Female Sexual Dysfunction

The following table was taken from the American Family Physician article regarding Female Sexual Dysfunction. You can read more about the topic here.

Basic Treatment Strategies for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Provide education
Provide information and education (e.g., about normal anatomy, sexual function, normal changes of aging, pregnancy, menopause). Provide booklets, encourage reading; discuss sexual issues when a medical condition is diagnosed, a new medication is started, and during pre- and postoperative periods; give permission for sexual experimentation.
Enhance stimulation and eliminate routine
Encourage use of erotic materials (videos, books); suggest masturbation to maximize familiarity with pleasurable sensations; encourage communication during sexual activity; recommend use of vibrators*; discuss varying positions, times of day or places; suggest making a "date" for sexual activity.
Provide distraction techniques**
Encourage erotic or nonerotic fantasy; recommend pelvic muscle contraction and relaxation (similar to Kegel exercise) exercises with intercourse; recommend use of background music, videos or television.
Encourage noncoital behaviors***
Recommend sensual massage, sensate-focus exercises (sensual massage with no involvement of sexual areas, where one partner provides the massage and the receiving partner provides feedback as to what feels good; aimed to promote comfort and communication between partners); oral or noncoital stimulation, with or without orgasm.
Minimize dyspareunia
Superficial: female astride for control of penetration, topical lidocaine, warm baths before intercourse, biofeedback.
Vaginal: same as for superficial dyspareunia but with the addition of lubricants.
Deep: position changes so that force is away from pain and deep thrusts are minimized, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs before intercourse.

NOTE: For a review, see Striar S, Bartlik B. Stimulation of the libido: the use of erotica in sex therapy. Psych Annals 1999;29:60-2.
*--Provide information for obtaining one discreetly.
**--Helpful in eliminating anxiety, increasing relaxation and diminishing spectatoring.
***--Also helpful if partner has erectile dysfunction.


  1. i don't agree with using erotic videos and books. it is not uncommon for women to try to use those as a helper for their relationship and have their husband end up with an addiction problem. it happens quite often, actually.

  2. Anon, thank you for your comment. Men and women are both suseptible to addiction and it is definitely something that should be considered when treating sexual dysfunction. Erotica (not pornography), however, can be a valuable tool to "jumpstart your engine." A healthcare provider would be a good resource to discuss this with if you are experiencing sexual dysfunction. Improving sexual arousal and desire can be an important step in bonding and developing a deeper relationship with your spouse. Erotica is merely one tool that has been proven to be effective and can be used in treating sexual dysfunction, but may not be for everyone. Again, please speak to your doctor or therapist.

  3. I used several of those techniques to help with my sexual dysfunction and found it extremely helpful for me! I found masturbation with my spouse to be helpful for learning about my pleasure zones. I know some women are uneasy with that idea so here is another way to become familiar with pleasurable sensations. Sit in a bath tub and turn on the water, then be aware of where the water hits and how that feels.

  4. I've been through all this... Your comment above is spot on Gwen. Do you have a way for readers to ask questions anonymously?

  5. Thank you, Callie. Feel free to email questions to me at gwenisinlove {at} gmail dot com

    I will keep your information anonymous.


  6. Amen! These suggestions are soooo helpful.

  7. I wished the above commenter didn't ask anonymously! I probably have the same question :) The treatment strategy said to "Enhance stimulation and eliminate routine. Encourage use of erotic materials (videos, books)"

    What do you recommend for women? Everything is usually so male oriented and untasteful...

  8. absolutely agree anon 6:01... I love recent comments on blogs so I can find the interesting posts! Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? By peanut gallery I mean other commenters :)

  9. Sassygal -- You can try writing or reading erotic stories to each other and then talk about what turned you on. I have other suggestions too.



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