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Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction or sexual disorders refer to problems that arise from difficulties related to engaging in or enjoying sex. These difficulties are only a concern when they are negatively affecting you.

Sexuality can play a crucial role in overall well-being and life satisfaction, so when you or your partner have sexual difficulties that rise to the level of sexual dysfunction, it can be physically and emotionally challenging. Sexual disorders are very common, but they are often manageable through various treatment options.

Planned Parenthood providers are very familiar with talking through sexual dysfunction issues and can provide you with the information you need to decide what treatment is right for you.

Make An Appointment

If you'd like to talk with a sexual health expert about your treatment options, you can schedule an appointment online at any of our health centers. We even have a virtual health center to talk about your options from the comfort of home.

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Possible Treatment Options

If sexual dysfunction is causing problems for you, make an appointment with your nurse or doctor, like the ones at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center, to discuss your concerns and treatment options. Your treatment will depend on the cause of the problem and your nurse or doctor can help you figure out which treatment is best for you. 

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Symptoms

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder — also called HSDD — is when you’re not interested in sex (have no sex drive or a low sex drive), and it bothers you. Some symptoms include:

  • Low libido
  • Little to no thoughts or fantasies about sex
  • Unresponsive to your partner's sexual signals or suggestions
  • Loss of desire for sex
  • Avoidance of sex
Causes

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder may be caused by: 

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Relationship problems

  • Issues with your body image

  • Stress

  • Tiredness

  • Sexual abuse or trauma in your past

  • Low sex hormone levels

  • Medical problems like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, or bladder problems

  • Medicines like antidepressants; blood pressure medicines; chemotherapy; and estrogen-based, gender-affirming hormone therapy

  • Menopause

  • Recently being pregnant, giving birth, or breastfeeding

Lifestyle Treatments

The right treatment will depend on the cause of your lack of desire/low libido, but some lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • Kegel exercises - these can increase blood flow and feeling to your genitals

  • Talking with your partner about your likes and dislikes sexually 

  • Exploring porn (movies, magazines, websites, or other entertainment) that brings you sexual pleasure

  • Masturbating, possibly with vibrators or other sex toys if that feels good

  • Using genital lubricants or moisturizers (if you’re using condoms, choose a water-based lubricant)

  • Reducing stress to improve your mood through things like getting more sleep, meditation, and breathing exercises

  • Limiting alcohol and stopping smoking and using drugs

  • Exercising regularly to improve your mood and give you more energy

  • Talking with a counselor who specializes in sex and relationship problems

  • EROS Therapy Device:  A hand-held device for vulvas with a small plastic cup. It improves blood flow to your genitals, to help you have orgasms and increase vaginal wetness.

Medications

Your treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. And your nurse or doctor can help you figure out which treatment is best for you. Some options include:

  • Flibanserin (AKA Addyi) — A pill you take once a day to increase sexual desire (if you’re premenopausal).

  • Bremelanotide - An FDA-approved treatment for premenopausal women with generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This medicine is taken as-needed.

  • Estrogen — For postmenopausal women, estrogen replacement can help. A ring, cream, or tablet that you put in your vagina to deliver estrogen can make the muscles in your vagina become stronger and stretchier, which will increase blood flow and wetness.

  • Testosterone therapy can also be helpful for post-menopausal women

Orgasm Disorder

Symptoms

Orgasm disorder happens when you are experiencing at least one of the following symptoms and it causes you distress:

  • you don’t have orgasms
  • it takes a long time for you to orgasm
  • you have orgasms less often than you’d like
  • your orgasms aren’t as strong as you would like
Causes

Having an orgasm involves lots of things — your hormones, physical health, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and relationships. Problems with any of these can affect your ability to have an orgasm.

Causes of orgasm disorder can include:

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Stress

  • Tiredness

  • Problems with blood flow or the nerves in your sex organs

  • Problems with your partner

  • Issues with your body image

  • Low sex hormone levels

  • Medicines like antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and chemotherapy

  • Medical problems like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, or bladder problems

  • Menopause

  • Recently being pregnant, giving birth, or breastfeeding

  • Sexual abuse or trauma in your past

Lifestyle Treatments

The right treatment will depend on the cause of the problem, but some lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • Kegel exercises

  • Talking with your partner about your likes and dislikes 

  • You and your partner can sensually touch different parts of your bodies and see what turns you on.

  • Exploring magazines, websites, and other entertainment that may turn you on

  • Masturbating 

  • Using sex toys

  • Using genital lubricants or moisturizers (if you’re using condoms, choose a water-based lubricant)

  • Reducing stress to improve your mood through things like meditation and breathing exercises

  • Limiting alcohol, and avoiding smoking and drugs

  • Exercising regularly to improve your mood and give you more energy

  • Physical therapy for your pelvic floor (the muscles around and near your genitals)

  • Talking with a counselor who specializes in sex and relationship problems

  • EROS Therapy Device:  A hand-held device for vulvas with a small plastic cup. It improves blood flow to your genitals, to help you have orgasms and increase vaginal wetness.

Medications

Currently, the only medical treatment for orgasm disorder in women is estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women. This can include a ring, cream, or tablet that you put in your vagina to make the muscles in your vagina stronger and stretchier, increasing blood flow and wetness.