Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
Much attention has been given to male sexual dysfunction, with commercials dedicated to fixing the issue, and a 'magic pill' that can address a lot of the sexual dysfunction concerns a man may have. Sexual dysfunction specialist, Dr Stanhope Maxwell suggested this could be as a result of the way women have been socialised as it relates to the whole issue of sex.
"Sexual dysfunctions are more common in females than in males, but females are less likely to seek treatment for it, for many different reasons.
"Men are more likely to show up for treatment for sexual problems. The obvious reason ... if a man can't have an erection he can't have sex. But if a woman is not aroused she can still have sex. She can fake it but a man cannot fake that," Maxwell told Flair.
The major ways that a sexual dysfunction presents itself in a female is as a low sexual desire, sexual arousal disorder (difficulty or are inability to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity), orgasmic disorder (difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm after adequate sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation) or sexual pain disorder or even a combination of disorders.
"The most common sexual dysfunction in females is a lack of desire. And you have simple things like women being able to have sex, but they don't orgasm and they wonder if there's a problem or so on," Maxwell said.
These conditions may develop from physical or medical conditions or psychological causes such as anxiety, depression or even long-term stress. Concerns about becoming pregnant or the burden of being a new mother, even conflicts with one's partner or a woman's social, cultural or religious views on sex can, have a negative impact on her sex life.
"Sometimes there's a physical problem and sometimes it's just a psychological problem. Women will come to say they don't have an orgasm. It depends on how deep of a psychological problem it is, because it might be some superficial problem which we can address. If it is a superficial anxiety disorder (they need to be referred to a psychologist).
"Women also have hormonal problems which can affect the sexual desire. Sometimes you might think that something is just psychological, and when you check it they have some sort of hormonal problem that actually suppresses the sexual urges. Sometimes many have to do blood tests and so on to find out what the problem is," Maxwell related.
He went on, "You have the more unusual problems. You have a problem they call vaginismus. That is where every time the woman is about to have sexual penetration the vagina tightens and you cannot enter.
Although the causes of vaginismus are not fully understood, research suggests that the problem is caused from a combination of physical and non-physical triggers that cause the body to anticipate pain and as a result of the body's natural instinct to protect itself there is a tightening of the vaginal muscles.
"Fortunately now, that has become a much easier problem to deal with, because it is basically an involuntary contraction of the woman. If they are able to relax, whether it's by artificial means - meaning you can use Botox (and other artificial treatments) - or by natural means, the issue can be addressed," the doctor said.
Maxwell who is a lecturer at the All American Institute of Medical Studies, said that the school would soon be opening a medical clinic on its campus in Black River, St Elizabeth, and among the services it would offer would be treatment for sexual dysfunctions, including those in women.