Common s*xual Disorders and Causes of Decreased Libido
To explore the topic of female s*xual dysfunction, I spoke with Robert Taylor Segraves, M.D, Ph.D., and his wife Kathleen Blindt Segraves, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert Taylor Segraves is a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. His research includes how drugs influence s*xual behavior.
Dr. Kathleen Blindt Segraves is an associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University and director of behavioral medicine service in the department of psychiatry at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
She specializes in diagnosing and treatment s*xual disorders in women.
Q. What are the most commonly seen s*xual problems in women?
A. A recent survey (conducted . Laumann and colleagues at the University of Chicago) of American women (ages 18-59) found that the most common s*xual problem in women is hypoactive s*xual desire disorder (HSDD), more commonly referred to as low s*x drive or libido (33.4%), followed . difficulty with climax (24.1%). Pain during intercourse–which occurs in 14.4% of women–was the only condition to show a relationship to age — it decreases as women get older.
HSDD is a deficiency or absence of s*xual fantasies and desire for s*xual activity, as defined . the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The definition is vague because the APA acknowledges that there can be significant differences in s*xual interest levels among women. According to the survey mentioned above, 37% of women think about s*x a few times a month and only 33% think about s*x 2-3 times a week or more.
Happier women seem to think about s*x more often than unhappy women.
The difficulty with climax, or female orgasmic disorder, is a persistent delay or absence of climax. This definition is also from the APA and it again attempts to allow for individual variation . not giving a specific number or percentage to define a “normal” amount of orgasms.
The survey states that 29% of women say they always have orgasms during s*x and 40% say they are physically satisfied with their partners.
There are wide variations in s*xual functioning, and there is no gold-standard that women should feel they must meet for their s*xual functioning to be considered ‘normal.’ If a woman experiences a s*xual problem that troubles her, then it is a problem that needs to be addressed and she should be encouraged to talk to her doctor about it to see how it can be improved.
Q. What causes decreased s*xual desire in women?
A.Low s*x drive can be caused . a range of factors, which vary from one individual to the next. Fatigue, the daily responsibilities and multiple roles women often assume, and many possible psychological causes can impact a woman’s s*xual appetite. It is also known that certain health conditions and medications can affect a woman’s s*xual desire. Depression and anxiety disorders can interfere with s*xual desire, but so can some of the drugs used to treat these conditions. Many antidepressants, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in particular, also called SSRIs (e.g., Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft), have side effects that have a negative impact on women’s libidos.
Wellbutrin SR is a possible alternative, as it does not seem to cause s*xual problems. Serzone, Remeron, and Luvox may not cause problems with s*xual desire either.
In addition, birth control pills, mood stabilizers, tranquilizers and other medications have been shown to decrease libido. If you notice a drop in your s*xual desire around the time you start a new medication, talk to you doctor to see if there is a connection. Do not stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor first.