Decreased Sexual Arousal in Women

Facts About Decreased Sexual Arousal in Women

  • Both physical, psychological and social factors influence how we react to erotic stimulation
  • For the same reason the causes of reduced or lack of arousal both found in it:
    • biological (e.g., disease and treatment)
    • psychological ( fatigue, stress, sadness and decreased self-esteem)
    • social  relationship problems)
  • Not infrequently, there are several reasons going on simultaneously
  • If the lack of sexual arousal experienced is a problem, there may be reason for examination, counseling or treatment
  • In collaboration with the doctor, the central question is to identify the causes of the condition and together with her partner make a plan for how you will deal with the problems
  • As with other sexual dysfunctions up excitement is always a common concern.

What is meant by low sexual arousal?

Sexual problems in women are divided into decreased desire, difficulty becoming sexually aroused, the pain and discomfort associated with sex and difficulty in achieving orgasm. Often it is a combination of these problems, which together provide an unsatisfactory sex life.

Problems of not becoming sexually excited (horny or “on”) is called in English “arousal disorder”. There are several sub-types:

  • The body reacts, but the feeling fails
    • Although the vagina becomes moist and clitoris and labia swell,it feels the woman is not sexually aroused
  • The feeling is present, but the body does not respond
    • Although the woman feel sexually turned on, the vagina is not moist and clitoris and labia do not swell
  • A combination of the above
    • The woman does not feel turned on and genitals does not respond

How is the usual sexual response?

Sexual arousal is a process that affects both body and mind. The process is initiated by erotic stimulation (for example, a tank, a touch or sight of a sexually attractive person).

The body reacts to the external genitalia (clitoris, labia and vagina) in a matter of seconds swells up a little. The pelvic floor muscles around the vagina relaxes and allows the vagina to widen slightly. The sheath is moist, and partly because there is increased blood supply and secondly because from glands at the vaginal entrance there is excreted a thick, clear liquid which lubricates the vagina and the vulva.

At the same time focuses the brain that there is now an opportunity for sex. Other impressions into the background, and sexual pleasure rising slowly. The pulses from the genitals feels usually strongest, but the whole body becomes more sensitive and responsive to the touch.

More hormones play a role in the sexual responses. This applies to the female hormone estrogen and the male hormone testosterone, which women produce in varying amounts. Estrogen probably means not much for the body’s response to sexual stimulation. The reaction is the same before and after menopause, wherein the amount of estrogen in the blood drops significantly. Women after menopause may need estrogen supplements to prevent a thin and vulnerable mucous in the vagina, as this can cause pain and discomfort during intercourse. Testosterone is probably the hormone that matter most to sexual arousal in both women and men.

What causes decreased sexual arousal?

Many factors must play together when you are sexually excited. Both biological ( hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain), psychological ( self-confidence, happiness and mood) and social  (culture, networks and relationships).

The psychological factors are crucial. If you are brought up or live in a culture where special women’s sexuality is associated with shame, it may be difficult to allow themselves to become sexually aroused.

Illness and treatment can also make it hard. Diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, lung disease, cancer and depression gives everyone an increased risk of sexual problems. The same applies to psychological factors such as sadness, anxiety, stress, decreased self-esteem or following sexual assault. It is difficult to enjoy sex if too many other thoughts are pressing.

If there are conflicts in the relationship, it can also affect libido. In that case, Ulysses be a healthy sign of a sick relationship.

Pregnancy and childbirth also affects women’s sexuality. During a pregnancy  some women get more sex drive, others less. After birth, it is quite normal to have sex for a while, especially if you are breastfeeding.

In connection with menopause some women may experience that they become less sexually aroused than before in their lives. But there are large individual differences, and some women describes the fact that sexual desire increased. Perhaps because they have taken leave of the “nice girl” and dare stand by themselves and their sexual needs.

What are the symptoms of decreased sexual arousal?

That you do not become sexually excited or have sex is not in itself problematic. It’s only a problem if the woman can not become sexually aroused, even if she wants it. In that case, there may be reason to study, advice and perhaps treatment.
As mentioned in the beginning, reduced sexual arousal show itself in several ways:

  • One’s genitals respond to sexual stimulation, but you do not feel horny and experience on the contrary, the situation is unpleasant
  • It is horny and wants, but one’s genitals is not responding, which complicates the sexual activity
  • You feel not horny and excited, and one’s sexual organs do not respond to sexual stimulation

What is it diagnosed?

A good assessment of sexual problems starts with a detailed life story. Some women prefer to meet alone with the doctor the first time, so they can freely talk about their experience of the problem. Then both sides should (if you are in a relationship) participate in the conversation and treatment as sexual problems always be regarded as a relationship problem. Important factors which the physician typically will try to clarify during the call, are:

  • How is the relationship, and how they experience two parties the sexual problem?
  • How is the woman’s mental and emotional situation?
  • How was the woman’s past sexual life and experiences been?
  • How is the woman’s experience of masturbation?
  • Has she been exposed to sexual abuse or assault?
  • How is the woman and the couple’s other life?
  • Are there specific concerns related to sexual activity?
  • The woman’s thoughts and feelings during the sexual activity?
  • How is her health situation and if she takes medication?

The doctor will usually make a general checkup, may also suggest a gynecological examination. However, it is rare that there is detected no physical reason.

What treatments are available?

First and foremost, it is important that the woman is comfortable with her sexuality and her vulva and knows what best stimulate her sexually. Masturbation is a good exercise when you want to find out what touches you enjoy most. Erotic literature, porn and movies can spark the imagination and stimulate the desire to try something new.

It is important to remember that sex is all about enjoyment. How to achieve the pleasure is different from person to person. Therefore, it is important to talk with your partner about sex, tell what you like and how you want to be stimulated and affected.

There are no medications that are certain to enhance sexual arousal. This applies to both estrogen, testosterone and the medicines used against male erectile problems.

Openness and honesty in the relationship is important when the woman is experiencing trouble getting sexually aroused. It is a prerequisite that a couple can jointly find new ways to have sex. In some cases, a change of woman’s medicine help her lack of desire.

Some also suggest that women with a good sense of their pelvic floor (obtained through regular pelvic floor exercises) find it easier to control their sexual function.

Psychological treatment

Behavioral therapy (cognitive therapy) focuses on finding and changing factors that contribute to the sexual problems, for example. inappropriate thoughts, unrealistic expectations and behaviors that reduce the partners’ confidence and trust in each other.

Seismological therapy (or in the form of cohabitation or therapy) targets the same as cognitive therapy, but also uses techniques such as “training sensuality” in which the pair are experimenting with sexual contact without actual intercourse. The partners are encouraged to take turns to caress each other and give feedback to the other about what feels comfortable and titillating. This type of exercises intended to move attention away from performance and toward enjoying the situation and be present here and now.

How is long-term prospects?

Long-term outlook for arousal depends entirely on what the problem is. Problems arising from occupational disease or treatment often disappear when you get well / better, or when treatment is discontinued. Due to problems in outer life circumstances, sexual desire usually return if you manage to turn her life around. Also in the case of marital problems, the prospects will be good if the couple gets the necessary help and are motivated to face the problems and tackle them with openness, love and mutual respect.

Sometimes arousal may be very difficult to treat. This applies for example by late consequences of sexual abuse of severe chronic illness or very difficult relationship conflicts. Here it’s partly about getting the necessary support, advice and treatment – but especially to speak openly about the problems with her partner and as far as possible to find other ways to be sexual, so you do not end up in a situation where you finally dare not touch each other at all. But openness and honesty will get you far.

How do I set up sexual arousal?

If you or your partner for a long time experience lack of sexual arousal as a problem, it is important that you / him do something about it. In the long run it is a bad strategy to “lie” to be more excited than you are. And it is never a good idea to have sex when you basically prefer being free. If you find that you have a problem, you should talk openly and honestly about it with your partner. In many cases, only the confidentiality defuse misunderstandings, blame, shame and guilt.

If you are motivated to work on the problem and not feel you can handle it alone, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor. Feel free to bring your partner with. Lack of desire is always shared.

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