Women's Health

Women's Health

Sexual dysfunction

Almost 70% of couples have a problem with sex at one time or another – doctors call it sexual dysfunction. But for most problems, there’s a solution to help you and your partner share a more satisfying and fulfilling sex life.

The most common types of sexual dysfunction in women:

  • Desire disorders — you’re not interested in having sex
  • Arousal disorders – you don’t get aroused by sexual activity
  • Orgasmic disorders – you can’t have an orgasm or have pain during orgasm
  • Sexual pain disorders – you have pain during or after sex

Causes of sexual dysfunction

Many physical or psychological problems can affect your sex life.

  • Certain medicines
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Reproductive system problems such as ovarian cysts, vaginitis or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Vaginal infections
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Depression
  • Past sexual trauma or abuse
  • Anxiety or guilt about sex
  • Pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding may dampen your desire
  • Hormonal changes, such as after menopause
  • Stress and strain of daily living
  • Fatigue
  • Boredom with the same old sexual routines

Try to identify what’s causing your difficulty in having a fulfilling sex life. Maybe there’s something in your life you can change to be more sexual with your partner. Open, loving conversation is often a good place to start. Your doctor also understands why you may feel less sexual desire or enjoy sex less than you used to and can help you relight the spark with your partner. Most cases of sexual dysfunction are treatable.

If desire is your problem

Try something new with your partner. Snuggle up together to watch an erotic video or read a sexy book.

If arousal is your problem

Try using mineral oil for lubrication. If you’ve gone through menopause and feel that your arousal is related to vaginal pain/dryness, talk to your doctor about the possible benefit of an estrogen cream.

If having an orgasm is your problem

Try masturbation or stimulate yourself with a vibrator before you have sex with your partner. Give it time. You might need to stimulate yourself for an hour or so before sex. Many women don’t have an orgasm during intercourse. If you want an orgasm during intercourse, you or your partner can gently stroke your clitoris.

If pain is your problem

Try to find a position that’s less painful or pain-free. Being on top can give you more control over penetration and movement. Empty your bladder before you have sex. Use lubrication during intercourse. Take a warm bath. If you continue to have pain, talk with your doctor.

Medications to treat sexual dysfunction

  • Estrogen may help with sexual problems if you’ve gone through menopause or have had your ovaries removed.
  • Viagra and the male hormone testosterone are often talked about as being able to help with sexual problems, but both can have serious side effects and effectiveness has not been clearly proven.

Involve your partner

Sharing a loving sexual life with your partner is one of life’s great pleasures. If you feel that something in your life is preventing you from experiencing sexual satisfaction, share your feelings with your partner. Often an open and loving conversation can go a long way toward getting to the heart of the problem and putting things right again.

A satisfying sex life can definitely brighten your day so it’s well worth finding out why you may not be enjoying sex these days and what you – and we – can do to reignite the spark.