Female Sexual Difficulties

fsd facts

What’s your type—of FSD?

FSD is defined as persistent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm, or pain that causes you
distress or strains your relationship with your partner. While every woman deserves a fulfilling sex life,
more than 40% of women will have sexual difficulties at some point in their lives.

There are four main types of FSD:

You love sex. You want to have it, but if your body isn’t responding to sexual stimulation (e.g., your body may not create vaginal lubrication), it could be a problem with sexual arousal. Trouble with arousal can happen for many reasons, including:

  • Relationship problems
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications

Fortunately, there are some steps to take that may help your ability to become sexually aroused:

  • Be well-rested
  • Spend more time on foreplay
  • Try a vaginal lubricant
  • Do Kegel exercises (repeated contraction and
    relaxation of the pelvic muscles)

Therapy may also be an answer. Couples therapy can aid with relationship issues. A sex therapist can help with finding and fixing sexual hang-ups or related problems. And one-on-one therapy can work to build sexual confidence and explain how past or recent sexual experiences may be affecting you currently.

In the movies and on TV, it seems every day comes complete with great hair and orgasms. The reality is that only 1 out of 4 women actually reaches orgasm through vaginal penetration only. Reasons for trouble with achieving orgasm may be:

  • Fatigue and stress
  • Certain prescription drugs, including
  • Chronic illnesses that affect health and
    interest in sex
  • Hormone changes due to childbirth or menopause
  • Boredom in sexual activity
  • Lack of clitoral stimulation

Luckily there are things you can do to help make sex more satisfying:

  • Tell your partner what you like and what
    feels good
  • Experiment with what turns you on and what
    kind of clitoral stimulation feels best
  • Try sex toys or vibrators
  • Use mental imagery and fantasy

Sex therapy can also be helpful by teaching you how to have an orgasm through masturbation so that you know what you like and can share that information with your partner.

When sex is done right it feels good—for you and your partner. Yet, almost 75% of women will experience dyspareunia—or pain during sex—at some time during their lives. Sometimes the pain will only be temporary; other times it can be a long-term issue.


The cause of the pain depends on where it occurs. There are two main types of pain:

Entry Pain:

  • A lack of vaginal lubrication or arousal
  • A previous injury such as an episiotomy (cut
    made during childbirth to enlarge birth canal)
  • A urinary tract infection or skin problem in the
    genital area

Deep Pain:

  • Conditions such as endometriosis, uterine
    fibroids, hemorrhoids, and ovarian cysts
  • A hysterectomy
  • Cancer treatments

Emotional issues can play a role in painful sex, too. These can include anxiety, depression, stress, and relationship problems. Depending on the cause, there are a number of ways to help make sex more pleasurable. These include:

  • Switch positions
  • Don’t rush foreplay
  • Use vaginal lubricants
  • Say what feels good and what doesn’t
  • Get antibiotics for infections or estrogen
    cream for hormonal changes

If you’re avoiding sex because of pain, talking with a sex therapist may also help to restore communication and sexual intimacy.

Sometimes you want it, sometimes you don’t. That’s normal. Your sexual desire is unique to you, because every woman is unique. But if you have a low libido or desire and you’re bothered by your lack of interest in sex, it could be Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, or HSDD for short—a classified medical condition.


Numbers you can take comfort in

Survey results show that what you're going through-and feeling- is common.

An online Harris Poll survey of 2,501 U.S. women, ages 21-49 who are not experiencing menopause symptoms found that:

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