Sexual Problems in Women - Topic Overview
A sexual problem is something that keeps sex from being satisfying or positive.
Most women have symptoms of a sexual problem at one time or another.
For some women, the symptoms are ongoing. But your symptoms are only a sexual
problem if they bother you or cause problems in your relationship.
There is no "normal" level of
sexual response because it's different for every
woman. You may also find that what is normal at one stage of your life changes
at another stage. For example, it's common for an exhausted mother of a
baby to have little interest in sex. And it's common for both women and men to
have lower sex drives as they age.
Female sexuality is complicated. At its core is a need for closeness and
intimacy. Women also have physical needs. When there is a problem in either the
emotional or physical part of your life, you can have sexual problems.
Some common causes include:
- Emotional causes, such as
stress, relationship problems, depression or anxiety,
a memory of sexual abuse or rape, and unhappiness with your body.
- Physical causes, such as hormone problems, pain from an injury or
other problem, and certain conditions such as
- Aging, which can cause changes in the vagina, such as dryness.
- Taking certain medicines. Some medicines for depression, blood pressure, and diabetes may cause sexual problems.
Symptoms of sexual problems can
- Having less desire for sex.
- Having trouble feeling aroused.
- Not being able to
have an orgasm.
- Having pain during sex.
You may notice a change in desire or sexual
satisfaction. When this happens, it helps to look at what is and isn't working
in your body and in your life. For example:
- Are you ill, or do you take a medicine that
can lower your sexual desire or response?
- Are you stressed or
often very tired?
- Do you have a caring, respectful connection with
- Do you and your partner have the time and privacy to
- Do you have painful memories about sex or
Your doctor can help you decide what to do. He or she
will ask questions, do a physical exam, and talk to you about possible causes.
It can be hard or embarrassing to talk to your doctor about this. Sometimes it helps to write out what you want to say
before you go. For example, you could say something like, "For the past few months,
I haven't enjoyed sex as much as I used to." Or you could say, "Ever since I
started taking that medicine, I haven't felt like having sex."