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Female Sexuality Articles Index > Female Sexual Dysfunction
The symptoms of female sexual
dysfunction can include lack of desire for sexual intercourse,
an inability to enjoy sex, inadequate response to sexual
stimulation, insufficient vaginal lubrication, or repeated
failure to reach orgasm.
response to sexual stimulation and difficulty or inability to
reach orgasm is a common but complex problem in women. It is a
problem that can have many different causes. Surveys indicate that 40 to
45% of all women suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.
This might be caused by illness or by lack of physical response
from the sex organs, but may also be linked to psychological
The female equivalent of male
impotence or erectile dysfunction is known as Female Sexual
Arousal Disorder (FSAD).
When men and women are sexually stimulated and become aroused,
there is an enhanced flow of blood into their sexual organs and
their genitals become engorged with blood. In females, this
normally should result in:
Enlargement of the clitoris and surrounding tissues
(comparable to a male penis erection)
of vaginal lubrication
and widening of the vaginal opening to facilitate insertion of
a penis for intercourse.
FSAD patients have the desire to
have sex but their genital area fails to respond in the normal
way, making sex painful or impossible.
Underlying medical condition
FSAD can result from various
underlying medical conditions including:
infections and growths in the vaginal area
Medications used to treat high
blood pressure, peptic ulcers, depression or anxiety and cancer
may also cause problems. Another factor is the physical,
hormonal and emotional changes that occur during or after
pregnancy or while breast feeding.
FSAD is also frequently linked
to psychological factors, which may include:
Relationship issues with the male partner
abuse or incest
of shame or guilt about sex
Women who suffer from Female
Orgasmic Disorder (FOD) are unable to achieve orgasm despite
being sufficiently aroused to have sex.
Women differ from men in that
orgasm is a learned, not automatic, response. About five to ten
percent of women never have an orgasm through any type of sexual
activity - a condition called anorgasmia.
Anorgasmia is most often the
result of sexual inexperience, performance anxiety, or past
experiences, such as sexual trauma or a strict and prudish
upbringing creating inhibitions about sex and sexual pleasure.
There are women who do enjoy
sexual activity in spite of reaching orgasm only occasionally or
even never. However, for such women, sexual relationships would
be far more pleasurable and fulfilling if they could reach
orgasm on most occasions of sexual activity.
On-going research suggests that
any type of medication that increases blood flow to the sexual
organs will help to treat sexual disorders in women by
increasing physical stimulation in the area. Herbal formulations
of gels or creams like
Vigorelle or supplements that enhance
blood circulation, such as
Provestra, have shown promising
Trials have been conducted with
Viagra on the basis that this drug increases blood flow to the
genital areas. However, the scientific community is still
waiting for firm evidence to be published that this drug can
work on women. A small study published earlier found no positive
impact of Viagra on postmenopausal women.
For the moment, doctors
concentrate, where possible, on eliminating medications that
might have a negative effect on sexual performance. They also
review contraceptive methods to ascertain whether this is a
factor. Women who suffer from vaginal dryness may be advised to
use lubricants or sexual stimulant creams during intercourse.
Some doctors recommend that women use Kegel exercises, which
help to develop the muscles around the outer portion of the
vagina that are involved in pleasurable sensations.
masturbation with vibrators has shown remarkable success
in overcoming both arousal dysfunction and orgasmic disorder in
women. This is because very often the clitoris and vagina have
simply not learnt how to respond to stimulation. In such
situations vibrator masturbation can successfully train the sex
organs to respond to sexual stimulation.
renowned sex therapist and educator, Helen Singer
Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., suggested the use of vibrators in the
treatment of non-orgasmic females.
She advised that for those women who have never had
an orgasm (primary absolute orgasmic
dysfunction), should manual masturbation not be
sufficient to reach orgasm, then a vibrator is indicated.
Psychological counseling can also play an important part in
treating women with sexual problems, as can coaching in sexual
foreplay and stimulation techniques
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