Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice


Sexual Problems in Women

Sexual problems are not uncommon. It may mean that sex is not pleasurable, that there is a problem getting aroused, or difficulty achieving an orgasm. Sometimes, woman experience pain with intercourse. Symptoms are only a problem if they bother you or cause a problem in your relationship.

There really is no “normal” response. It is different for everyone. Sometimes we experience a problem that resolves itself. It was temporary. Often sex drive is tied to hormones and hormones change. Sexuality is complex. If there is a problem in either the physical or emotional part of your life, you may experience sexual problems. One third of all women report a lack of interest in sex at some point in their life. Nearly half of all women report a problem getting aroused or reaching orgasm some of the time. 20% of women report that sex is not always comfortable and one third of women report a total lack of interest in sex during some point on their lives.

It is helpful to know that we are not the “only one” that has ever experienced these feelings. Just as our bodies change, our hormones change, our lives are complex, and it all affects how we sometimes feel about sex.

Understanding the Cause of Sexual Problems

Some common causes are:

  • Emotional stress, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, past sexual trauma or unhappiness with your body image.
  • Physical causes such as problem with hormones, arthritis or diabetes, pain on intercourse, dryness in the vagina, use of some medications that affect desire or response.

When a woman feels she is experiencing some sexual problems, you may want to ask yourself some questions:

  • Are you ill or taking medicine for a certain medical condition?
  • Are you very stressed or overtired?
  • Do you and your partner have time and privacy to be together?
  • Is your partner respectful and loving?
  • Do you have issues of a sexual nature that have bothered you before?

Treatment for sexual problems depends on what is causing the problem. A frank discussion with your doctor or nurse practitioner may help. There may be more than one issue. If you feel that it would be difficult to discuss this issue with your doctor, perhaps you can write out a list of symptoms and information you would like to share, and then use that list at your appointment.