Treatments for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Female sexual dysfunctions are rather invalidating and bothersome. This article presents the different techniques women can use to increase sexual desire, sexual arousal, the chances of having an orgasm, and subsequent sexual satisfaction.
Treatments for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Last update: 16 November, 2023

Female sexual dysfunction is usually less known than male ones due to cultural constraints. Ignoring them doesn’t make them less disabling, bothersome, and limiting though. However, treatments try to tackle them.

The most relevant sexual problems in women are due to lack of sexual desire, lack of sexual arousal, trouble reaching orgasm, or pain during sex. Be that as it may, and although there are specific techniques for each problem, one can identify a common territory in most of the interventions.

“Rather than enjoying sex or engaging with their partners to ensure sexual satisfaction, women, distracted by what their bodies smell, feel, and look like, become unable to think about their own pleasure.”

-Soraya Chemaly-

Motivation for change: you or your lover?

Psychology intervenes not only on the dysfunction itself when it comes to treatments for female sexual dysfunction but on every stage of the sexual response. This is because they’re closely linked. If one doesn’t occur, the following ones won’t either. Thus, they’ll feel weirder and the woman won’t even know them.

It’s also important to know the motivation that supports the woman’s demand. It can be an increase in pleasure but also a desire to satisfy their lover. In the second case, one of the first points of the intervention will be to analyze, and restructure in certain cases, the reasons that led to the consultation.

A woman sitting at the edge of her bed.

Tangentiality of female sexual dysfunction: a good assessment

It’s essential to have information about several dimensions of the woman before initiating treatments for female sexual dysfunctions:

  • Expectations referred to therapy.
  • Are there self-image and self-esteem problems?
  • Non-sexual stressors (someone’s death or birth).
  • The quality of the romantic bond.

Once there’s an assessment, the next step will be to design the intervention. It’ll include those strategies or measures that are best suited to the case. The ones that have been effective in scientific studies.

Hello, sexual desire, goodbye, anxiety

Among the treatments for female sexual dysfunction, the sensory focus technique is useful to facilitate women’s sexual desire after it’s been eroded by several factors. This technique seeks to recover the lost sensitivity beyond genital contact.

Strokes, gestures, ways to incite desire, understanding and exploiting the erogenous power that can have contact with certain areas of the skin, and experimenting and looking for new sensations. The therapist gives indications to a woman and her lover (their participation is important in this type of techniques), such as:

  • Alternate sensual stimulation. Touching for the sake of it. Here, the woman touches, smells, and kisses her lover in order to become aroused. It’s alternating -never at the same time- so that their partner will also have to do the same afterward. The genitals are excluded in this exploration and especially in the early stages of the procedure.
  • Alternate genital strokes. Once again, both lovers take turns with these and there’s no penetration. It’s okay for one to support another who has an erection but the premise isn’t to reach orgasm yet.
  • Simultaneous sensual and genital strokes. The premise here is to stimulate one another simultaneously without reaching either coitus or orgasm. It’s important to enjoy what you do to each other.
  • Extravaginal orgasm. It consists of reaching an orgasm without penetration.

It’s important for this technique to be used only to stimulate desire or increase arousal. This is because the objective is real, slow, and sustained enjoyment. Later on, a couple may try intravaginal and extravaginal orgasms.

The muscles of the vagina can talk

To increase the enjoyment of sexual intercourse, and thereby increase the likelihood of intercourse, a woman can train the vaginal muscles. The most sensitive area is the entrance of the vagina. Thus, training these muscles can enhance this power.

The training is executed in the following phases:

  • Locating the muscles involved in urination. To do so, tense the pubococcygeus muscles – not the muscles of the leg or buttocks – three or four times every time you have to go to the bathroom.
  • Practice tension-relaxation exercises in various positions during the day, when getting up or lying down, any posture will do. It gives a sense of control over the vagina.
  • Strength and frequency. Once you control the location and movement, you may train for the frequency and strength of the contraction. The pleasurable sensation is greater after achieving this as you decide when to close and open. Be careful, though! Also, keep in mind that you can’t achieve it in a single day. Thus, training is crucial. Try to do it in series, kind of like sit-ups.

This is what an orgasm feels like?

A masturbatory program that increases the woman’s sense of control and knowledge of her own body is also recommended in order to increase arousal and the chances of reaching orgasm. It usually follows these stages:

  • Body self-knowledge. This can last for a long period of time, since body image and insecurities play an essential role. Thus, it’s important for the woman to feel comfortable with herself.
  • Genital exploration. Once the woman is satisfied with her own body image, she’ll look at herself in a mirror and find out where the labia and clitoris are.
  • Sexual and genital self-stimulation in which arousal isn’t the final goal and, of course, without the participation of a lover.
  • Increasing the duration and intensity of masturbation and stimulation until reaching orgasm. It must be effortless, as it may not happen if the woman is too concerned about attaining it.
  • Mechanical stimulation through the use of vibrators, dildos, and erotic readings, etc. Mechanical stimulation is useful when manual stimulation doesn’t work.

Points four and five aren’t always necessary, especially if the masturbatory program was successful.

In many cases, it’s better for the masturbatory program to be carried out solo. However, the lover may participate in the second stage. This is because the final goal is to have a satisfactory sex life with them.

A woman masturbating.

Close and open willingly

Vaginismus is defined as the involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina. It sometimes contracts after painful intercourse, even if there’s no dyspareunia, which is pain upon penetration. Standard treatment for vaginismus follows these guidelines:

  • The woman must manipulate her own vagina, squeezing, unclenching, moving it, and exposing herself to whatever she’s afraid of. It’s normal to be stiff at first and for the anxiety to reduce progressively. Slowly, they begin to introduce elements of various sizes such as one finger, two fingers, and even bigger objects (some use small vegetables and then move on to larger ones).
  • Manipulation of the vagina by the lover.
  • Penetration. The lover may do so with their fingers if the muscles contract.
  • Normalization. The goal here is to have sex whenever they want.

Female sexual dysfunction – when a woman is perfectly fine but doesn’t really like sex

Many women come to therapy without apparent sexual dysfunctions. Thus, evaluation is essential and must explore the following areas:

  • Individual emotional stability. There might be mood problems, such as depression or anxiety, or physical such as an eating disorder.
  • Beliefs, attributions, and expectations. Some people are sexually dissatisfied because sex doesn’t resemble movies or porn.
  • The quality of their relationship and joint emotional stability.
  • Disagreement in the frequency of sex. One can play with this by reaching mutual agreements. They don’t have to have sex but could resort to caresses and masturbation.

Sexual liberation made women turn their attention to their own satisfaction. This is why many women are now in charge of their own sexual desires, got to know themselves, and learned to masturbate and love themselves before seeking a relationship with another. Treatments for female sexual dysfunctions also help in this regard.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.