Women’s Sexual Dysfunction
One out of three women in the United States and Europe experience challenges with sexuality causing anxiety and stress with intimacy satisfaction in their relationships. The most common problems are an absence of interest in sex, concern regarding intimacy, experiencing pain with sexual intercourse, inability to achieve orgasm, challenges in becoming aroused, and a lack of satisfaction in sexuality. Several factors can potentially decrease a women’s arousal, interest, and desire for sex. These include career stress, medical health, fatigue, body image, caretaking, self-esteem, mental health issues, and the quality of her relationship.
Are you feeling anxious and stressed about challenges with sexual intimacy?
Do you have a lack of sexual pleasure and satisfaction with intimacy?
Do you have pain with sexual intercourse?
Do you experience sexual discrepancy with your partner?
Do you experience difficulty with physical or sexual arousal?
Are you having challenges experiencing orgasms?
Women are vulnerable to experiencing temporary changes in their sexuality, including pregnancy and birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum depression. A mother busy with life/work balance and raising young children can be mentally and physically exhausted, influencing her lack of desire. Women with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, and psychiatric prescriptions may decrease arousal and desire for intimacy. As women enter menopause, changes within their hormones, bodies, lubrication, and self-image may change, causing anxiety and distress within their relationships.
· Low sexual desire.
· Difficulty with arousal or maintaining arousal
· Challenges in achieving orgasm
· Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
· Pregnancy, Birth, Breastfeeding
· Cardiovascular Heart Disease
· Bladder Problems
· Psychiatric Medications (antidepressants)
· Blood Pressure Medications
· Low Estrogen
Psychological & Social
· Sexual Abuse & Trauma
· Adjustment of Pregnancy
· Becoming a New Mother
· Relationship Conflicts
· Cultural and Religious beliefs
· Body Image Issues
What Causes Women’s Sexual Dysfunction?
Female sexual dysfunction causes include physical and psychological, medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, or medication. Psychological factors include complex trauma, PTSD, culture, social constructs, and religious beliefs about sexuality. Additionally, feelings of attractiveness, body image, and mental health issues. Relationship quality affects sexuality, including interpersonal conflict, disconnection, and feeling unsatisfied in your connection.
Types of Women’s Sexual Dysfunction
Anorgasmia Disorder – inability to have an orgasm.
Dyspareunia – Painful sexual intercourse
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder – Low sexual desire
Sexual Arousal Disorder- difficulty becoming aroused.
How can Sex Therapy help?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the gold standard for sexual dysfunction for achieving treatment objectives and goals. I provide an inclusive, compassionate, supportive, non-judgmental, safe space and precise psychoeducation about female sexuality. I actively listen to your needs and desires about your beliefs, values, interpersonal relationships, and goals.
I provide an individualized comprehensive treatment plan and collaborate with primary care physicians, gynecologists, and physical therapists specializing in women’s pelvic floor. We work together to change difficult, complicated feelings, thoughts, and maladaptive behaviors that interfere with experiencing healing in your sexuality. We also identify distortions in cognitive thinking and awareness of your body.
Mindfulness and meditation are incredible tools for learning to stay in the here, now, and present moment by effectively increasing your relaxation ability and decreasing anxiety and fears related to penetration and sexual intercourse. Consequently, you may question your love for your partner and your ability to maintain the relationship.
Female Sexual Dysfunction (2019). Canadian Psychological Association. https://cpa.ca/psychology-works-fact-sheet-female-sexual-dysfunction/
Sexual dysfunction in women (2018). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical
Education and Research.
Shifren, J.L., (2018). Overview of sexual dysfunction in women: Epidemiology, risk factors, and evaluation. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
Overview of female sexual function and dysfunction (2018). Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/sexual-dysfunction-in-women/overview-of-female-sexual-function-and-dysfunction.
Wein, A.J. et al., (2016). Sexual function and dysfunction in the female. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; https://www.clinicalkey.com.