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OB Gyn Associates of Iowa City and Coralville

Female Sexual Dysfunction FAQs

I’m having a sexual problem. How do I know if it’s normal?

About 40% or 4 in 10 women have a problem with sex at some point during their lives. If your sexual problem is causing you worry, stress, or pain, it’s important to find a solution. Contact your health care provider and schedule a time to discuss your symptoms.

What kinds of sexual problems are there?

Sexual response has many components: relationships, physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and more. Disruption in any of these areas can affect your sexual response. 

“Sexual dysfunction” is a general term for a problem with sex. Any part of the sexual process can be affected, including, but not limited to:

  • Desire problems
  • Arousal problems
  • Orgasmic problems
  • Sexual pain
  • Sexual problems caused by medication or substances
  • Anxiety about sexual performance
  • Dissatisfaction with sexual activity

Is this something I can fix at home?

It can be helpful to practice and experiment alone to discover what your body needs. There are things you can do alone or with a partner to learn more about your body and seek solutions to your sexual problem. You might try:

  • Education: Read books about sex. Learn about your body and how it works.
  • Explore oral sex and/or touching with a partner, and masturbation with and without a partner.
  • Talk with your partner about what you like. Say out loud what feels good and what doesn’t.
  • Increase intimacy through sensual activities like massage and cuddling.
  • Try to reduce sources of stress in your life. 
  • Choose a time for sexual activity when you don’t have other obligations so you aren’t distracted.

How can I talk about sex with my doctor?

We know it can be embarrassing. It’s hard to know how to bring up the conversation without feeling awkward. Our best advice? Just say it. We have seen and heard IT ALL. Here are some easy examples:

  • “I have some concerns about my sex life.”
  • “I am just not interested in having sex. Do you have any advice?”
  • “I’m not satisfied with how often I have sex. What can I do?”
  • “I just don’t enjoy sex like I used to.”
  • “Lately, I have been having trouble with physical intimacy. What can I do?”

If you can track your symptoms in a journal, or write down examples of what you have noticed, that can also be a good way to further the discussion. We are here to help.

What should I expect at a health care visit for a sexual problem?

Your gynecologist or doctor may ask you a lot of questions about your physical and mental health. They might ask about:

  • Your sexual history
  • When your symptoms started
  • Anything you have tried
  • Any experience with sexual abuse or violence
  • Your stress levels

You might also have a physical exam and a pelvic exam. Your doctor will talk with you about what to expect and help you to come up with a treatment plan.

Remember, we are here to support you, and every aspect of your health matters to us.