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Sexual Dysfunction Part 3

This third article on sexual dysfunction will bring our conversation to a close on this topic.  As previously stated, my blog has only touched the surface of this very complex phenomenon in female reproductive health.  If you recall, I created an acronym to help you remember the different types of sexual dysfunction, P. A. I. N. (P = Sexual Pain, A = Impaired Arousal, I = Inability to Achieve Orgasm, N = No Desire).  This article will focus on the “A” and the “I”.

Have you ever had a yawn that you just cannot complete?  You have the sensation of needing to yawn.  You want to yawn.  Your mouth even opens to start yawning, but, for some reason, you cannot complete the yawn.  Better yet, imagine the feeling of a sneeze that is building in your nasal passages.  You want to sneeze.  It feels like you are going to sneeze and absolutely nothing happens.  Clearly, these are simplistic analogies; however, I can only imagine that these two disorders, female sexual arousal disorder and orgasmic disorder, are similar to the frustration that you may feel with a yawn or a sneeze that will not complete. 

Female sexual arousal disorder refers to a woman who is not able to remain lubricated enough in order to finish a sexual encounter resulting in significant distress.  Female orgasmic disorder refers to a woman who is aroused and experiences expected sexual excitement but orgasm is either delayed or just does not happen.  Needless to say this can be frustrating to both parties involved and disappointing.

Sexual arousal disorder can be due to changes to the vaginal lining that are associated with menopause.   As a woman enters menopause, the decrease in estrogen will often result in thinning of the vaginal lining.  The lining also becomes dry and sexual penetration is painful which potentially can result in inadequate or absence of lubrication.  There are also certain medications, such as antidepressants, that are associated with sexual arousal disorder.  Stopping or adjusting the medication may result in resolution of this type of disorder.

Medications can also be a culprit in female orgasmic disorder.  Once again, making adjustments to the medication, changing the medication or stopping the medication, may permit a woman to begin achieving orgasm.  Female orgasmic disorder that has developed as a result of a traumatic experience (i.e., abuse, rape, molestation, etc.) can be more complex.  This woman will inevitably need counseling.  She may also need to share counseling with her partner so that they both understand the condition and how to move beyond the condition.  Self-stimulation is mentioned as a means to help a woman achieve her first orgasm.

ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) article entitled, Female Sexual Dysfunction, has proven to be a nice resource for my three blogs on sexual dysfunction.  My hope is that the subject is less intimidating and more comprehensible.  You have not read many specifics about treatment strategies.  A more detailed conversation regarding treatment can be complex and warrants a face-to face conversation with the health care provider that knows you the best.

There are two on-line resources that I would like to share with you as you embark on a journey to improved sexual health.  These websites were chosen from a list provided in ACOG’s article.

Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS)


American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists


 If one of my blogs on sexual dysfunction describes you, please know that there is hope.  The first step to treatment is acknowledgement that there is a problem and the second step is having the courage to share your problem.  

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