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Physical Intimacy Matters | Three Common Problems Women Face and Their Underlying Causes

Physical Intimacy Matters | Three Common Problems Women Face and Their Underlying Causes

Physical intimacy problems are fairly common across age groups. However, it is important to understand their causes in order to find a suitable solution.

Sexual health is often seen as a taboo subject, even though a large number of active women face health issues and sexual dysfunction. A sexual problem or dysfunction is a persistent problem that arises during one of the phases of the sexual response cycle. The response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Dissatisfaction in your intimate life can also lead to problems in the relationship. Apart from ending up frustrated, a woman and/or her partner may also face emotional consequences due to the lack of physical intimacy.

There are three types of problems that can arise:

1. Lack of desire

When you don't feel any interest in engaging in intercourse, a symptom that can occur in all genders, the response cycle stops before it even begins. For some people, it might a short-term problem but for others, it could be persistent. Lack of coital desire could be due to specific factors like high stress, pregnancy, childbirth, or physical and mental health concerns. However, some individuals face this issue on a longterm basis, according to NHS UK.

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2. Difficulties becoming aroused or achieving orgasm

A woman could either have trouble getting aroused (which ties to a lack of desire or inhibited desire) or in experiencing an orgasm (anorgasmia). For those women who feel desire but can't experience an orgasm, it can be distressing. Eventually, they may lose interest in intercourse as they remain dissatisfied, according to Emedicinehealth. There can be multiple reasons for this including medical (covered below) and non-medical.

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3. Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia)

According to the Mayo Clinic, dyspareunia is defined as "persistant or reccurent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after intercourse." This may include pain during penetration, pain or/and discomfort with every penetration (including putting in a tampon), deep pain during thrusting, burning or aching pain during or after intercourse, and throbbing pain (lasting hours after intercourse).

You may experience the pain in or around the labial, vaginal, or pelvic areas, it could stop you from enjoying coitus and might also put you off, according to Emedicinehealth. It is important to seek your doctor's help to identify underlying issues. In most cases, doctors can help solve the issue, which can lead to pain-free, relaxed intercourse.

What causes these problems?

1. Relationship problems

No relationship is in harmony at all times. Couples argue over many issues like division of labor, finances, how to raise a child, and these problems in the relationship can lead to an unsatisfactory time in the bedroom as well. When communication breaks down between a couple, they are likely to feel distant or emotionally disconnected, which in turn affects their intimacy. These problems can be addressed by the help of a therapist or by communicating with your partner.

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2. Psychological reasons

There are many issues that can become a barrier to having satisfying intercourse for women. Many women experience a lack of desire when they experience work-related stress, depression, anxiety, or are concerned about sexual performance, according to WebMD. Arguments, distrust, lack of respect or understanding from the partner can also manifest as a lack of physical intimacy between a couple. There could also be trauma (emotional, physical, or sexual) stopping them from feeling intimate or connected with their partner, which could lead to disharmony. These problems could be treated with the help of a mental health specialist, who can guide you towards a resolution.

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3. Gynaecological problems

Lack of desire or pain during or after intercourse could be caused by underlying issues in any part of the reproductive system. For women who have experienced menopause or are in the perimenopause stage, it could be vaginal dryness that causes pain as the estrogen level goes down. However, this is not the only cause of decreased lubrication. There could be other illnesses, too.

Vaginismus is another reason for pain during intercourse. The muscles around the vaginal opening could spasm to "tighten" involuntarily due to fear; injuries or scars from surgery, abuse, or childbirth;  infection or irritation from douches, spermicides, or condoms. Many sexually transmitted diseases — like gonorrhoea, herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, and syphilis — can cause pain during intercourse. Inflammation and irritation due to infection (vaginitis) could also lead to pain.

Pelvic inflammatory disease or nerve damage due to surgery as well as endometriosis, pelvic mass, ovarian cyst are other problems that could lead to painful sexual intercourse, according to Emedicinehealth.

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4. Other causes:  cultural conditioning, mental illnesses, medication, and abuse

A lot of things affect our intimate life, including our attitude towards it. If you grew up in a culture where intercourse was taboo, you could still be holding unconscious beliefs that it is bad or something to feel guilty about. Cultural inhibitions could also make it difficult for you to communicate what you want from your partner. Abuse of any form has a direct impact on intercourse, especially if the partner has shown signs of violence, disrespect, or aggression in the past. Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder can lead to hyposexuality (low or non-existent sex drive) as well.

Women taking medication for depression, like Prozac or Zoloft, or other medications like certain chemotherapy drugs, drugs for high blood pressure, and antipsychotic medications could experience inhibited desire, too.

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References: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/painful-intercourse/symptoms-causes/syc-20375967

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/sexual-dysfunction-women#1-2

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/female_sexual_problems/article_em.htm#female_sexual_problems_causes

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/female-sexual-problems/

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/pain_during_intercourse/article_em.htm#facts_and_definition_of_painful_intercourse_sex

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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