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Female sexual problems

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A lack of desire, pain, difficulty reaching orgasm: many women experience sexual problems, yet they're often still often not common knowledge. Here is a summary of the main problems experienced by women and some advice on dealing with them.
A lack of desire, pain, difficulty reaching orgasm: many women experience sexual problems, yet they're often still often not common knowledge. Here is a summary of the main problems experienced by women and some advice on dealing with them.
Vaginal dryness
Often a short-lived problem, this is a real handicap for women’s sex lives. If you have a lack of vaginal lubrication, penetration can be unpleasant and even painful. Lack of lubrication is generally caused by hormonal changes. It can affect young girls, women who are pregnant or mothers and post-menopausal women. Nevertheless, excessive washing of the genitals, stress, medication, alcohol and smoking cigarettes can all affect the vagina’s natural lubrication process.
Solutions: Water-based lubricant can be used to relieve any discomfort from penetration. For some women, hormonal treatment may be an option, the partners are often impatient to enjoy sex. As a woman's body needs time to prepare itself for sex, spending time on foreplay is important for arousal: it helps the vagina lubricate itself naturally to help penetration.
Dyspareunia (painful penetration)
Dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse. The causes can be organic (post-childbirth, for example), infectious (vaginitis, cystitis, herpes and other STIs/STDs) or psychological. It can also be a result of a lesser-known condition called vulvar vestibulitis (an inflammation of the vulval vestibule, located inside the labia minora).
Solutions: The pain should first of all be located (is it inside or outside the vagina? how deep is it? etc) and identified. Antibiotics can be prescribed if there is an infection, but often the fear of pain can, over time, lead to a fear of sex, causing deeper mental blocks. Consulting a psychologist can help women overcome apprehensions and experience fulfilling sex.
Vaginismus
Vaginismus is an involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles. While the genitals behave as normal (they become sexually aroused and orgasm can be reached through clitoral stimulation), the vagina closes up by reflex, preventing penetration of any sort. Vaginismus also makes gynaecological exams and the use of tampons impossible.
Solutions: In 90% of cases, the underlying cause of vaginismus is psychological. It can be the result of a trauma, a fear or even a phobia of sex, or a physiological block caused by severe dyspareunia. Therapy is used to relax the vaginal muscles. The woman then needs to get to grips with her body so she can gradually return to having a normal sex life.
Anorgasmia
There are many women who complain about not having vaginal orgasms. However, this is only referred to as total anorgasmia – or absence of orgasm – when the woman has experienced neither clitoral nor vaginal orgasm. Anorgasmia can occur at the start of a woman’s sex life or later on in life. It’s a complex problem that sometimes only occurs in certain situations or with certain partners.
Solutions: Like many female sexual disorders, anorgasmia often has psychological roots. It’s therefore towards a psychotherapist that affected women should turn. After finding the source of the block, the woman needs to develop her sexual sensitivity and explore these erotic sensations.

Frigidity

Well beyond anorgasmia, frigidity (or Inhibited Sexual Desire) is the complete absence of sexual pleasure. It is characterised by a lack of erotic thoughts and the body’s absent reaction to any form of stimulation: the genitals don’t respond to touch or sexual excitement, the vagina stays dry. Sex is therefore seen as a duty, or even a chore, and is experienced with indifference.
Solutions: Again, psychology is often the key to unblocking the situation. The woman needs to understand why she’s insensitive to all form of physical and sexual pleasure, and the couple needs to learn to communicate properly. The aim of the treatment is for the woman suffering from frigidity to discover new (or forgotten) sensations and to learn to abandon herself to them.
Published by editorial staff Love & Sex
17 Apr 2008

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