When you hear the word,“sexual disorder,” the first thing that comes to mind is erection problems in men, but did you know that a lot of women are having sex problems, too? In a study of more than 3,000 male and female participants, with 1,550 of them women, half of the women reported to have suffered from one sexual problem. Low desire tops the list, while poor vaginal lubrication came next.
According to Psychology Today, there are four phases of the sexual response cycle, desire, arousal, orgasm and resolution, in that exact order. Any irregularity in the four stages that prevents completing the sexual act or makes it dissatisfactory is called sexual arousal disorder.
Sexual arousal disorder can occur at any age, but it is more common in aging women as their health declines. It is particularly characterized by the inability of a woman to release vaginal fluids; therefore there is not enough lubrication,which can make sex painful and less satisfactory. Painful sex, or dyspareunia, may make you avoid or loathe sex and any forms of intimacy, which, in return, will leave your needs unfulfilled and your relationship on the rocks.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sexual Arousal Disorder
Looking deep into your problem and being open about it to your partner and a health professional may help you recover. Your problem may be sexual arousal disorder if the following symptoms are present:
- Low desire to have sex or no desire at all
- Inability to stay aroused during sex
- Unable to become aroused, even if you have the desire to have sex
- Insufficient lubrication in the vagina, which is the main sign of arousal
- Difficulty or inability to reach orgasm
- Orgasm takes place, but only after a long time
- Pain during sexual intercourse
If the thought of sex scares you more than get you excited due to these symptoms, you might be experiencing sexual arousal disorder,which is either partial or total. Partial sexual arousal disorder means you were able to experience normal sexual functions before acquiring the problem, while total SAD means the sexual abnormality has been present all the while.
Causes Of Sexual Arousal Disorder
Before choosing the best treatment option for you, it is important to know the cause first, and it can either be physical, psychological or both. The rise and fall of hormone levels is one of the most common culprits of sexual dysfunction, including sexual arousal disorder. Insufficient estrogen levels during menopause or after giving birth may lead to the thinning of the vaginal wall and reduced blood flow.
Medical conditions and an unhealthy lifestyle can interfere with arousal, too. Chronic illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes inflict damage to nerves, which leads to reduced sensitivity in the genital area.
Infections in the vagina and urinary tract may make sex painful for you. This can lead to a fear of having sex again and poor arousal. Moreover, excess intake of alcohol may significantly reduce blood flow, while drug abuse may alter normal brain functions.
Psychological problems may make you less receptive to intimacy and sex, as well. Unresolved personal or relationship issues can lead to emotional turmoil and difficulty responding to sexual stimulation. The following psychological problems can lead to sexual problems:
1. Depression: It takes away your interest and pleasure in doing the things you used to enjoy, including sex.
2. Anxiety: Intense worrying about your sexual performance and fear of not being able to satisfy your partner may keep you from being aroused or to enjoy the act of sex.
3. Negative Expectations: Most times, this stems from your partner’s inability to arouse or pleasure you, leaving you sexually unsatisfied. Men with erectile dysfunction or those who suffer from premature ejaculation usually leave their partner hanging.
Or, it could be the other way around if you cannot communicate on how you want to be pleasured. If unsatisfactory sex constantly happens, the thought of having sex with your partner becomes less exciting and boring.
4. Low Self-Esteem: Poor body image and inhibitions may keep you from fully enjoying any sexual activity. Again, this makes the thought of having sex less exciting or even scary.
5. Conflicts With Your Partner: From petty fights to serious issues such as infidelity, unresolved problems can dampen desire and arousal. How can you be sexually stimulated and aroused if you are raving mad or deeply hurt? If you did something terrible, the guilt might take you over and your sexual desire.
6. Sexual, Physical Or Emotional Abuse: Women who are physically, emotionally or sexually abused usually suffer from sexual dysfunction, though not all.
If you were sexually abused in the past, you might see sex as a stressor then involuntarily reject it, or it can cause post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
It is a disorder characterized by great fear on a certain thing after something terrifying happened in the past.
Obviously, being subjected to physical or emotional abuse can kill your desire, as well. This is more than just a sexual issue, it is a personal safety issue, so seek help as soon as possible.
Treatments For Sexual Arousal Disorder
Before undergoing treatment, your doctor may ask you a series of questions to rule out other factors and to determine the underlying cause. You have to honestly answer questions that involve the following:
- Your past sexual life or activeness
- Your knowledge about sexual responses and arousal
- Your partner’s contribution to the problem
- Your current health state
- Your emotional state
- Your feelings towards your partner
- Were you sexually abused
- Do you experience pain during intercourse
- If your condition is causing distress
Your doctor may also need to perform a laboratory test to determine hormone-related problems and if the infection or something else is the probable cause.
Treatment may vary depending on the cause of the sexual dysfunction, but it should solely focus on addressing the cause first. For lack of lubrication due to hormones, you may take hormonal treatments, such as systemic estrogen supplementation or the use of topical estrogen. You can also use anon-medical treatment such as a lubricant.
Feminine products like HerSolution, a female libido-booster, come as an oral supplement and lubricant. It’s made of natural ingredients and guaranteed safe to use without the undesirable side effects.
For psychological causes, you may undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy to deal with your emotions and/or undergo traditional sex therapy to learn more about sexual responses.
Bringing your partner along may help your doctor get a better assessment of your problem, so ask him nicely to accompany you during consultations.
Women suffer from sexual dysfunctions, too. Most times, these problems are left unaddressed because women are reluctant to talk about sex. Don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling with sexual issues, your doctor can be the best source of help. They are used to dealing with such problems and will know what to do.