MULTIFACTORIAL ASPECT OF FEMALE SEXUAL DISORDERS
As you’ve probably noticed, we live in a performance and hypersexualization society. In this age where it has never been so easy to communicate in multiple ways, talking about sex is very fashionable and seems natural. Strangely, it is quite different when it comes to talking about sexual disorders, especially in women.
Contrary to what we would like to believe in the current social trends in sexuality, that of women goes far beyond physical stimulation. Much more complex than that of the man, the sexuality of the woman rests on several intimately related aspects like the communication, the fantasy, the tenderness, the emotional intimacy, the self-esteem and the commitment. Despite decades of fighting for the cause of feminism, which aimed at the emancipation of women in general, it would seem that not all women are able to flourish in the sexual sphere.
The sexual problems encountered in women can be of two natures: biological and psychological. Despite this distinction, it is very common to see them associated. In other words, it is not always easy to pin down the exact origin of a sexual disorder. Nevertheless, trying to understand what underlies this problem will help to find solutions.
BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF FEMALE SEXUALITY
The body of women has always been a source of wonder and praise. Gifted for love, tenderness, motherhood, it contains a thousand and one mysteries and secrets. Even today, science has not yet fully understood how it works, especially in the more intimate sphere. But we already know a lot about the biological aspects of female sexuality.
Hormones have a role to play in the proper sexual functioning of women. The two most important are estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen plays a key role in regulating the sexual function of women. Despite their involvement in the initiation of desire, estrogen would be associated more particularly with sexual arousal. They also contribute to the health of the genitals.
Testosterone is considered to be the hormone of desire and sexual motivation in women. Since this hormone is made in a much smaller quantity in the body of the woman than in that of the man, it is not surprising that the sexual appetite is different in both.
Sometimes a sexual disorder can be explained by a hormonal imbalance, whether medical or simply due to normal stages of a woman’s life, such as pregnancy or menopause.
In summary, the sexuality of women consists of four main stages:
- the desire phase;
- the phase of sexual arousal;
- the phase of orgasm;
- the resolution phase (return of the body to its normal state).
Female sexual dysfunction is subdivided into four main types: desire disorders, sexual arousal disorders, orgasm disorders and pain disorders.
Many diseases can cause or exacerbate a sexual disorder, including:
- heart or vascular disease;
- mental illnesses (such as depression or anxiety)
- high blood pressure;
- gynecological disorders.
In addition, lifestyle factors may contribute, such as smoking, alcoholism and illicit drug abuse.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF FEMALE SEXUALITY
It is well known that women’s sexuality happens as much in the head and in the heart as in the body! It is therefore not uncommon for female sexual dysfunction to be partially or completely explained by psychological or emotional factors. There are many examples, but here are a few:
- low self-esteem
- conflicts with the partner;
- religious, educational or social restrictions;
- a feeling of guilt;
- sexual traumas experienced in the past (rape, incest, etc.);
- sexual preferences or desires different from those of the partner;
- a lack of communication.
If it turns out that your difficulties are emotional or psychological, the support of a psychologist, sexologist or other specialist therapist could be very beneficial.
SEXUALITY AND DRUGS
Taking certain medications can cause or exacerbate a sexual disorder in women. Among them are:
- anti-anxiety medications
- narcotics such as morphine or codeine;
- antihypertensives (used against “high pressure”);
- cancer treatments.
If you experience sexual difficulties, ask your pharmacist if the medications you are taking may be the cause.
DO NOT SIT IDLY BY
If you are living with a sexual disorder, here are some additional tips:
- Remember that you are not alone. This type of problem affects nearly one in two women of all ages. Therefore, do not judge yourself.
- Trust a woman you trust, like a good friend. It is in the nature of the woman to master the art of listening and confidence. Trusting you will do you the greatest good and, who knows, maybe you will find an ally who can help you find solutions.
- Learn to express your preferences and desires; name what you like or do not like. Sexual reconciliation should never be a chore to perform, but an opportunity to exchange, to get closer, and to have fun while enjoying the other. Communication and respect (of oneself and the other) are key elements of a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
- See your difficulty as a health problem that deserves attention and a search for solutions. In many cases, the cause can be identified and remedied.
Whatever the nature or cause of a sexual difficulty, it is important to break the silence and to seek help, whether one is a man or a woman. It can be embarrassing to approach this topic with a health professional, and sometimes difficult to find an opportunity to do so. Through listening, availability, discretion and professionalism, your pharmacist can answer your questions and concerns about sexuality. And who knows, maybe it will offer you solutions that you never thought of!