Female sexual arousal disorder
Usually, when women are sexually stimulated, they feel sexually excited mentally and emotionally. They may also be aware of certain physical changes. For example, the vagina releases secretions that provide lubrication (causing wetness). The tissues around the vaginal opening (labia) and the clitoris (which corresponds to the penis in men) swell, the breasts swell slightly, and these areas may tingle. In sexual arousal disorders, the usual types of sexual stimulation (such as kissing, dancing, watching an erotic video, and touching the genitals) do not cause arousal—mentally or emotionally (subjectively), physically, or both.
Sometimes physical responses occur, but women do not notice them. In genital arousal disorder (a type of sexual arousal disorder), stimulation that does not involve the genitals (such as watching an erotic video) makes women feel aroused, but when the genitals are stimulated (including during intercourse), women are unaware of any physical responses or physical pleasure. As a result, genital stimulation and sexual intercourse are unrewarding and possibly difficult and painful.
Sexual arousal disorders tend to have the same causes as low sexual desire disorder (see Low Sexual Desire Disorder : Causes). For example, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, stress, other psychologic factors (see Sexual Dysfunction in Women Psychologic factors), drugs (such as selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors, which are a type of antidepressant), and relationship problems commonly interfere with sexual arousal. Inadequate sexual stimulation or the wrong setting for sexual activity can also contribute. Genital arousal disorder may also develop when certain chronic disorders, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, damage nerves. The nerve damage leads to decreased sensation in the genital area.
Diagnosis is based on the woman’s history and description of the problem. If genital stimulation does not cause arousal, a pelvic examination is also done.