When women lose that loving feeling
Monique Rainford, HER HEALTH
Recently, I was watching a television advertisement in which a personal lubricant was being promoted to enhance a woman's sexual satisfaction.
The woman in the commercial attributed her enjoyment of the experience to the use of the lubricant and her partner attributed it to his male prowess. The advertisement brought to mind the complaints of many patients, both young and not so young, who do not enjoy sex with their partners and are eager to find a solution.
They hope for an easy solution like a 'female Viagra' but unfortunately, it is not that easy. For many years, it was thought that men and women had similar sexual response cycles which progressed along a linear pattern.
However, current information suggests that women's sexual response is more circular and is affected by social and psychological factors, including their feelings for their partner. In fact, this model recognises that some normal women do not have a spontaneous sexual drive but may have sex to please their partner and then the activity may cause them to become aroused.
Women may think that they have a problem because of information they obtain from the media or friends but they may, in fact, be normal. For example, most women (about 80 per cent) do not have orgasms with intercourse and may have one either before or after by other methods of stimulation including oral sex, use of a vibrator or manual stimulation. Furthermore, less than one-third of women report that they have an orgasm with sexual activity as compared to three-quarters of men.
Sexual dysfunction in women
Even in light of these facts, some women still have a problem with their sexual function. Sexual dysfunction generally falls in four categories. Women may have a problem being aroused sexually; they may have a problem with their desire for sex; they may have difficulty achieving an orgasm; or they may have pain with intercourse. However, many women still participate for their partners' benefit.
Unfortunately, sexual dysfunction in women is more complicated to treat than in men because of the differences in their sexual cycle. However, treatment is available. Education and counselling are important parts of treatment, as well as avoiding too much alcohol, illegal drugs and cigarettes. Healthy eating, exercise and good sleep habits can also improve women's sexual health. There are also a few medications which may be beneficial.
How can you, the man, show your partner that you care about her needs? Educate yourselves about her sexual needs and possible solutions. Accompany her to the physician to explore her problems. Be patient with her during intimate acts. Show your love for her in a new way this Valentine's Day.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Dr Monique Rainford is a consulting obstetrician and gynaecologist; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.