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Sexual Problems & Common Complaints

Women may suffer from a number of different sexual problems and the Medical Center for Female Sexuality (MCFS) offers a variety of treatments depending on the cause of the sexual dysfunction.

The days of "It's all in her head," are gone. Medical and psychological professionals are starting to recognize the integration of physical and psychological components of female sexual problems.

Here are some common complaints frequently expressed by women:

Never Interested in Sex: An ongoing lack of interest in sex can have physical or psychological causes. Hormone insufficiencies or medication also can cause this lack of interest. Psychological factors may be varied and complex.

Interest in Sex Has Diminished Since Having Children: A mix of physical and psychological components often contributes to a decrease in sexual desire after having children. Hormone insufficiencies and body stresses are physical causes. Psychological factors can include exhaustion, changing body image, or altered self-image.

Interest in Sex has Diminished with Age: Like other areas where interest in sex has declined, age-diminished sexual interest frequently has combined physical and psychological components. Hormone insufficiencies and medication effects combine with feelings about a woman's changing body and changing life to cause a decrease in sexual desire.

Pain during Intercourse: There are a variety of different types of pain during intercourse. Causes include vaginismus and dyspareunia.

  • Vaginismus: The entry to the vagina makes intercourse impossible or extremely painful. Some women can put other things into the vagina besides a penis, such as a tampon or finger, others can not.
  • Dyspareunia: A deeper pain than vaginismus, this can occur in any area of the vagina. Some women feel pain in a different area than the irritation so practitioner and patient must work together to identify both the location of the pain and the location of the pain trigger.

These difficulties can be caused by insufficient lubrication, tightened muscles, nerve displacement, or muscular or bone formation. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain or discomfort.

Lack of Arousal: Arousal consists of a series of physiological changes including vaginal wetness, vulvar swelling, tingling sensation, raised hair on skin, and nipple erection. In some women, these changes do not take place, in others, the woman might not be aware of these changes. Causes of arousal disorder can vary tremendously and treatment will vary depending on the cause. Often, a variety of treatments will need to be combined.

Inability to Reach Orgasm during Intercourse: Only 30% of women can reach orgasm with intercourse. Women who cannot are not anorgasmic, merely typical, and there are many alternatives available.

Never Been Able to Reach Orgasm: Some women have never been able to reach orgasm. Experiencing an orgasm is a learned behavior and some women have never learned to have one. Low hormone levels, poor blood circulation, and lack of lubrication can all contribute to women's inability to experience an orgasm. In addition, there are some women who are blocked psychologically from experiencing orgasm.

Recently Unable to Reach Orgasm: As women get older, they sometimes develop less-intense orgasms or have a harder time reaching orgasm. This can be caused by hormone insufficiencies or reduced blood flow to the vaginal area. Inability to reach orgasm can also be caused by medication, in particular, some anti-depressants. Women who have experienced orgasms in the past are likely to do so again.

What is a G-Spot: Named after Dr. Ernest Grafenberg, this is a sensitive area in the vagina, somewhere between the pubic bone and the cervix. Some women find this spot to be sensitive; others do not find it particularly exciting.

Women may experience a variety of different sexual problems or dysfunctions which may change throughout a woman's life. Professionals specializing in female sexual dysfunction, like those at the MCFS, are best equipped to help women become more satisfied with their sex life.

Free women’s sexuality information packet.

Contact us for more information about the Center or call us to make an appointment at (914) 328-3700.

How women describe female sexual dysfunction

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Information provided on this website is authored and edited by Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, LMSW, MPH, PhD
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