Female Sexual Dysfunction
Although many women occasionally experience low sexual desire, it may not be just a passing phase and, if it persists, should not be considered as simply a part of getting older.
Here are some statements that may indicate you how you feel:
- I don't feel like having sex.
- I am unhappy about my lack of interest in sex.
- Getting aroused takes forever.
- I feel sexually numb.
- I lack sexual desire.
- I feel disappointment by my lack of interest in sex.
- I don't reach orgasm easily
We always recommend that you ask the advice of your doctor regarding questions you may have about any medical condition, including concern about low sexual desire.
Low sexual desire can cause distress. Like many other women, you may feel depressed, hopeless, or insecure. You may be feeling less feminine. Your relationship with your partner may be affected; you may feel distant from each other, or feel that you're letting your partner down.
What you're experiencing is not rare. In fact, many women are concerned about their loss of sexual desire. They may not realize that low sexual desire and the associated distress is a treatable condition. There are treatments to help you rediscover your sexual desire.
Why Is This Happening?
There are many causes of reduced sexual desire women. Loss of sexual desire can be linked with decreases in sex hormone levels, such as oestrogen and testosterone. Other causes of low sexual desire include psychological factors, illnesses, or even certain medications.
Oestrogen is thought to play a key role in vaginal lubrication. Changes in oestrogen level at menopause are linked to hot flushes, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is typically prescribed to help treat these symptoms.
Testosterone is believed to be very important in female sexual function (sexual arousal, sexual desire, and sexual pleasure).
Changes in hormone levels may very seriously affect a woman's sexual desire. Psychological and social factors, such as relationship problems, life stresses, and depression may also cause low sexual desire.
Other causes include illnesses (such as depression, arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure) and certain medications (such as antidepressants or antihypertensives).
Healthy sexuality is an important part of a woman's well-being. It is perfectly normal to feel anxiety and distress about reduced sexual desire and the effect it can have on intimate relationships. Your greatest concern may be the effects on your relationship and the feeling that you're letting your partner down.
Many couples experience rejection and anger, fear of hurting their partner, emotional anxiety about performing and even physical difficulties. The difficulties you may be experiencing in your relationship are not caused by anything you've done:
- Do you feel frustrated, cross and stressed?
- Are you drifting apart and losing your closeness?
- Do you think that your problems are your fault?
The distress associated with reduced sexual desire can significantly influence your well-being and you may not understand what is happenning. Women say they feel:
- unattractive, unappealing, and unloved.
- less feminine
- something has been turned off
- that they are being cheated
While all of these effects are possible, you dont't have to accept them.
It's important that both you and your partner understand that sexual desire with associated distress is a treatable condition.
You don't have to accept reduced sexual desire. Healthy sexual functioning can both improve your self-image and enhance your relationship with your partner. Sexual function can be integral to well-being. There are now treatments available to help increase your sexual desire and decrease your distress.
We recommend that you talk openly to your own doctor.
There are many therapeutic options for surgically menopausal women who seek a healthy sex life; many of these options can be used in combination. The first thing you should do is to consult your doctor about your sexual health. He or she will be able to guide you towards therapeutic options that may work best for you.
Sex or relationship counseling
This includes physical techniques, such as couples therapy, relaxation, and other techniques to help improve listening and communication. A counsellor will work with you and your partner to help address and potentially resolve any relationship issues you may have.
Address underlying contributing factors
If you are taking a medication for an underlying physical condition (eg, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or depression), it may contribute to low sexual desire. Your doctor may want to adjust or modify your treatment plan to help increase your sexual desire. Making changes to your lifestyle may also help (eg, finding ways to alleviate stress or addressing drug abuse).
Learning about emotional and physical aspects of a sexual relationship — even learning new techniques — can help enhance sensuality. Some helpful education may include relaxation techniques, special exercises, and genital caressing.
Sex hormone treatment
Hormone levels (e.g, oestrogen and androgen) may decrease dramatically as a result of surgical menopause. Your doctor can provide information about available hormone treatments.
At the beginning of April 2007, Intrinsa - a new prescription-only medication by Proctor and Gamble - was licensed for use in the UK.