Female Sexual Disorder: Is It A Myth?


Doctors Girls – CC Image from wakefielddavid on Flickr

Not everyone has heard of female sexual disorder, so let’s take a look at what it is. But first please pay attention to this in-flight statement.

Once upon a time there was a website called letstalksex.net that published articles about the wonderful world of sex. However, the website was not a qualified doctor, nor did it give any advice to its much loved visitors on their personal health and well-being. All it did was awareness raise.

Did you see what we did there? Good, but just to be sure we’ll repeat – we’re not doctors so please keep in mind that if you identify with anything you read here, you might want to consider visiting someone with an actual PhD and ability to write prescriptions.

Female Sexual Disorder – Isn’t That Another Word For Frigid?

Well, no it isn’t. Pioneering sex researchers Masters and Johnson identified the symptoms in the 1960s, and gave it a name in their publication Human Sexual Response (Masters & Johnson, 1966). Since then, others have improved upon the research which still continues today.

Female sexual disorder is certainly not in the imagination, and it’s not perceived latent lesbianism either. Some women do have female sexual disorder, and it’s no joke.

To receive a medical diagnosis of female sexual disorder your symptoms must give distress. That’s more than being ‘frigid’. A term men might use if women aren’t sexually interested in them.

In the USA it’s estimated that 43 % of women suffer from sex related disorders, and in the UK the NHS suggest that 50% of women are affected by sexual problems. That’s half the population – half the women you know. Female sexual disorder is not a back seat driver. It’s affecting a LOT of women.

The Symptoms Of Female Sexual Disorder

There are a lot of symptoms, and research keeps throwing up more. It’s case of the more we know, the more we realise we know nothing. Sex and the psychological response creates new questions every day. There’s no limit to amount of neurosis we have about sex!

Here are the officially recognised symptoms.

1.Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder also known as HSDD

This describes a low libido or a sex drive that’s gone AWOL (or never signed up). It’s a full on lack of desire. You’d rather watch a Friends box set (That is BAD).

2. Orgasmic Disorder

This means that you can’t orgasm, or really struggle to get there. This category also includes women who could orgasm but have lost the ability to do so. Not fun.

3. Inhibited Sexual Desires

A ‘meh’ attitude to sex, with sexual apathy and disinterest in anything related to the trouser department. You can take it or leave it.

4. Pain

Sometimes called Dyspareunia. This can result from a dry vagina or Vaginismus. This is an involuntary contraction of the vagina. You literally spasm and tighten up, making penetration impossible.

What Causes Female Sexual Disorder?

There are three main categories. Psychological, physical and chemical. We’ll start with psychological…

1. Psychological Reasons For Female Sexual Disorder

Often people don’t realise how important mental health is. We throw terms like crazy, mad, hysterical around without thinking about what they actually mean. It’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone you know has said ‘I’m depressed’ to describe feeling a bit miserable about something, like coming back from holiday. We treat these terms lightly; perhaps we shouldn’t. Untreated depression is a known cause of female sexual disorder.

Clinical depression (diagnosed depression) isn’t the only mental strain that causes sexual problems. Anxiety and stress, both short term and long term, can have devastating effects on your libido. It seems that whatever happens in your head travels down to your genitals like a weird Mexican wave that you can’t stop.

Anyone with a history of sexual, mental or physical abuse might find that female sexual disorder rears its ugly head. No matter how long ago, our memories and mental images trigger physical responses that don’t tend to go away without professional help.

A low self-esteem is also a libido killer. Why on earth would someone want to take their clothes off when they feel ugly? It’s human nature to hide our faults from view. Female sexual disorder can simply be that no-one has ever said that she looks great.

2. Physical Reasons For Female Sexual Disorder

If someone is unhealthy, then female sexual disorder can result. A poor diet that has led to obesity needs addressing. Humans are programmed to reproduce in optimum conditions, so if you are not at your physical prime, your libido drops. That’s a throwback we won’t get rid of in a hurry; it’s already been thousands of years. The same goes for long-term illness, such as diabetes, arthritis, or anaemia to name a few. Bad health often means a bad libido.

The age-old passion-killer called childbirth is a known reason for female sexual disorder. It’s likely that nature has programmed women to avoid sex when they have young children, to ensure their survival. It would be easy for a sabre-tooth tiger to run off with a baby if the mother was busy with a new pregnancy. On a more physical level, damage to the vagina causes a sex drought. No-one likes to be touched or shoved in a delicate area. Children have a lot to answer for!

Lifestyle choices affect the libido to the point where female sexual disorder may develop. A dependency on stimulants dampens emotional and physical response, partly due to your blood pumping slower. We all know that too much to drink leads to rubbish sex. Orgasm after a bottle of Blue Nun anyone? I don’t think so. And that’s not just because you’ll be getting your stomach pumped.

3. Chemical/Hormonal Reasons For Female Sexual Disorder

Hormone levels drop throughout a woman’s life time, not just around the menopause. These hormones are essential for a libido, and female sexual disorder may be a reaction to falling hormone levels. A regular menstrual cycle also causes ups and downs in the bedroom (not the good type). You may find that one week you’re up for it and the next you’re not.

Medicines can have much the same dampening effect as illicit drugs and alcohol too. Numerous side effects can cause female sexual disorder. Antibiotic can cause nausea; anti-depressants can cause an inability to orgasm. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

Another category not often mentioned as an influence on female sexual disorder are social and cultural influences. Religious obligations or beliefs can subdue a sex drive, as can feelings of guilt. We won’t enquire into what you might be feeling guilty about, but if you harbour feelings of regret, guilt, or embarrassment about your conduct, then you won’t get in the mood. We aren’t judging – just pointing it out.

What’s The Cure For Female Sexual Disorder?

1. Psychological Support for Female Sexual Disorder

Is your relationship in good shape? Maintaining a good relationship with your other half is vital to a good sex life. If you need to ‘re-connect’ then figure out how. If you don’t feel attracted to them physically any more, then take a re-think about your future together.

If your attitude to sex goes deeper than going off your partner, then a sexual health counsellor is a good idea.

If there is past trauma, such as abuse, you really ought to seek professional help. Your doctor will support you, or you can look for a counsellor independently.

2. Physical Ways To Improve Female Sexual Disorder

Sort your lifestyle and health out. Eat properly, cut down on stimulants. You know what we’re saying. A big issue for some women is lack of lubrication. If that is worrying you, try a good lube for women, such as HerSolution Gel or Vigorelle. These creams provide vaginal lubrication to make sex less painful, and also claim to have a libido-enhancing effect. They may be worth a try if you are feeling the effects of female sexual disorder.

3. Chemical and Hormone Support for Female Sexual Disorder

Blood tests will show your estrogen and testosterone levels, so get these checked out. In fact, a check up is a good idea anyway. Ask your doctor for a once over. If any imbalance is identified, then you can start on some treatment. Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, can be a revelation to users. A sudden return to that late teen horniness can be quite shocking. Put your phone down, the surgery isn’t open this late!

Did you know that the word ‘hysteria’ comes from the Ancient Greek for uterus? Hippocratic doctors of the day believed that the womb went wandering around the body if a woman didn’t get enough sex. Looks like female sexual disorder symptoms were identified a long time ago. Thankfully, this Ancient Greek myth did not stand up to scientific investigation. Female sexual disorder is certainly not a myth, so get some support if you need it. Hercules however….he was REAL.

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