Sexual dysfunction in both sexes can be caused by a multitude of factors. Sexual desire disorders in women are often linked to the inability of experiencing pleasure during sexual activity. Causes include psychiatric disorders or medication but can also include problematic interpersonal relationships. The condition is more commonly known as sexual arousal disorder which involves constant inability to sustain vaginal lubrication during sex and often, failure to reach orgasm.
Lack of appropriate sex education or excessive inhibitions or fears can be contributory factors to a constant lack of sexual arousal. When the disorder manifests at a certain point during a woman's lifetime it can be linked to stressful situations, problems with a partner, depression, organic causes (such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis which can lead to genital anaesthesia in women) or to medication and surgical operations. The menopause can also lower sexual desire.
Mental causes, traumas, lack of lubrication and inflammation can also be responsible for coital pain (dispareunia); when this manifests after a phase of normal sexual activity, possible organic causes should be examined in detail. Vaginismus is the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles which makes penetration impossible. This usually involves a reflex action inflicted by pain, while in other cases, mental causes are responsible. Specific techniques are available for the treatment of this condition. However, they should be considered only after all other diagnostic possibilities have been explored and all eventual organic disorders have been treated.
There are cases in which the arousal phase is normal yet the individual does not reach orgasm, or it is delayed or inconsistent. This is called anorgasmia. It can be a permanent condition or linked to a specific moment during the lifetime or to a particular partner. In cases of orgasm failure, the correct counselling of both members of the couple is necessary. Where possible, it is also essential to eliminate potential physical disorders and take psychological factors into consideration which may require a specialist evaluation.