Female Sexual Dysfunction: The Ultimate Guide

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Female sexual dysfunction sometimes referred to as sexual frigidity is a condition that makes a woman not enjoy sex during any of the four phases of sexual activity. The four phases are excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.

According to research, sexual dysfunction is a common problem afflicting up to 43% of all women, making quite a significant female sexual health problem.

Given that it is an embarrassing topic for many women to discuss, the numbers may even be higher than what any study has reported thus far. Thankfully, you can get treatment for most cases of sexual dysfunction as long as you talk to your doctor and partner.

Female sexual dysfunction may be caused by a range of physical causes that are for the most part related to hormonal changes and levels. However, many instances of female sexual dysfunction are psychological, ranging from factors such as depression and relationship satisfaction.

Even in instances in which the condition results from physical factors, the psychological factors often exacerbate the problem. For instance, women that have pain during penetrative sex or have difficulty producing enough lubrication will be anxious about escalating sexual encounters. This will make it even harder for them to produce enough lubrication.

Symptoms and Complications

The following are the most common complications and symptoms of sexual dysfunction:

1)Low libido – low or no sexual desire

2)Anger or fear towards their partner

3)Difficulty or an inability to reach orgasm

4)Repulsion or indifference to sex

5)Low intensity of orgasm

6)Inability to fantasize about sex

7)Distress or pain during vaginal penetration

Regardless of whether the symptoms are caused by psychological or physical factors, most women will feel dysfunctional or inadequate. They will often experience low self-esteem, have difficulties explaining their feelings to their partners and blame themselves for their sexual dysfunction.

How Female Sexual Dysfunction is Diagnosed

Getting to know the causes of female sexual dysfunction is just half of the fight. What can offer more clues to what is wrong is the stage at which the woman is experiencing problems. Clues may also be found by psychological and physical testing.

It is always important to consult a doctor who can refer a gynecologist who can more easily establish the cause of the sexual dysfunction. There are three main types of dysfunction: Sexual desire disorder, sexual arousal disorder, and orgasmic disorder.

Sexual Desire Disorder – The woman with this condition will have little or diminished interest in sex. If your lack of interest is recent and applies to all situations and partners, the doctor may look to imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain, hormonal changes, medical conditions such as depression and medications.

If the condition is mostly confined to one situation or one partner then the doctor may take into consideration interpersonal factors.

Sexual Arousal Disorder – You might still have your sexual libido but you are unable to become aroused or sexually excited even after your partner tries to stimulate you. In some instances, you may become stimulated but you are unable to maintain the arousal.

Orgasmic Disorder – You will enjoy having sex and all other sexual activities but you will take a long time to attain orgasm or not attain it at all. For the most part, orgasmic disorders are caused by psychological factors and very rarely by physical factors.

Psychological factors may range from guilty feelings that tell one that feeling pleasure is wrong, to unrealistic expectations from the partner.

Sexual pain disorder – You feel pain every time there is vaginal penetration or when there is sexual stimulation. This condition may be caused by either psychological or physical factors or a combination of the two.

Causes of Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual problems are often caused by changes in hormones especially during menopause or for younger women, just after having a baby. Female sexual dysfunction can also be caused by physical conditions and illness including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

However, the major conditions can be classified as physical, hormonal, psychological and social, and interpersonal conflict. Read on for how these can impact female sexual health..

Physical Factors You can get sexual dysfunction from any number of medical conditions that include bladder issues, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, and cancer.

Some medications can also cause dysfunction and these include chemotherapy drugs, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, all of which can reduce sexual desire making it harder for you to enjoy sexual activities and achieve orgasm.

Hormonal Factors Lower estrogen particularly during and after menopause can wreak a lot of havoc in your body. These hormonal changes can change sexual responsiveness and even interfere with the working of the genital tissues.

With decreased estrogen, there is less blood flowing to the pelvic region which not only reduces sexual desire but also weakens genital sensation. You will thus require more time to get aroused and even more time to reach orgasm.

The reduction in hormones also leads to the virginal lining becoming less elastic and thinner, which will make sex more painful. Giving birth also tends to have the same effect of reducing the hormone levels in your body resulting in vaginal dryness and a drop in the desire for sex.

Psychological and Social Factors Social and psychological factors include issues such as depression and untreated anxiety. Some of the causes of anxiety can be things like a history of sexual abuse or long term stress.

For instance, if a person was once sexually assaulted, they would find it very hard to enjoy sex, which can mess with their ability to lubricate or even get aroused. Some people may also have difficulties when they are worried about getting pregnant, while a new mother may have too much on her mind to get sufficient arousal to participate in sexual activities.

Interpersonal Conflict Longstanding conflicts between you and your partner could make sexual arousal difficult. It is even more difficult if you have been having conflicts about your relationship and sex, as this can result in anger and resentment.


Since sexual dysfunction has many causes and symptoms, the most effective treatment may be varied. The most important thing to do is to consult your doctor and understand your body so that you can choose the most appropriate treatment. Nonetheless, the best remedies typically involve therapies that deal with emotional, relationship and medical issues.

  1. Nonmedical Treatment -Talk and Listen – Open communication with a partner can be one of the most effective ways to improve sexual satisfaction. Learn to provide feedback to your partner about your likes and dislikes so that you can be more comfortable when approaching sexual encounters.

-Adopt healthy lifestyles – Be physically active as it has been shown to be effective for enhancing romantic feelings, elevating mood and increasing stamina. You should also cut down on alcohol as this can make you less responsive sexually.

-Get Counselling – Talk to a counselor who has the expertise on issues of relationship and sex. They will provide appropriate reading materials and teach you how to make your body ready for sexual encounters.

-Use Lubricants – If you have pain during vaginal penetrations, you should try lubricants to deal with vaginal dryness.

  1. Medical Treatment Some sexual dysfunction is caused by hormonal changes or underlying medical conditions. Some of these conditions can be cured by your doctor prescribing new medications or changing what you are taking. If you have hormonal issues messing up your sex life the following might help:

-Estrogen Therapy – Estrogen therapy has been shown to be very effective at dealing with hormonal imbalances either after menopause or after childbirth. You can take vaginal tablets, creams or rings, which will enhance lubrication, increase vaginal blood flow, and improve vaginal elasticity and tone.

-Androgen therapy – The most popular therapy is testosterone therapy that has been shown to promote sexual function in both men and women.

Conclusion Female sexual dysfunction can definitely be cured as long as you get to the underlying cause of the problem. Work with your partner, therapist, and doctor to determine the cause of your sexual dysfunction.

You can then work on dealing with the problem if it is related to reversible or treatable physical conditions. Mild dysfunction related to anxiety, fear, and stress can typically be successfully treated with improved communication, education and counseling.

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Written by STDsSTIs

STDsSTIs is here to help people think, discuss and take responsible action on some of life’s biggest decisions – ones that often don’t get enough attention. We help raise the tough questions and ask young people to consider what really makes sense for them. Together, we can help Coloradans lead healthier lives and raise healthier families.