Female Sexual Dysfunction

Difficulty during any stage of the sexual act (which includes desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution) is considered sexual dysfunction. Sexual difficulties can begin at any point in life and may develop gradually over time, or occur suddenly. The causes of sexual dysfunction can be physical, emotional, and/or psychological.

Sexual dysfunction disorders are generally classified into four categories:

  • Decreased libido, also known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) can be caused by a decrease in normal estrogen or testosterone production. Other causes may be aging, fatigue, pregnancy, medications, or psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety.
  • Sexual arousal disorders can manifest as an aversion to or avoidance of sexual contact. There may be medical causes to these disorders, such as decreased blood flow or lack of vaginal lubrication. Chronic diseases can also contribute, as well as the nature of the relationship between partners.
  • Orgasm disorders are a persistent delay or absence of orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase.   
  • Sexual pain disorders affect women almost exclusively and are known as dyspareunia (painful intercourse) and vaginismus (an involuntary spasm of the muscles of the vaginal wall that interferes with intercourse).

Sexual dysfunction is more common in people who abuse alcohol and drugs. It is also more likely in people suffering from diabetes and degenerative neurological disorders. Ongoing psychological problems, difficulty maintaining relationships, or chronic disharmony with your sexual partner can also interfere with sexual function.

Treating Sexual Dysfunction

Before determining how best to treat you, your provider will first determine the cause. This can include tests to rule out vaginal infections, hormonal imbalances, or physical causes. They will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to suit your needs.