Sexual arousal is an essential component of sexual function in women. When a woman experiences sexual arousal, her body undergoes physiological changes such as increased blood flow to the genital area, vaginal lubrication, and swelling of the clitoris. However, some women may experience difficulties with sexual arousal, leading to sexual dysfunction. Female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) is a type of sexual dysfunction characterized by the persistent or recurrent inability to attain or maintain sexual arousal during sexual activity. In this article, professionals at New Age Women’s Health will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for FSAD.

What Is Female Sexual Arousal Disorder?

Female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) is a type of female sexual dysfunction that affects a woman’s ability to experience sexual arousal. Women with FSAD may have difficulty becoming aroused or maintaining arousal during sexual activity. FSAD is also called female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD). In order to officially have the diagnosis, symptoms must be bothersome and present for at least 6 months. 

What Are the Symptoms of Female Sexual Arousal Disorder?

Beautiful Woman Showing Her Denial on Sex

The symptoms of FSAD may vary from woman to woman. Some common symptoms of FSAD include:

  • Difficulty becoming sexually aroused
  • Inability to maintain sexual arousal during sexual activity
  • Lack of vaginal lubrication
  • Decreased clitoral sensitivity
  • Decreased genital sensation
  • Reduced blood flow to the genital area
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Painful intercourse

What Causes Female Sexual Arousal Disorder?

The causes of FSAD are complex and multifactorial. Some potential causes of FSAD include:

Hormonal causes: Hormonal imbalances can contribute to sexual dysfunction in women. Fluctuations in estrogen and testosterone levels can affect sexual desire and arousal. Low levels of estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness, making sexual activity painful or uncomfortable.

Psychological causes: Psychological factors can also play a role in FSAD. Stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can all contribute to female sexual dysfunction. Negative experiences with sex or sexual trauma can also affect a woman’s ability to become aroused.

Anatomical causes: Anatomical abnormalities or injuries can also lead to FSAD. Damage to the nerves, blood vessels, or pelvic organs can affect sexual function. Women who have undergone pelvic surgery or radiation therapy may also experience sexual dysfunction.

Other potential causes: Other potential causes of FSAD include medication side effects, chronic illnesses, and lifestyle factors such as smoking or alcohol use.

Who Can Get FSAD?

FSAD can affect women of any age, although it is more common in postmenopausal women. Women who have had pelvic surgery, radiation therapy, or have a history of sexual trauma may also be at increased risk for FSAD.

How Is This Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosing FSAD requires a thorough medical and sexual history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Your healthcare provider may also perform a pelvic exam or refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Treatment Options for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder

There are several treatment options available for FSAD. Treatment may vary depending on the underlying cause of the disorder. Some common treatment options include:

Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy can benefit women with FSAD who have low estrogen levels. Hormone therapy can help increase vaginal lubrication and improve sexual desire.

Psychological therapy: Psychological therapy can help women with FSAD with underlying psychological issues such as anxiety or depression. Counseling can also help women who have experienced sexual trauma.

Medication: Medications such as flibanserin, bupropion, or buspirone can help improve sexual function in women with FSAD. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the genital area, which can enhance sexual arousal and sensitivity.

Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and improving overall health can also improve sexual function in women.

Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers: Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can be used to alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual activity. These products can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises: These exercises, also known as Kegels, can help improve sexual function by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. They involve contracting and relaxing the muscles that support the pelvic organs.

Surgery: Surgery may be an option for women with FSAD with anatomical abnormalities or injuries causing sexual dysfunction. Surgery may involve repairing or reconstructing damaged tissues or nerves in the pelvic area.

Can Sexual Stimulation Prove Beneficial?

Sexual stimulation can benefit women with female sexual dysfunction. Sexual stimulation can help increase blood flow to the genital area, leading to vaginal lubrication and swelling of the clitoris. This can improve sexual arousal and sensitivity, making it easier for women with FSAD to become sexually aroused and maintain arousal during sexual activity. 

For women with FSAD who have experienced sexual trauma or negative sexual experiences, sexual stimulation can help them to re-establish a positive relationship with their body and sexuality. Sexual stimulation can also help women with FSAD feel more relaxed and comfortable during sexual activity, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress that can contribute to sexual dysfunction. 

Additionally, sexual stimulation can provide a sense of intimacy and connection with a partner, improving relationship satisfaction and overall well-being. 

It is important for women with FSAD to communicate their needs and preferences with their partners and explore different types of sexual stimulation to find what works best for them. With the right approach, sexual stimulation can be a powerful tool for improving sexual function and quality of life for women with FSAD.

When Is It Time To See a Doctor for Lack of Sexual Desire?

Couple Have Problems in Bed, Sexual Desire Loss

If you are experiencing a lack of sexual desire, it is essential to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options. While occasional fluctuations in sexual desire are normal, persistent or recurrent lack of sexual desire can be a sign of an underlying medical or psychological condition. Some potential causes of decreased sexual desire in women include hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, stress, depression, relationship issues, and sexual trauma. 

If you are experiencing a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual desire, it may be a good idea to seek medical attention to rule out any underlying health conditions and discuss potential treatment options. A healthcare provider can also provide guidance on lifestyle changes and self-care practices that may help improve sexual desire and function.

The Bottom Line

Female sexual arousal disorder is a common type of sexual dysfunction that can affect women of all ages. The disorder is characterized by the persistent or recurrent inability to attain or maintain sexual arousal during sexual activity. FSAD can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life and relationships. However, several treatment options are available, including hormone therapy, psychological therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and surgery. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of FSAD, you should speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options. With the proper treatment, many women with FSAD can improve their sexual function and enjoy a fulfilling sex life. Feel free to reach out to our team of experts at New Age Women’s Health if you are dealing with any of the mentioned issues or wish to better your gynecological health in general.