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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Sexual Problems in Women - Treatment Overview

Treatment will depend on the type of sexual problem you're having. Treatment may include:

  • Treatment of any physical causes.
  • Education about your body, your sexual signals and receptors, and changes in sexuality as you get older.
  • Counseling for you and your partner.
  • Psychological therapy. Therapy for sexual problems often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Sex therapy.

Treatment for decreased sexual desire

Treatment for physical causes of this problem can include:

  • Changing a medicine that has been lowering your interest in sex.
  • Relieving pain, illness, or sleep problems that are lowering your interest in sex.
  • Low-dose estrogen. After menopause, low levels of estrogen in the body cause vaginal dryness. Estrogen reverses this.
  • Testosterone. Testosterone is sometimes used after natural or surgical menopause to improve sex drive. But long-term use of testosterone has not been shown to be effective in increasing sexual desire.3
  • Exercise, to improve your mood and increase natural testosterone levels.

Getting counseling as a couple can help strengthen your emotional connection with your partner. Improving a stressed relationship is likely to improve your sexual relationship.

There are also steps you can take at home that may raise your sexual desire. To learn more, see Home Treatment.

Having a partner you feel comfortable and nonstressed with plays a big part in your desire level. It's normal to lack desire for a partner who forces sex or is verbally abusive or physically violent.

Treatment for decreased sexual arousal

Treatment for decreased sexual excitement may include learning about the role emotions play and about how a woman's arousal sometimes depends on stimulating other parts of her body, especially her breasts.

Treatment may also include:

  • Changing treatment for certain illnesses, if that treatment has side effects that lower your arousal.
  • Counseling, to help adjust expectations of sexual activity. If too much pressure is put on partners to perform, it can affect arousal.
  • Steps you can take at home, such as use of vaginal lubricants or masturbation.

Treatment for inability to reach orgasm

Treatment usually begins with changing any medicine that is known to affect orgasm. But don't stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.

If you're having trouble with orgasm or it takes much longer than it used to, you can try a number of things at home, such as self-stimulation and fantasy.

It may also help to find out more about sexual response. For example, most women find it easier to have an orgasm from direct clitoral stimulation. And most couples do not have orgasms at the same time.

Treatment for pain

If pain is caused by a physical problem, treating that problem may get rid of the pain. But pain during intercourse may have more than one cause, including psychological causes such as anxiety or the memory of sexual assault.2

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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