Sexual Dysfunction - How To Deal With This Very Common Problem
By Dr. Karen J. Horne,
MD, Randolph OB/GYN
Sexual dysfunction is an extremely common problem that many women deal with, but are too embarrassed or afraid to seek help. Almost 50% of women have sexual concerns, and up to 70% of couples report difficulties with their sex life at some point during the relationship. Problems can stem from lack of desire, trouble becoming aroused and maintaining arousal, inability to achieve orgasm, and pain or discomfort during intercourse. Also, as the female body matures and transitions into menopause, new issues with sex can arise that may seem overwhelming and frustrating.
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As a gynecologist, I speak to many women each day and almost half of them report concern with lack of desire and waning libido. Too often women have so many other tasks to accomplish that they are completely drained at the end of the day to consider mustering enough energy to be intimate at night. Keep in mind that medications, physical conditions, emotional stress, and unresolved conflict within a relationship also add additional layers of issues to overcome before sex is enjoyable again.
Fortunately, sex can become enjoyable by making several adjustments. Simple changes may include:
• Try changing the routine. Have sex at different times of day or different positions.
• Set aside specific time to be alone with partner without kids or distractions.
• Use specific relaxation techniques (ie. warm bath, massage) prior to intimacy.
• Get the TV out of the bedroom.
• Lock the door.
• Work on intimacy throughout the day before attempting intercourse at night.
Menopause is a separate issue, but still leads to similar problems with sexual function. During menopause, the vagina looses elasticity and can become narrow, shorter, and tighter, thus, leading to pain with intercourse. Women also contend with a poorer body image, some weight gain, possible hair loss, mood swings, dry skin, and decreasing breast size and sensation. The loss of a healthy sex drive does NOT have to be part of the aging process! If you feel that your sex drive is waning or if you have concerns regarding your sexual experiences, then please be sure to address these issues with your physician.
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She has won numerous honors, including graduating magna
cum laude from Clemson University and being named Outstanding Chief Resident
at UT Medical Center. See Dr.Horne's
bio page here.