You might also like these other newsletters: Please enter a valid email address Sign up Oops! Please enter a valid email address Oops! Please select a newsletter A lack of sexual desire isn't always a clinical problem. A sexual problem is not considered sexual dysfunction in a woman unless she is dissatisfied with her sex life.
If the spark in your relationship seems to have fizzled, you're probably wondering what happened. Why did your partner lose interest in intimacy? Did you do something, or is there a problem between you? Or could it be possible that her dampened desire has nothing to do with the state of your relationship, and that she may be experiencing female sexual dysfunction?
With a better understanding of women's feelings about sex and intimacy, you could help rekindle her desire. Men are more easily and clearly aroused with an erection by visual stimulation, while women's sexual desire and arousal are less obvious and rely more on emotional or environmental stimulation. It's important not to confuse women's more complex or less measurable sexual response with sexual dysfunction.
Paget said that many common views about the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction stem from an old U. National Health and Social Life Study , published in , in which researchers surveyed 1, women and 1, men aged 18 to 59 years old and determined that 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men had sexual dysfunction.
Paget, however, believes that the percentage for women is inflated, and that the everyday pressures of work, family, and other responsibilities might be why women answered negatively to survey questions about wanting sex.
In fact, a more recent study published in by the Kinsey Institute , involving a telephone survey of white and black women aged 20 to 65 years old, found that just 24 percent of women reported marked distress about their sexual relationship or sexuality.
The researchers also found that a woman's emotional health and quality of her sexual relationship hold greater value in her sexual satisfaction than the physical aspects of sex like arousal or orgasm. Sexual dysfunction in women can be subtle and individualized unlike in men, where it can be more obvious. Tweet No matter how prevalent sexual dysfunction is, or isn't, a sexual problem is not considered sexual dysfunction in a woman unless she is distressed about or dissatisfied with her sex life.
Sexual dysfunction, like sexual response, also differs between the sexes: In women, it can be subtle and individualized, unlike in men, where it can be a more obvious problem, like the inability to maintain an erection. What You Can Do to Help As a partner, you can help encourage your loved one to figure out what could be the source of her loss of desire: Whether it's a physical health condition -- especially if she's experiencing pain during intercourse -- that would necessitate a visit to her doctor, or an emotional health concern, where a therapist might be able to help.
Understanding Low Libido Still, talking about sex and working on your sexual relationship can be difficult, even when you've enjoyed great intimacy. These ideas can help. Pick neutral territory for a conversation. To help make it easier for your partner to open up, don't approach the topic in bed. Start by telling your partner you enjoy having sex with her and ask what you can do to help her enjoy it more.
Ask about any stress or other concerns that might be keeping her from feeling pleasure. As experts at Harvard Medical School point out, physical desire can be enough to lead to arousal, sex, and orgasm in men, but the sexual response for women is often more complex.
Her motivation for sex may be to feel close to you. If an emotional connection is lacking because of relationship concerns, mental health problems, stress, or some other reason, her desire for sex may lessen. Be an unselfish lover. Are you having sex in ways she wants or that keep her interested, asked Paget? Encourage her to tell you what feels good to her. Maybe there's something about your sex life that makes her uncomfortable or there's something she wants to try but is embarrassed to mention.
Be open to what she has to say. If your partner says sex is painful , discuss ways you can help her relax before sex. Perhaps draw a warm bath for her before meeting in the bedroom. Using lubricants and trying different positions may also help. Let her know you find her attractive. Show her that she's desirable.
Find other ways to show support. If you know that she's under a great deal of stress at work, take on some of her household responsibilities so that you can enjoy more time just being together.
Be gentle and supportive as you let her know you want to work together to find a solution and a new intimacy normal.