43% of American Women Are Sexually Dysfunctional? Hype or Reality?

October 7, 2011

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association asserts that 43% of American women are experiencing some sort of sexual dysfunction during a 12 months period. As a result, female sexuality has become the new mass media debate. With all that exposure many women are wondering if something is wrong with them? What’s going on?

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association asserts that 43% of American women are experiencing some sort of sexual dysfunction during a 12 months period. As a result, female sexuality has become the new mass media debate. With all that exposure many women are wondering if something is wrong with them? What’s going on?

The term “sexual dysfunction” actually describes seven specific sexual problems: 

  • Lack of sexual desire
  • difficulties getting aroused
  • inability to achieve orgasm
  • anxiety about sexual performance
  • climaxing too quickly
  • not finding sex pleasurable
  • experiencing pain during sexuality. 

However, most medical professionals agree that these conditions can only be diagnosed as sexual dysfunction if the problem is ongoing for at least two months in a given year and causes the individual true distress. 

Many situations cause temporary changes in sexual behavior. Being exhausted during a particularly stressful life period and consequently less desirous of sexuality does not equate with sexual dysfunction. Many women who balance a job, family, social obligations, charity work or take care of a newborn may simply feel too exhausted at times to engage in sex. Women coping with menopause are in general less sexually active than females in their twenties and thirties. Further, women’s desire and sexuality is often directly connected to the quality of the relationship in general. Women’s sexuality tends to bloom in an atmosphere of trust and intimacy. If partners are having trouble, women are more likely to have problems with being sexually open and vulnerable. Partnership stress dampens a woman’s desire and makes arousal and orgasm difficult to achieve. However, this does not make her necessarily dysfunctional. When relationship problems are unresolved, they may lead to extended periods of sexual withdrawal or even abstinence. 

The exploration of female sexuality was literally ignited by a little blue pill called Viagra, the revolutionary treatment for male sexual dysfunction. Its success for millions of men, not to mention its commercial success, started many investigating female sexual function. In turn sexual treatment centers opened everywhere and a myriad of sex enhancing products hit the market. Few delivered what they promised, to cure sexual dysfunction. Many of these remedies, such as male hormones to stimulate sexual desire in women, may prove to be potentially dangerous to women. The positive outcome is that once the issue was exposed it encouraged women to ask for help if they needed it.

Sexuality is a complex and deeply personal experience. Each of us has different sexual expectations. I am concerned about the negative influence these stories have on women. I fear they may pressure many women to feel sexually inadequate so they rush out to buy a new magic potion to become sexually perfect? Panacea doesn’t come in bottles. The key to sexual happiness lies within ourselves. Each of us knows if there is a sexual problem in our life. We have a pretty good sense if the problem is connected to our head, heart, relationship or may be a physical dysfunction? Listen to your inner voice to look for answers in all things including sexuality. If we can resolve the underlying issue, the national female dysfunction rate will shrink fast while your own sexual happiness may rise to unknown heights.

Jacqui

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