What is Female Sexual Dysfunction? How to recognize it, why it’s seldomly discussed in popular culture and how to get treatment for it.
We hear a lot of erectile dysfunction; commercials pop up everywhere and we regularly hear references to this condition in jokes and popular TV shows. But we rarely hear anything about women experiencing any form of sexual dysfunction. We hear even less about how sexual dysfunction can impact a woman’s mental health. So, in this article, we’ll learn more about what sexual dysfunction is and how it can affect mental health.
What Are The Symptoms of Female Sexual Dysfunction?
Put simply, sexual dysfunction is a condition which prevents someone from engaging in sex or finding sex pleasurable. The root cause of sexual dysfunction can be a mental illness, a physical illness, or a combination of the two. Sexual dysfunction can be very problematic and distressing for a variety of reasons. For example, let’s imagine a scenario in which a woman is experiencing sexual dysfunction that is triggered by anxiety. If she is struggling with a lot of anxiety about sex, she might experience little to no sexual arousal and her body might not be responsive to sexual intercourse with a partner. As a result, she may find sex to be mentally and physically painful.
So, in addition to these distressing sensations, she might experience an additional increase in anxiety. After all, if you’re in a romantic relationship with someone and they want to have sex with you, it’s easy to feel like you’re letting them down or disappointing them if you never feel up to having sex. This could create a seemingly inescapable cycle of anxiety, low self-esteem, and stress about the relationship. As a result, a woman experiencing these feelings might end her romantic relationship and avoid sex and dating altogether in order to alleviate her anxiety.
It’s no surprise that these feelings can cause significant distress and prevent someone from enjoying a happy, healthy sex life. Avoiding these feelings may also cause women to feel lonely, depressed, and unlovable. The underrepresentation of female sexual dysfunction can contribute to these feelings. For example, if you feel anxious and unable to enjoy sex, you might feel as though there is something wrong with you if you don’t know that you’re struggling with a medical or mental health condition. As a result, many women may suffer in silence, shouldering guilt and shame for a condition that isn’t their fault.
How Can I Get Help For Female Sexual Dysfunction?
If you or someone you love is experiencing some of the symptoms on this list, you should know that there is nothing wrong with you! If you’re not able to enjoy something that many people view as being normal, you may feel “bad” or “broken.” But nothing could be further from the truth! Whether you are struggling with mental health, physical health, or a combination of the two, sexual dysfunction is common and it can be treated. Sexual dysfunction can affect 30-50% of women throughout their lives, so you’re not alone! And you can get help by speaking to a licensed mental health professional.
If your struggles are caused by depression or anxiety, your therapist can help you work through them. Your primary doctor can also help you rule out or treat any underlying medical conditions that might affect you. In some cases, you may need to work closely with your primary doctor and your therapist; together, they can help you create a personalized treatment plan that will treat the symptoms you’re experiencing. Because sexual dysfunction is a very unique and personal condition, symptoms can vary from person to person, so your treatment plan might differ from that of another woman who is experiencing sexual dysfunction.
But no matter what your personal journey looks like, what matters is the fact that you are not alone. There are a variety of resources available to you and you can take advantage of the many treatment options that are out there. Sexual dysfunction can make you feel isolated and ashamed, but you don’t have to live like that! You can reach out now to find help, healing, and a healthy future on the horizon.