An Overview of Female Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual health—and sexual function—depend on a variety of factors. What one person is satisfied with sexually, another finds deeply problematic. The amount of libido that a person has in one relationship may be quite different than the amount of libido they have in another relationship. The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It necessitates a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.
Desire is the experience of being interested in having sex.
- Orgasm is a time of release. There may be contractions in the vagina or other feelings of dropping over a physical or emotional edge. Some women may experience multiple orgasms, going back and forth from orgasm to plateau.
- Resolution is when the body returns to its usual, un-aroused state. Blood flow returns to common. Many people feel very relaxed at this time.
- Excitement is when the body becomes physically aroused. There is an increase in blood flow to the genitals. The nipples and labia may engorge. There is some degree of lubrication. The sensitivity of the genitals increases.
- Plateau occurs when the body is already excited, but a woman does not yet anticipate an orgasm.
The symptoms of female sexual dysfunction vary depending on which specific type of dysfunction a woman is experiencing.
Desire Phase Difficulties
There are several types of sexual dysfunction that can occur during the desire phase. The most common is decreased sexual desire or loss of sexual desire. This is when a woman has less (or no) interest in having sexual interactions. She may still be able to enjoy those interactions, but she is less likely to initiate sex. This is also referred to as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).