When we talk about sexual dysfunction in women, we know that physiologically there are parallels that we can look at.
When we look at the psychological aspects of sexual function, the obvious differences in men and women are that men know when they have an erection. We have data that shows that in some women, not all, in generalizing obviously, there is a disconnect. We have talked about the relationship between the brain and the end organ. And in most men when they are aroused, when there is an erection we can have increase blood flow to the penis, and we can have increased blood flow to the centers of the brain that are involved in arousal.
We have studies in women that show that there may or may not be a disconnect. In other words, women may have increased blood flow to their centers of arousal in the brain. They believe that they are aroused. But when we look at blood flow in the pelvic area to the sex organs, we don’t see that blood flow.
We also see women who may have increased blood flow to the clitoris, increased lubrication, increased blood flow to the vessel tissues but scans of the brain don’t show that similar increased blood flow to the brain. There is a disconnect. We don’t know what that means and why it’s happening.
We also know that about 50% of the time when we talk about female sexual dysfunction we have to look at the relationship with her partner. If there is a problem or concern or conflict with the quality of the relationship that’s going to impact sexual response negatively.
Women have, in general, a higher concern about body image that may negatively impact their ability to be sexual very different from men. We also know that women are more probably to be diverted when it comes to sexual dysfunction about nonsexual things: the laundry is not done, whether the kids were coming in, and I don’t want to be interrupted during intimacy. We have other things to concern about right now: I have got kids going, I got homework for the kids to do.
These are things that are not good or bad, it just items or issues that the person was tackling sexual dysfunction with a therapist or urologist or your old gynecologist has to be aware of. It is not just giving a pill or giving testosterone or having someone lose weight. There are a lot of other factors involved in that’s why open discussion, open communication is hugely important when we talk about the opportunities to address sexual functioning in women.
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