How to Find Your Orgasm

Find out whether it’s normal to not have orgasms, and find out what you can do about it.

Sanaz Majd, MD,
January 26, 2011

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How to Treat Sexual Dysfunction without Medication

I know sometimes we just want a “quick fix,” however there really is no easy solution when it comes to sexual dysfunction. Female sexual dysfunction is often complex and is caused by many different factors that all contribute to the process. These factors can include:

  • depression and anxiety,

  • life stressors,

  • interpersonal conflict between the couple,

  • medication side effects,

  • age,

  • religious concerns,

  • personal health,

  • privacy issues,

  • personal body image,

  • substance and alcohol abuse, and

  • hormonal influences. 

So because it is so complex, sometimes it’s not that easily “fixable.” 

The first step in treatment is to definitely consider some medication-free options:

  1. Stop the offending medications: There are certain blood pressure medications and antidepressants that can potentially interfere with the sexual functioning. It’s important to reveal and review all of your medications with your doctor to make sure you’re not taking something that could be contributing to the dysfunction. (but please don’t stop any medicines without first talking to your doctor)

  2. Lubrication: For those who experience pain or discomfort, it’s important to lube it up! Now there’s even a heating preparation that literally helps to warm the insides, adding to a more pleasurable experience for some. Lubrication can help in those whose vaginal glands take a tad longer to coat the lining. The dryer the insides, the more discomfort some women experience with intercourse. Lubrication is purchased over-the-counter at the drug store or pharmacy.

  3. Lifestyle changes: There are many factors that can affect our “mood” and libido, such as lack of privacy (especially in those couples with children), a negative body image, and high level of stress. So sometimes fixing the problem can be as simple as finding a babysitter and arranging a “date night” with our significant other. And sometimes regular exercise, relaxation techniques, meditation, and yoga can help us de-stress our lives so we can enjoy sexual intimacy. 

  4. Counseling: For couples experiencing a bump in the road, or for those women with anxiety or depression, counseling can be quite helpful to bring your mojo back. Your libido may be non-existent unless you can find a way to solve the interpersonal conflict and improve the relationship.

  5. Sex TherapySome insurance plans cover a visit to the sex therapist, who may be a physician, psychologist, or highly-trained social worker. You can find a certified sex therapist through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists at: www.aasect.org.

  6. Devices: There is also a device called a clitoral suction vacuum that is FDA approved for those with female sexual dysfunction. This is similar to the device designed for males that allows better genital blood flow. However, it may be no more effective than other less costly devices, such as the vibrator.

Medications for Female Sexual Dysfunction

If the medication-free treatments for sexual dysfunction are simply not enough, there are medications you can discuss with your doctor. However, it’s important to know three points about them: 

  1. Many of them are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Association (FDA)

  2. Research studies performed on these medications are limited

  3. There is no long-term research completed on these methods

With that said, here are some of the more common treatments of female sexual dysfunction:

  • Testosterone Creams: There is a 1% compounded cream that can be applied to the skin or the clitorus daily. However, it is usually given to women after menopause because testosterone  may cause complications in the fetus of child-bearing women who become pregnant.

  • Estrogen Creams: In postmenopausal women with vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse, there are various estrogen vaginal creams that can improve symptoms after four to eight weeks of consistent use. It should not be given to those with a history of any female cancers.

  • Non-Hormonal treatments: The antidepressant buproprion has been shown some limited effectiveness in those with sexual dysfunction, even in those without depression. Also, Zestra T oil is an herbal feminine massage oil that is applied to the female genitals that may help some people. Viagra is an oral medication used in men with sexual dysfunction, but it’s not currently approved for women at this time.

Sexual dysfunction can be a hard problem to talk about, but you should never hesitate to bring up your concerns with your doctor who will be there to help you.

And remember, only abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. If you have sex, please use a condom.

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Woman in Bed image courtesy of Shutterstock