There’s no doubt that men’s sexual dysfunction is out of the closet. The explosion of Viagra on the world scene, and the media circus that surrounded it, took care of that taboo.
But what about women? Based on the lack of attention focused on women‘s sexual dysfunction, you’d think it wasn’t much of a problem. But you’d be wrong. Experts now estimate that between 30 and 50 percent of women experience some level of sexual dysfunction in their lives. But there’s no reason to accept a less- than-satisfying sex life- it’s too important to your relationship and to your overall good health and well-being.
- 1 It takes two to tango! Women deserve a satisfying sex life, too! They can have one at any age.
- 2 Not sure if your female low sex drive problem is physical or mental? Your first step is to learn how, medically, women become aroused.
- 3 Many women blame menopause for unpleasant intercourse… but thinning, weak tissues can be replenished
- 4 Estrogen does not hold all of the answers
- 5 Many common medications can dampen women’s sexual desire
- 6 High blood pressure can be a silent killer of sexual comfort and orgasm
- 7 A strong, healthy body is a sexy, sexual body
- 8 Best all-natural herbal supplements for women’s sexual health
- 9 Talk openly with your partner – it could be the most important step to take
It takes two to tango! Women deserve a satisfying sex life, too! They can have one at any age.
Speaking from experience, a sexual relationship in marriage, although not the most important part, is certainly one component of fulfillment and happiness. Even after 29 years of marriage, my wife and I still find each other exciting and are exploring new aspects of the relationship. You can enjoy sex at any age if you’re comfortable with your body, and if you learn how diet, lifestyle, health, and herbs can influence sexual arousal and pleasure.
Women’s sexuality is actually more problematic than men’s. Arousal is not so easily discernible or measurable, and, let’s face it, not absolutely necessary for the completion of the act. Many women are uncomfortable talking about it, and not entirely sure that they are supposed to desire or enjoy sex.
For these reasons (and because until recently the medical ranks were dominated by men), women’s sexual function has been virtually ignored. Now that has begun to change.
Not sure if your female low sex drive problem is physical or mental? Your first step is to learn how, medically, women become aroused.
It helps to know how the physical process of female sexual arousal is supposed to work. A woman might think she has a mental or emotional problem when it comes to sex, but it could be that her partner just doesn’t understand what it takes. To many, the female body is still a mystery, especially when it comes to sex.
When a woman becomes sexually aroused from sensual stimuli like touch and sight, the smooth muscles in the clitoris relax and the arterial walls dilate, resulting in increased blood flow to the area. As the clitoris becomes engorged with blood (much like the penis does during an erection), the expanding arteries put additional pressure on nerves, making the area much more sensitive to touch. The increase in blood flow also affects the vagina, which responds by secreting lubricating fluids.
That medical explanation makes it all seem very simple. But you and I know that hundreds of variables can get in the way of that chain reaction. Most women (and many doctors) think that their sexual problems are all in their heads-and some of them are. But years ago we thought that most of men’s sexual problems were psychological too-until research showed them to be 90 percent medical.
As the body of research on women’s sexual function grows, I think we’ ll see similar results. But you don’t have to wait for more research to improve your situation. The truth is, there are many things you ca n do right now to improve your sex life, and most of them are completely within your control.
Before we go further, please note that there is a medical condition called sexual arousal disorder that you might want to explore.
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Many women blame menopause for unpleasant intercourse… but thinning, weak tissues can be replenished
Many women accept a lackluster libido as a natural effect of aging and me no pause. Yes, menopause may change your sex life-but it doesn’t have to be a change for the worse. It should be a liberating time, when you no longer have to worry about pregnancy or birth control.
It’s true that women’s hormones have a lot to do with sexual arousal and function. And hormones do change during and after menopause. There is, in particular, a drop in estrogen levels. And it just so happens that estrogen plays a role in nerve transmissions and has vasodilatory effects, helping blood vessels dilate and increasing blood flow. It also plays a part in vaginal relaxation and secretion. So, during and after menopause, many women experience vagina l dryness and a thinning of the vaginal tissues, that can make sex unpleasant and painful. But there are a number of ways to deal with these problems.
To improve the strength of vaginal tissues, I recommend a low-dose estrogen cream (available by prescription only) applied directly in the vagina. As little as .025 milligrams of estrogen twice a week (as compared with 1.25 mg daily for some oral estrogen supplements) can produce noticeable results, with fewer of the risks associated with supplemental oral estrogen. (Ask your doctor about premarin or estradiol cream.) A simple lubricant, like KY Jelly, can help with lubrication. When those two problems are addressed, sex becomes a pleasant experience once again-and desire and satisfaction increase as a result!
Estrogen does not hold all of the answers
Estrogen isn’t the only hormone important to women’s sexuality. Testosterone also plays an important role, and the good news is that women ‘s bodies continue to produce it for about 10 years after menopause . In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands and is responsible for stimulating sexual desire.
In fact, this “male” hormone’s impact has been clearly demonstrated in studies of women who had their ovaries surgically removed. In one such study, researchers followed 75 premenopausal women who had undergone oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) and hysterectomy. All of the women received equal amounts of supplemental estrogen, but in addition they randomly received 150 mcg of testosterone, 300 mcg of testosterone, or a placebo.
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All three treatments were delivered through a skin patch worn for 12 weeks. After each treatment period, the women crossed over to another treatment group. The women were asked to record the frequency of sexual thoughts, desires, and activity during each treatment period.
During the high-testosterone-dose period, the number of women who reported sexual thoughts and/or activity at least once a week was two to three times higher than at the beginning of the study.
I’m not suggesting that all women with sexual problems take supplemental testosterone. There are still many questions and concerns about the hormone’s possible effects on women, including higher cholesterol levels, increased bone loss, and development of facial hair. The point is that estrogen is not the be-all and end-all of a woman’s sexuality, and therefore, her sex life does not have to end with menopause .
Many common medications can dampen women’s sexual desire
While hormone replacement therapy may improve some women’s sexual function, many other prescription medication s can have just the opposite effect. For example, beta-adrenergic blockers, a common class of anti-hypertensive drugs (including Coreg, Inderal, Lopressor, Toprol XL, and others) are a common cause of sexual dysfunction in women and men. Selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) taken for depression, like Prozac and Zoloft, can cause a decrease in sexual interest, decreased arousal, less genital sensation, and difficulty achieving orgasm. Central nervous system depressants, as well as anticholinergic drugs taken for colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and peptic ulcers, can have negative effects on a woman’s libido, and oral contraceptives, decongestants, and antihistamines have also been implicated.
If you have noticed a decrease in sexual interest and take any prescription medications regularly, read the package inserts and talk to your doctor about a possible connection.
High blood pressure can be a silent killer of sexual comfort and orgasm
I’ve explained how blood flow is critical to the physical processes of arousal and orgasm. Now there’s proof that interfering with that blood flow can impact a woman’s sexual function. In a study of 211 pre-menopausal women, researchers found that women with even mild hypertension reported significantly reduced vaginal lubrication and orgasm, and more pain during sex than women without high blood pressure.
This connection has long been recognized in men, and it only makes sense that it would affect women as well. Arteries constricted by the high-salt, high-fat, and high cholesterol American diet are the most common cause of high blood pressure. If the blood can’t flow quickly, steadily, and strongly to the clitoris and vagina, the physical manifestations of arousal can’t occur. Less lubrication results in painful intercourse, which, of course, is not conducive to orgasm. The inadequate blood flow also makes it difficult to reach the level of sensitivity needed to reach a climax. The end result is unsatisfying, uncomfortable sex – which leads to more infrequent sex – and so the cycle continues.
The answer here, of course, is to lower blood pressure and clear out your arteries-preferably without the use of medications (which, as I mentioned, could interfere with your libido as well). A low-sodium, low fat, no-cholesterol diet along with moderate exercise, can lower blood pressure dramatically without drugs.
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A strong, healthy body is a sexy, sexual body
Of course, there are other benefits to healthy eating and exercise as well. There is still a significant mental component to women’s sexuality, and much of it revolves around self-esteem and body confidence.
Women who aren’t happy and don’t feel good about themselves have a more difficult time enjoying sex. In fact studies have shown that women with a negative body image are likely to avoid sex as a result. A poor body image is something that may have taken years to develop-often beginning in childhood-and can be extremely difficult to overcome. But, in general, the goal is to have a healthy and strong body, and to be proud of it. That’s a very empowering feeling… and a very sexy one.
Taking charge of your health is the first step toward developing that positive body image. Adopting a healthy diet and exercise program, as well as giving up bad habits like using cigarettes and alcohol, can have a huge impact on your overall outlook on life. You’ ll be more positive, you’ll have more confidence, you’ll feel more energetic, and chances are you’ll be more interested in sex. If a health y body doesn’t boost your self-esteem, you may want to talk to a psychologist or your physician about your feelings.
Best all-natural herbal supplements for women’s sexual health
If you’re still having trouble conjuring up sexual interest, don’t give up; there are promising natural remedies available!
If you find that you still need more help, you may want to look into some of the all-natural herbal remedies and prescription medication options available. Hormone replacement therapy might also deserve your attention.
As for prescription medications that may help improve women’s sex drive, there has been some talk of treating women with Viagra, although studies have reported mixed results. There are also now mixtures being made up by compounding pharmacies that claim to be “female Viagra” and anecdotal reports seem to be pouring in praising its use for boosting female libido quickly. Addyi, released in 2015, is the first FDA approved medication for enhancing female sex drive.
Herbs like these work to improve women’s sexual function holistically:
- Maca Root
- Ashwaganda Root
- Tongkat Ali
- Ginseng (both American and Korean Panax Ginseng)
- Black Cohosh
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Muira Puama
- Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium or Barrenwort)
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Many health-food stores sell herbal blends specifically designed to boost libido. Feel free to give these a try, but, as with any supplement, read labels carefully, do your homework, and check with your physician before trying them.
I would especially recommend that you research maca root for women as the evidence is strong that it has a multi-pronged approach to aiding with sexual health for both men and women.
Talk openly with your partner – it could be the most important step to take
Opening up the lines of communication among yourself, your partner, and your doctor to bring these issues into the open may be one of the most important steps in regarding your sexual desire. You could also look for a doctor who specializes in sex therapy. I know it’s embarrassing, and from experience I can tell it’s the last topic most women would bring up at a doctors appointment. But try not to fee l ashamed or too shy.
You have every right to expect a satisfying sex life and in many cases, you can make that happen. It just takes a few simple changes in your lifestyle. Foremost among those changes are diet and exercise but secondary to that is informed used of all-natural herbal supplements that aid in women’s sexual health.
Here’s to your overall sense of wellbeing and in particular, your female sex drive!