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Types of female sexual dysfunction

December 01, 2003

Classifications and definitions of female sexual dysfunction, developed in 1998 by the Consensus Panel of the American Foundation of Urologic Disease:

  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a persistent or recurring lack of sexual thoughts and/or receptivity to sexual activity, which causes personal distress. This disorder may result from psychological or emotional factors or from medical problems such as hormone deficiencies, surgery or medical interventions. Any disruption of a woman's hormonal system - natural menopause, surgically or medically induced menopause or endocrine disorders - can result in inhibited sexual desire.

  • Sexual aversion disorder is a persistent or recurring fear of sexual contact with another person, which causes personal distress. This disorder is thought to be a psychologically or emotionally based problem resulting from physical or sexual abuse, childhood trauma or a variety of other reasons.

  • Sexual arousal disorder is a persistent or recurring inability to reach or maintain full sexual excitement, which causes personal distress. This condition may happen as a result of psychological factors, but often there is a medical basis such as diminished blood flow, prior pelvic trauma, pelvic surgery or medications.

  • Orgasmic disorder is a persistent or recurrent difficulty, delay in, or absence of attaining orgasm following sufficient sexual stimulation and arousal, which causes personal distress. The disorder may be a result of surgery, trauma, hormone deficiencies, emotional trauma or sexual abuse.

  • Sexual pain disorders include dyspareunia - a recurrent or persistent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse - and vaginismus - a recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with vaginal penetration, which causes personal distress. Dyspareunia can be physiologically and psychologically based. Vaginismus usually develops as a response to painful penetration or to psychological or emotional factors.
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