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Female sexual dysfunction and the lack of coverage in the media

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Female sexual dysfunction and the lack of coverage in the media

Women, where do you turn when you know something is not right “down there”? You may have thoughts such as, “Will my husband still love me if we can’t have intercourse?” “I’m too embarrassed to talk to my doctor.” “Maybe this is normal. It’ll go away.”

Studies show that women suffer from sexual disfunction at higher rates than men. There are different female sexual dysfunctions and many different causes, but so few treatments. When you turn on the television, you see commercials for Viagra and Cialis. We need to turn on the television and see options for women who suffer from FSDs. The media has a big impact on our lives. Enough Viagra, it’s time for women!

There are two main causes for FSD: physical and psychological. Medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease lead to sexual dusfinction in women. And psychological issues like stress, relationship problems and depression also can contribute.

FSDs have four common disorders: desire, arousal, orgasmic (anorgasmia) and pain. Desire disorder is lack of desire or interest in intercourse. Causes can be hormonal changes, medical conditions or boredom with intercourse. Arousal disorder comes from a lack of stimulation, lack of lubrication or stress and anxiety. Anorgasmia is fear of intercourse, lack of knowledge, sexual apprehensions and mental factors such as guilt, anxiety or past sexual trauma. In addition, certain medications and chronic disease contribute to anorgasmia. Pain disorder, or pain during intercourse, lists as possible causes endometriosis, vaginitis, poor lubrication or vaginismus.

According to The Journal of Sex Education in 2006, 64 percent of women experienced desire difficulty, 31 percent had arousal difficulty, 35 percent had orgasm difficulty and 26 percent had sexual-related pain. Thankfully, most of these issues can be treated.

Women of different ages (premenopausal vs. post-menopausal) can have different FSDs. A medical survey of 1,749 women 18-59 found “the younger women in the groups common FSDs were lack of desire, difficulty with orgasm and pain during intercourse. The older women shared more complaints with lubrication trouble.” Researchers wanted to better understand the difference in female bodies at a young age versus older aged women. They found that older women taking estrogen experienced an increase in lubrication. Therefore, finding treatment for women of all ages is not an impossible task.

According to the US Census Bureau, the average American watches four hours of television per day. In addition, Americans are exposed to five extra hours of other media, i.e. radio, internet, billboards, newspapers. Even now, it would be comforting to see a commercial on television that tells women to talk to their doctors about FSD. My idea would be a woman in her 40s talking to the viewer from her home, saying, “Women, are you having issues with your love life? Are you lost about what to do? Have you given up? Well, don’t! Please talk to your doctor today.” This commercial would help women realize they are not alone.

Since there are no medications on the market now and there are women with FSD, the medical society needs to make changes to help women. Many people feel embarrassed talking to their doctors. When women have their annual Pap smears, doctors should start a sexual history discussion. An option would be to create a sexual history questionnaire that the woman completes. This would help women with their sexual problems and it would help researchers get one step closer to finding a pill for women. Now women, if any of theses problems sound like yours, go talk to your doctors!

Brianna Zdanowski is a community health education senior at UNCG.

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