and sex positions or increasing the foreplay to add a higher level of stimulation, but actual medical treatment might also be needed.
If a medication is needed, unfortunately, there are not so many options for treating sexual dysfunction in women. However, hormonal therapy is commonly used on women post menopause, plus a recently developed drug called Addyi (often referred to as female Viagra) has been approved by FDA for treating FSD in women.
Psychotherapy might also be recommended, as these kinds of disorders usually have deep trauma at their roots.