Sexual dysfunction is more common than you may realize In fact, about 40% of women aren’t enjoying sex for one reason or another. Unfortunately, many of them don’t seek help because they’re either embarrassed to talk about it, or they think it’s normal.
Dr. Khashayar Shakiba at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey in Hackensack wants to assure you that if you’re not enjoying sex: it’s not normal, it’s okay to talk about it, and he can help.
To help you better understand the problem, here Dr. Shakiba discusses the psychobiological process of sex and the four main categories of women’s sexual dysfunction. If any of them feel familiar, come see Dr. Shakiba.
Understanding the sexual process
The act of sex includes four different phases, each a blend of physical, mental, and emotional responses. The progression of sex starts with excitement, then moves to plateau, culminates in orgasm, then transitions into resolution, or whole-body relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.
If those phases occur out of order, or if any is weak or lacking altogether, the entire experience can fail. There may be physical causes to blame for disrupting the process, such as heart disease or diabetes. Or you may be making some lifestyle choices that hinder your sex life, like too much alcohol or recreational drug use. In some cases, certain mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and relationship problems, may interfere with sexual function.
Symptoms of sexual dysfunction depend on the cause. You may notice:
- Lack of vaginal lubrication
- Tight vagina
- Pain during intercourse
- Lack of interest in sex
- Inability to orgasm
Whichever symptom or symptoms you have, they likely fall into one of the following four categories:
1. Desire disorders
The first step in any sexual encounter is the willingness or desire to engage. If your mind and/or your heart don’t want to have sex, your body listens. This lack of desire, also called low sex drive, low libido, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), can stem from hormonal changes, psychological problems, or physical conditions. Some medications you’re taking may also hinder your sexual desire.
It’s normal to experience fluctuations in your interest level, but if you rarely or never want to have sex, it may indicate a sexual dusfunction. Dr. Shakiba identifies the root cause of your indifference to sexual activity and helps resolve that first.
2. Arousal disorders
Very similar to desire disorder, female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD) means your body doesn't respond to physical and emotional cues. Even if you want to have sex, nothing seems to get your mind and body prepped for the act, including fantasies, intimacy, or any other visual, physical, or emotional stimuli.
Without arousal to trigger the rest of your bodily functions, such as increased blood flow and vaginal secretions, sex is unlikely to occur, or at best, you’ll just go through the motions for your partner.
Like HSDD, FSIAD may be due to a hormonal imbalance, psychological stress, or physical problems.
3. Orgasm disorders
About 15% of women have never experienced an orgasm. If you’re one of them, you may have orgasmic dysfunction. You may have the desire, and you may become sexually aroused, but if you can’t reach an orgasm, your mind and body aren’t working together properly.
The good news is that once Dr. Shakiba diagnoses the culprit, he can treat the problem and free you to finally enjoy the culmination of sex.
While the physical obstacles to orgasmic dysfunction are treatable with medication and sometimes surgery, the psychological culprits may require individual or group psychotherapy or other measures. Mental illness, past sexual abuse, and learned negative views of sex that inhibit sexual performance and pleasure can be resolved over time.
4. Pain disorders
Pain during intercourse, called dyspareunia, can occur for many reasons — some are one-time or occasional causes, and others may constitute a sexual dysfunction. Temporary problems include an infection or an occasional lack of lubrication.
But if it hurts every time you engage in sexual intercourse, it’s time to come see Dr. Shakiba to find out why. Here are some of the physical conditions that could cause pain during sex:
These are just a few of the most common medical conditions that may be causing painful intercourse. To find out what’s standing in the way between you and great sex, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shakiba: call us at 210-279-5787, or request an appointment online today.