Problems with sex or sexual dysfunction is common. According to the Sexual Advice Association, around 30% of young and middle-aged women, and 50% of older women are affected. It is often complex and both physical and psychological factors have to be considered.
Reduced sex drive
A reduced sex drive (loss of libido) affects some women at certain times of life, such as during pregnancy, after having a baby, or during times of stress. But some women experience it all the time. A loss of libido can be due to many causes including:
- being in a long-term relationship and becoming overfamiliar with your partner
- loss of sexual attraction
- unresolved conflict and frequent arguments
- poor communication
- difficulty trusting each other
An Integriti GP may be able to refer you and your partner for relationship counselling if you are having persistent problems.
Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion
This can be all-consuming and have a major impact on your happiness, including your sex drive. If you feel you are constantly tired, stressed, or anxious, you may need to make some lifestyle changes or speak to your GP or an Integriti GP for advice.
- feelings of extreme sadness that do not go away
- feeling low or hopeless
- losing interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy
It is important to see a GP if you are feeling depressed. They can advise you about management options, such as psychology therapies or antidepressants. A low sex drive can also be a side effect of antidepressants. Speak to an Integriti GP if you think this may be causing your problems.
Other factors can include:
Drug and alcohol use
Medications eg antidepressants
Physical problems such as vaginal dryness or vaginismus
Lower levels of oestrogen and testosterone
What happens during an orgasm?
When you have an orgasm, your body experiences physical changes, a vaginal or clitoral orgasm leads to the experience of pleasure and contractions of the genital muscles. Some people, but not everyone, can ejaculate when having a vaginal orgasm. If you have a vagina you may be able to experience subsequent orgasms if you continue to be stimulated.
Orgasm Problems can be divided into 2 types:
primary – you have never had an orgasm
secondary – you have had orgasms in the past, but can't now
You don’t have to orgasm to enjoy sex, but an inability to reach orgasm can be a problem for some women and their partners. Reasons why this can happen to some women are:
- fear or lack of knowledge about sex
- not enough effective stimulation
- relationship problems
- feeling depressed or stressed
- previous traumatic sexual experiences
Research is ongoing to see if health conditions affecting the blood and nerve supply to the clitoris also affect orgasm potential. Psychosexual therapy is a specialised type of therapy which may help a woman overcome orgasm problems. It involves exploring her feelings about herself, sex, and her relationship.
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