What Ails Women: Most Common Female Sexual Issues

Margie Nichols, Ph.D.By Margie Nichols, Ph.D.

What ails women?  The short answer is – that elusive thing called desire.  The most common reason that women seek therapy for sexual problems is ‘lack of desire,’ which sometimes means – “the thought of sex with ANYONE leaves me cold” and other times means “the thought of having sex with him/her leaves me cold,”

And desire problems can’t be fixed with a pill, not yet, anyway, maybe not ever.  Research shows that women have really different sexual patterns from men – oh, and by the way sexual orientation really doesn’t have much to do with this.  For the average woman, sex can be a high maintenance endeavor, with desire not as automatic as for men.  The conditions have to be right, she can’t be too tired or distracted by responsibilities, and she’s got to already feel close to him.  Not only that, but women seem to need more diversity, mystery, drama, whatever you want to call it — they usually can’t do the same ole’ same ole’ every time and still get terribly aroused.  Moreover, that fantasically lusty feeling both partners feel at the beginning of a relationship – it can drop off pretty dramatically for women.

In fact, the sex therapist Rosemary Basson has proposed that women’s sexual desire literally becomes different in a long term relationship.  She says it becomes ‘receptive’ – open to sex perhaps but not consciously horny.  Why do you think 50 Shades of Gray is so popular?  What woman doesn’t want to be seduced, to be the center of sexual attention?  It’s what a lot of women require.  For many women, sexual desire comes from a conscious decision to have sex, not a physical urge.  They know they’ll like it once they get into it.

If you’ve lost ALL sexual desire,  when you used to have it, your first stop is your doctor.  There are lots of medical reasons to lose desire, some are related to aging but some are symptoms of disease.  But if you’ve a feeling it’s more about losing desire for your partner, you need to determine whether you need relationship counseling or sex therapy.  Try to be honest with yourself- if thinking about having sex with your partner makes you feel angry, resentful, or mistrustful and shut down – you need to address that first.  But if thinking about sex with your partner just makes you feel – bored – or like ‘it’s work’ –  then you could probably benefit from sex therapy.

NEXT BLOG: Female Sexual Pain Disorder, THE most misdiagnosed sexual problem in women.

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