Female Sexual Health
Female sexual function is most commonly approached through the lens of dysfunction:
1- hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is the most common sexual function disorder, affecting approximately 38% of women, Desire is most commonly thought of as spontaneous, but as this naturally declines with age, particularly in a secure relationship, it is equally important to consider the cognitive (expectations, beliefs and values) and motivational elements of desire. Motivations may include increased emotional intimacy and connection, increased sense of well being and wholeness, improved self image and reduced feeling of anxiety and guilt about sexual infrequency.
2- female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) impacts satisfaction with the cognitive sense of arousal and genital lubrication/engorgement. Both physical conditions such as hormonal changes, diabetes and infections can affect arousal, as well as psychological factors like anxiety and mood disorders. Self-awareness of relaxation, pleasure and excitement phase techniques, as well relationship dynamics and interpersonal skills are also important treatment targets.
3- Female Orgasm Disorder (FOD). The good news is, orgasms can be learned and taught!
4- Sexual pain disorders. Sexual pain is most commonly hormonally mediated, and the most common culprit is the oral contraceptive pill. The second most common cause is a tight pelvic floor. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can work wonders. A number of medications inserted vaginally can also be extremely helpful, along with treatment for anxiety. Skin diseases, nueroproliferative and inflammatory disorders are there potential culprits of sexual pain.
Overall, emotional health is the strongest predictor of sexual health in women. The better a woman feels about herself, and the more responsibility she takes for her own sexual function, the healthier her sexuality is likely to be. This includes:
- understanding and appreciating sensuality
- listening to the body and validating sexual needs and arousal
- learning to communicate assertively
- accepting and appreciating the genitalia
- taking responsibility for one’s orgasm through self pleasure
Satisfactory sexual function among women is also very strongly predicted by emotional intimacy between couples. Learning or restoring conscious communication and emotional intimacy, along with restoring physical intimacy, is often necessary before restoring sexual intimacy in couples. Emotional intimacy is what allows the trust and connection necessary for sexual intimacy to flourish. Research has show optimal sexuality is characterized by vulnerability, play, novelty, adventure, exploration and transcendence.
6 pro-libido lifestyle tips:
1- Stress management. Among the many reasons why stress does not put you in the mood is the fact that high cortisol leads to testosterone resistance.
2- Sleep. Get enough. Note: Timing sex to not interfere with sleep is important for most women. And thankfully it makes getting to sleep easier.
3- Diet. Eat regularly throughout the day, especially breakfast. Lots of leafy greens, proteins and healthy fats with every meal helps with blood sugar and hormonal balance.
4- Sensuality. What is your most powerful sense? Increasing your awareness of pleasure through your body’s 5 senses for even 20-30 seconds at a time can make a big difference in rewiring your brain more favourably towards pleasurable experiences.
5- Exercise. Yet another reason to. Make it fun - dance, yoga, trampolines, pole dancing, trapeze - another opportunity to experience your body in pleasurable and empowered way.
6- Self identity. Celebrate your best part. Try something new. Be someone who consciously makes time to take care of yourself and your relationship.