Are you unable to feel any excitement towards sex like before? Rather you dread the idea of having sex. Due to this, your relationship with your partner is also becoming strained and awkward. Then, you may be experiencing sexual health problems, or in medical terms, female sexual dysfunction.
Female sexual dysfunction involves various sexual problems such as lack of sexual desire, inability to achieve or sustain arousal, lack of orgasm, pain during sex, and vaginal muscle spasms. Any of these problems can occur at any stage of your life. There can be various physical, psychological, environmental, and lifestyle-related causes behind it.
Let us find out in detail about each sexual problem, why it occurs, and how to resolve it.
The 5 most common sexual health problems in females
These five female sexual health problems result in the ability to have pleasurable sex.
1. Lack of sexual desire
You neither feel the desire to have sex or masturbation nor are willing to be sexual. You have completely lost any interest in thinking about sex. Your partner may take this in the negative sense and feel you are not attracted to them anymore. It can be hard to communicate the exact reasons behind it as there can be various factors involved in feeling this way.
2. Lack of arousal
Your sexual desire is unaffected, but you are unable to get aroused during sexual activity. When you get aroused, a lot of physical changes occur in the body that makes it easy for your partner to penetrate. The blood supply to the genitalia, including your clitoris, vagina, and labia increases, causing these parts to swell up. The vagina also produces a clear fluid that lubricates it and makes sex comfortable and pleasurable. But imagine if none of this natural process happens. It will make sex uncomfortable and painful.
3. Lack of orgasm (anorgasmia)
The inability to achieve an orgasm or sexual climax is defined as anorgasmia. In females, it may not be as easy to identify an orgasm because, unlike men, they don’t have a clear indicator of orgasm. But, when your genital muscles contract, heart rate increases, the blood supply to your genitals increases, and you feel extremely good and happy; you are experiencing an orgasm. If none of this happens upon stimulation or during sex, you may be suffering from anorgasmia.
In vaginismus, your vaginal muscles involuntarily contract whenever penetration is attempted. It makes it difficult or impossible to have sex. Even if you try to penetrate, it will be painful. You have no control over this situation as it is your body’s automatic response to penetration. This condition can either be present from the start or occur later in your life when you have had painless sexual intercourse in the past. Most women are unaware of this condition and do not seek help due to the associated stigma and shame.
5. Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
Dyspareunia translates to pain in the genital or pelvic area before, during, or after sexual intercourse. The typical dyspareunia symptoms include pain during sexual penetration and thrusting, burning sensation, and throbbing pain that lasts for hours after intercourse. You may also experience pain during non-sexual activities such as while inserting a tampon or menstrual cup. Sex becomes an unenjoyable activity in such a situation.
What are the causes of women’s sexual health problems?
Usually, all of the above-mentioned sexual health problems are multifactorial and interrelated.
Certain prolonged medical conditions, medications, and surgeries can impact your sex life.
- Medical conditions: Various medical conditions like diabetes, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, gynecological cancers, kidney failure, heart disease, bladder problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and neurological diseases can lead to sexual dysfunction in women.
- Surgery: Any surgeries such as breast surgery, hysterectomy, or other pelvic surgeries can also cause sexual problems.
- Infections: Getting yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) often also contributes to sexual dysfunction.
- Medications: Specific antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and chemotherapy drugs are related to low libido, vaginal dryness, and inability to orgasm.
Hormonal changes or imbalances
Many events in a woman’s life can cause hormonal changes in the body.
- Menopause: During menopause, the estrogen levels drastically drop down, causing vaginal dryness or irritation, thinning of the vaginal lining that can make sex painful and uncomfortable. It can further lead to a lack of libido and arousal disorders.
- Thyroid disorders: If you have thyroid disorders, even that can affect your libido and cause vaginal dryness.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Sex during pregnancy is uncomfortable, especially during the third trimester as your hormones keep changing. Your estrogen levels remain low for a few months after giving birth and while breastfeeding. During this period, you may not have the desire or energy to have sex.
Sexual activity involves both the body and the mind. Any imbalances or problems with either of the two can affect your sexual desire, needs, and relationship with your partner.
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- Body image issues
- Low self-esteem
- Past sexual abuse
- Past negative sexual experiences
For a healthy sex life, the relationship with your partner is of foremost importance. Any problems with your partner can affect your sexual desire too. These problems include:
- Inability to connect with your partner
- Having frequent unresolved conflicts
- Lack of open communication about sexual needs and desires
- Having trust issues with your partner
- Having bad sexual experiences with them in the past
- Your partner is unable to satisfy you
Similarly, personal fears such as fear of sex or pregnancy can also lead to developing a negative relationship concerning sex.
Some lifestyle habits can be a contributing factor to having sexual problems.
- Stress, exhaustion, fatigue: Stress related to everyday work, relationships, children can release stress hormones that hamper your libido and arousal.
- Alcohol: Alcohol dehydrates the body, making it tougher to lubricate.
- Smoking: Smoking affects your blood circulation, thus causing problems with enough lubrication and sexual arousal.
How can you treat these sexual health problems?
The treatments will depend on the causes behind the problems. Consulting a doctor is one of the most crucial steps. They can diagnose the exact problem before prescribing a treatment plan. Usually, it is a combination of medications, therapies, exercises, and counseling with the active involvement of your partner too.
There are also many non-medical ways to revive intimacy with your partner.
Learn, educate, communicate: Both you and your partner may feel equally distressed about the situation. Hence, learning about the anatomy and the reasons behind the sexual problems and openly communicating it with your partner is crucial. It will save you from any misunderstandings and conflicts that may arise.
Engage in self-stimulation: Exploring your body can help you understand what you enjoy and what you do not like. Once you know what kind of stimulation is pleasurable, you can share those techniques with your partner.
Explore different stimulation techniques: Getting out of the usual sex routine and exploring newer foreplay methods can help resolve sexual problems. Watch erotic videos or read erotica together, give each other sensual massages, use a vibrator or other sex toys, try new sex positions, plan a getaway and have sex in new places.
Try reducing the pain: Use a good water-based lube to ensure comfortable and pleasurable sex.
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits: Reduce your alcohol intake and stop smoking. Manage your stress with regular meditation, yoga, exercise, and good sleep habits.
A woman may experience sexual problems at any point in her life. It may be subject to physical and psychological changes in the body. Healthy sex life is a crucial part of any relationship, so getting professional help at the right time can save you and your partner from a lot of distress.