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Remember those days of mind-blowing, multi-orgasmic sex? IF you are a woman of a certain age, chances are you're happy just to get in the mood once in a while and actually enjoy yourself a little. Yes ladies, statistically speaking it happens to over 40% of us: sexual dysfunction (Laumann 1999). Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is categorized into disorders of desire and arousal, orgasm, and sexual pain (American Psychiatric Association). Keep in mind that just not being in the mood or getting aroused doesn't give you the diagnosis of sexual dysfunction. In order to be considered "dysfunction," the condition should be present at least six months, cause significant distress, and not be secondary to a non-sexual mental disorder (American Psychiatric Association). The bottom line is that the majority of women technically don't have a diagnosis of FSD, but most of us can still use some help with our sexual wellness.

Unlike male sexual dysfunction, especially erectile dysfunction, there is little known about FSD. What is known are the basics: in order to have a normal sexual response, there must be certain physiological, hormonal, and psychological input along with functioning anatomy. In English, you need to be in the mood with someone you at least like, have some hormones circulating, and your lady parts need to work. As if you needed a doctor to tell you that.

Disorders of desire and arousal are the most common of the FSD conditions. While the terms desire and arousal are often used interchangeably, desire (libido) refers to wanting to have sex, and arousal refers to the body's sexual response including increased vaginal blood flow for lubrication, increased vaginal length and engorgement (swelling) of the labia and vagina. Although desire and arousal are separate and distinct states, they are interdependent: low desire causes difficulty with arousal, and without arousal the resulting lack of lubrication and vaginal blood flow make sexual activity less enjoyable and reduces desire for the next sexual opportunity. Desire is influenced by age, health, hormonal status, relationship issues, and certain medications (anti-depressants and hypertension medications and common culprits). There are currently two prescription medications for low libido, but neither is a magic bullet. Less than 50% of women respond to these medications, and one is an injection (if your libido is already low then needing to inject yourself to have sex would be the nail in the coffin for me). A supplement such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may be helpful with increasing libido as your body converts it into testosterone and estrogen. Adaptogens such as panax ginseng or herbs such as allium tuberosum and maca may also combat low libido. Arousal can be enhanced by natural substances that increase blood flow including l-arginine, maca, horny goat weed, peppermint, ginger and's no coincidence these ingredients are found in GLISSANT lubricants.

Orgasm disorders are even more complex than that of desire and arousal and often requires sex therapy and directed masturbation. Even with all my years of experience treating women with sexual dysfunction, these women are best served under the care of a sex therapist.

Sexual pain disorders including vaginismus (spasm of vagina making intercourse painful and sometimes impossible) and dyspareunia (pain with intercourse) can cause significant distress for a woman and place significant strain on a relationship. These conditions typically require multi-modal treatment including medications to relax the pelvic floor (muscle relaxants and sometimes even Botox), vaginal dilation, and pelvic floor physical therapy. Lubricants are especially useful for sexual pain disorders as they reduce friction and can prevent tearing of dry vaginal tissues. CBD and CBG (see my prior blog on CBG) can be helpful as they both have analgesic and muscle relaxing properties. Again, no coincidence CBD and CBG are combined for their entourage effects in GLISSANT oil-based lubricant.

Your overall wellness is important, and that includes your sexual wellness. It's time to make it a priority.


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