Female Sexual Dysfunction
The female sexual dysfunction response cycle consists of:
- Desire (libido)
- Arousal (excitement, lubrication)
However, we all know that this framework is not consistent in women and these phases can vary in order, be absent, overlap and/or repeat.
For example, many women describe responsive desire, where they may not be desiring sex (spontaneous desire), but if approached and stimulated, arousal leads to an increase in desire.
The sexual response cycle roughly translates into the categories of female sexual dysfunction:
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) guidelines from 2013 aggregated the phases into two general categories:
- Female sexual interest/arousal disorder
- Female orgasmic disorder
- Genitopelvic pain/penetration disorder
- Substance/medication-induced sexual dysfunction
Female Sexual Dysfunction Phases Interconnected
Here’s the important part- The phases are often inherently interconnected. For example, if a women experiences sexual pain, she is likely to have decreased arousal, which leads to decreased desire and possibly decreased orgasm. Alternatively, if a woman has decreased arousal (such as a hormonal reason for decreased lubrication), this may lead to sexual pain, which further decreases arousal and desire to have sex.