Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem that prevents an individual or couple from wanting or enjoying sexual activity and satisfaction. Research suggests sexual dysfunction is common, occurring in about 40% of women. Sexual dysfunction can occur at any age but is more common in women over the age of 40 because it is often related to a decline in health associated with the aging process (for example, menopause).

What are the symptoms of sexual dysfunction?

In women, symptoms of sexual dysfunction might include:

  • Inability to achieve orgasm
  • Lack of vaginal lubrication
  • Inability to relax the vaginal muscles to allow intercourse
  • Lack of interest in or desire for sex
  • Inability to become aroused
  • Pain during intercourse

What causes sexual dysfunction?

Physical and psychological conditions can cause sexual problems. Medical problems such as cardiac disease, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse can negatively impact sexual function. Additionally, side effects from some medications, including some antidepressants, can increase the chances of experiencing sexual dysfunction. Psychological causes might include work and relationship stress, anxiety concerning sexual performance, a history of depression, concerns about body image and having a past history of sexual trauma.

Some common types of sexual dysfunction include:

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