More women than men suffer from sexual dysfunction. It is a topic we don’t often talk about, but we should not be embarrassed. Now, why is this topic so taboo? To answer the question, you really need to look at our culture. American culture is made up of society, religions and cultures, and there are so many different perspectives on sexuality. And so what has happened historically is that people have adopted this “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy when it comes to female sexual topics, female sexual dysfunction. Well, if you looked back ten years ago, women who had a sexual problem really associated that with being a psychological problem, and so they were afraid to talk about it because they might think there’s a stigma associated with it. So people actually kept it to themselves.
So we really credit Viagra with changing the way people approach human sexuality and human sexual dysfunction for both men and women. It actually opened up the topic to a public forum. So now it’s actually shifted away from sexuality being a taboo subject. We are much more open about it now.
So let’s talk about some of the symptoms for women when it comes to sexual dysfunction. What are they? When we talk about sexual dysfunction, it is very important just to make sure women know that just a complaint on its own is not sexual dysfunction. A persistent complaint that is there the majority of the time associated with personal distress that is when it becomes sexual dysfunction. So women can come into my office and say, “you know, the doctor I have lost my sex drive, and I just don’t care”. That is not a sexual dysfunction.
So there are four classifications. There are sexual desire disorders; there are sexual arousal disorders, which can be arousal in the brain or arousal on the genital region; there are orgasmic disorders, and there are pain disorders. So those are the four.
Vaginal dryness can cause pain. One of a very common disorder that not a lot of women know about, they don’t know that this is abnormal, but it is so common, is something called vaginismus. And that is when women experience an involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, and they actually prevent them from having intercourse. They can’t have intercourse. So it’s very troublesome to the woman, and she learns to live with it and finds ways to work around it. But we want women to know that there is help out there, and they should seek it out with their doctor.