Sexual Arousal Disorder

Similar to impotence in men, sexual arousal disorder is characterized by an inability to become aroused and maintain sexual excitement despite adequate sexual stimulation. For most women, this problem occurs after a period of experiencing normal sexual arousal. 

Typically, when a woman becomes aroused, her body will respond physically (vaginal lubrication and genital swelling) and experience mental and emotional excitement. Sexual arousal disorder is when this arousal response doesn't occur as expected. Perhaps the desire is there, but the body or mind (and sometimes both) don't respond. 

What causes sexual arousal disorder?

Sexual arousal disorder can happen because of emotional, physical, and behavioral (alcohol and tobacco use) reasons. Emotional discord in a relationship, depression, stressful situations, and fear of intimacy can all play a role. Physical problems that can significantly interfere with sexual arousal include pain from endometriosis and infections, and hormone imbalance. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Fortunately, no matter the reason, sexual arousal disorder can be addressed. A thorough review of your medical history and a physical examination can help to determine if the cause if primarily psychological or physical. Counseling  is also effective in treating this disorder. Balance Women's Health providers recognize the importance of an individualized plan to treat sexual arousal disorder. 

Additional Resources


Bladder Infection (cystitis)

Vaginal Infection (vaginosis)

Please remember this information is intended for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice from a healthcare provider.