Sexual dysfunction is a common occurrence in women and has a broad range of causes and symptoms. Because there are so many types of sexual dysfunction and so many different causes, it’s important to work with a physician who specializes in female sexual dysfunction for evaluation and treatment.

Though most cases fall into one of several categories, each situation is unique and requires unique treatment.

Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction in Women

There are several major symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women:

  • Low sexual desire or interest in sex
  • Low sexual satisfaction
  • Low sexual arousal
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Sexual pain

You can experience one, any, or all of these symptoms. For example, you may have sexual desire, but if sexual satisfaction isn’t present, you may avoid sex or become frustrated during or after sex.

Similarly, if you still desire sex, but you have pain during intercourse, you may find yourself avoiding sex entirely. If you’re not having any problems in your life related to your sexual dysfunction, it’s okay to leave it untreated. Some treatments, like hormone replacement therapy, come with risks, as do some medications that are available for sexual dysfunction.

Causes of Sexual Dysfunction in Women

The causes of sexual dysfunction in women fall into a variety of categories. According to the Mayo Clinic, these categories are:

  • Physical
  • Hormonal
  • Psychological and social


There are a number of physical factors that can play a role in sexual dysfunction.

For example, heart disease or disease of blood vessels can cause sexual dysfunction because the blood flow to the genitals can be inhibited.

There are many medical conditions that can cause sexual dysfunction, including:

  • Heart/blood vessel disease
  • Bladder problems
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Menopause
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Some medications

Any of these conditions can lead to a lack of desire or arousal, an inability to have an orgasm, a lack of arousal during sexual activity, or pain during sex.


Changes in your hormone levels can have a profound impact on your sexuality. When estrogen levels or testosterone levels decrease, sexual dysfunction may result. This can be the result of menopause, pregnancy, or simply aging.

There are a number of reasons for this. Both estrogen and testosterone play a role in sexual desire. When these levels change as a result of age or menopause, not only may sexual desire/arousal decrease and sexual routines change, but, because the lining of the vagina becomes thinner, you may experience painful intercourse. Genital sensation may also decrease, leading to an inability to have an orgasm.

Psychological and Social

This is where sexual dysfunction becomes more complex. Many mental illnesses can play a role in your sexual response.

For example, untreated depression or anxiety can significantly decrease sexual desire. If you’re stressed, you may not have any desire to have sex. If you have a history of rape or sexual abuse, you may find that you’re totally unable to bring yourself to have sex in the first place, or you may have to stop sex while it’s happening, or may be unable to orgasm.

Further, you might have relationship issues with your partner that are keeping you from wanting to have sex with them, or you might feel a social pressure to avoid sex that you want to have because of your upbringing or religion.

Even body image issues can have an effect on your interest in sex or your ability to have sex or to have an orgasm. You may feel ashamed of having an orgasm, for example, or feel that it is inappropriate because of your culture’s views on female orgasm.

Ultimately, working with a medical care provider who can help you to find the root causes of your sexual dysfunction and find a treatment that works for you is the best place to start.

Learn More About Clinical Studies in Boston for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Have you been diagnosed with female sexual dysfunction? You may qualify for a clinical study on sexual dysfunction.

Learn more here