Studies have also shown that women usually experience more unhappiness than men concerning their level of sexual function and that women are often too embarrassed to talk about their sexual problems with their doctor or believe their clinician will dismiss their sexual complaints. At Houston Methodist, we offer a compassionate and specialized approach to treating sexual dysfunction.
Types of Sexual Dysfunction
- Low sexual desire or low libido
- Difficulty with sexual arousal - Inability to attain or maintain adequate physiological response of sexual excitement
- Inability to achieve orgasm - Delay in or absence of orgasm after the normal sexual excitement phase
- Pain with sexual intercourse - Recurrent or persistent genital pain with sexual intercourse
Low Sexual Desire or Low Libido
Lack of interest in sexual activity is referred to as low libido in women and men. A temporary decline in sexual desire in women can occur due to life changes such as pregnancy or menopause. Low libido is often associated with women, but some men may also lose the desire for sex.
Alcohol or drug abuse is a common reason for low sex drive in women and men. Obesity is one of the physical causes that may be responsible. In addition to obesity, conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol can also affect sexual desire.
Risk Factors for Sexual Dysfunction
Many physical and medical conditions can cause problems with sexual dysfunction :
- Increasing age
- Pelvic pain
- Endocrine dysfunction
- Use of medications, such as antidepressants
- Relationship conflicts
Common psychological factors can also cause problems with sexual dysfunction:
- Poor self-image and/or low self-esteem
- History of sexual abuse
Treating Sexual Dysfunction
The ideal approach to treating female sexual dysfunction involves a team effort between you, your doctor and a trained therapist. Most types of sexual dysfunction problems can be resolved by treating the underlying physical or psychological problem:
- Medications, including hormone replacement therapy
- Providing couples with education through intimacy and sexuality counseling
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
Intimacy and Sexual Counseling
Houston Methodist uses an integrated research-based and spiritual approach to intimacy and sexual counseling. Our counselors recommend that you come in your partner, so they can guide both of you through emotional concerns and get you back to healthy sexual activity.
Problems with sexuality can arise because of insecurities about the physical changes due to medical conditions. For example, it is extremely common to seek help for intimacy issues after a surgical procedure. More than the physical changes, the emotional impact of dealing with these physical changes can become the greater challenge.
The following are common emotional side effects from medical issues:
- Fear - "What is happening to me and my partner?"
- Anger - "Why me?"
- Sadness - "My life is ruined."
- Guilt - "Am I being punished for sexual behavior in the past?"
- Confusion - "What now?"
Methods used during intimacy and sexuality counseling aim to reestablish your sexual health by understanding your body in a new way and by rediscovering the sensations felt before the issues arose.
While there are many methods used in Houston Methodist’s intimacy and sexuality counseling program, the benefits of this program have proven to be great successes in helping couples regain comfort with their minds and bodies. You and your loved do not have to continue the struggle alone to return to full and active lives.
Intimacy and sexuality therapy teaches you patterns of communication with your partner and how to take on new roles during times of intimacy. Our counselors encourage you and your partner to empower yourselves through exercise, stimulation of the senses and slowing down the pace of everyday life, which can often be a distraction in regaining sexual health. Our counselors also teach strategies for listening more effectively and discussing fear and rejection openly with each other.
Therapeutic techniques help you achieve several benefits:
- Rediscover the joy of sexual expression by experimentation
- Take daily mini vacations to bring the couple emotionally closer
- Discuss issues of grief and letting go
- Communicate emotional feelings properly
- Create an environment of comfort and trust
By participating in therapeutic techniques, your partner also learns to:
- Actively participate in therapy
- Create a positive focus
- Work through fears of rejection
- Overcome fears of disease or illness
- Become a better listener
These issues can be embarrassing but can be resolved. Your first step is to talk with one of our specialists.
Houston Methodist combines the expertise of urogynecologists — specialty physicians trained in the areas of urology and gynecology — as well as traditional gynecologists and colorectal surgeons to provide the most advanced care available for women and men with problems related to the lower urinary tract and the pelvic floor. The Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital is the first of its kind in the Greater Houston area and is one of the few centers in the country that offers a single-center location for the diagnosis and treatment of complex pelvic-floor disorders.
Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing sexual dysfunction at the following convenient locations: