You spend a beautiful evening with your partner and you both head home to enjoy a night out together. Back in the bedroom, you get ready to make love. Slowly you start getting intimate and things start heating up! Suddenly, as he tries to enter you, you feel excruciating pain as if your vagina is trying to break free from the intercourse. You wince and wonder, WTF happened? The mood slowly starts dousing, your partner is kind of mumbling ‘err and ok’ and you can’t help but feel embarrassed about it. This would be a classic symptom of female sexual dysfunction, one of the most rampant issues of women’s sexual health.

So, what is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Many women do experience pain during intercourse, along with other problems such as sexual response, desire, orgasm at some point in her life. Such difficulties can occur in some or all sexual situations in any woman which can strain relationships. Collectively, these issues are called Female Sexual Dysfunction or FSD. FSD is a ‘waaaaide’ topic and we at SAY thought it needs to be addressed to help men and women be aware and still stay sex-positive.

To begin with, we chatted with Dr Sharmila Majumdar, an awardee of ‘India’s Most Promising Woman Healthcare Sexologist and Psychoanalyst 2017’. Dr Sharmila wants people to be well informed about their sexual health, right from the issues to the treatment plans. She sheds light on Female Sexual Dysfunction with her valuable insights.

What are the types of Female Sexual Dysfunction?

There are four areas where FSD affects. There’s Sexual Desire Disorder, Sexual Orgasm Disorder, Arousal Disorder and Pain Disorder.

Would it have any effect on a female’s physical body in any way?

Life is divided into emotional, mental, physical and sexual health. When a woman’s sexual health is not doing well, it will have an effect on her emotional and mental health just like one gets cranky when they are hungry because that time the body is wanting food and nutrition. However, sexual health will not have any effect on the physical body, it will only stress a woman mentally and emotionally.

So, what causes this dysfunction?

There are three aspects that can cause FSD and they are:

Hormonal – Lower estrogen levels after menopause are said to lead changes in one’s genital tissues and sexual responsiveness. When the estrogen level reduces, the blood flow to the pelvic region reduces too and so does the genital sensation. When a woman isn’t sexually active, the vaginal lining becomes less elastic which can lead to painful intercourse.

Physical – Medical conditions such as cancer, blood pressure, heart diseases along with certain medications such as anti-depressants, chemo drugs, anti-histamines can lead to FSD and decrease your sexual desire and your body’s ability to orgasm.

Psychological and Social – Long term stress, underrated depression, conflict with a partner, sexual abuse, worries about pregnancy can reduce sexual response too. Cultural and religious issues and body image problems can also cause sexual dysfunction.

We all [may] have had our agony aunties give us free advice like ‘get married and everything will be fine’, ‘have a baby and it will all get sorted.’ But instead of waiting for some divine intervention, it’s upto us to remedy these issues. Go up to a sexologist and come out in the open to discuss pains, problems or about the things that don’t seem right.

“50-60% women suffer from this dysfunction. Times are changing and there are couples coming forward with their issues because they want to resolve them. But it is important that couples discuss these things amongst themselves, resolve any sort of conflicts without feeling intimidated or shy or embarrassed” – Dr Sharmila

So, if you have had any issues with arousal, sexual responses or even pain during intercourse, we suggest you try and relax a bit. Try and understand what your body wants and what it is comfortable with. Also don’t hesitate to consult a doctor or a sexologist. Stay tuned with us and we will be back soon with part 2 that covers treatments for female sexual dysfunctions.

This Article Was First Published In SheAndYou 

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