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Womens Health

Sexual Dysfunction – A Women’s Health Issue

Sexual Dysfunction

By: Stephanie Lormand

Since the onset of the women’s movement, sexual freedom—prompted in large part by the ability for women to control their own reproductivity with hormonal birth control—has become a banner which many women wave proudly.  In theory women were no longer laying awake after an unsatisfying encounter with their now-snoring husbands.   In essence, the dissatisfying sexual relationships of my grandmother’s era were to be replaced by mutually enjoyable experiences between consenting partners.  Right?

Wrong.  A survey conducted by the American Medical Association in 1999 indicates that sexual dysfunction affects approximately 43% of women in the United States (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/281/6/537).    In general, data related to sexual dysfunction, especially for women, are limited.  The medical and pharmacological communities have made strides in treating this problem—for men—who hasn’t seen the commercial of a loving couple in side by side bathtubs gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes?  And for the heterosexual women whose dissatisfaction stemmed from a problem with their partner, this is great news.

Well, what about the rest of us?   Specifically, what happens to a woman with normal function after they have children?  I know very few women who jump back into their normal relationships after they have given birth.  Is it all related to body image?  After all, the end result of carrying a child for 10 months is not kind for many of us (no accounting for awesome genetics, personal trainers and babysitters; though I am super jealous of all of you, too.)  Is it all mental—the transition to a sexual being after fulfilling that mother role all day?  Is it physiological—the result of decreased blood flow or other vaginal changes as the result of getting aforementioned baby out of one’s body?  Or—more likely—is it a combination of the three?

Stephanie Lormand is currently a stay at home mom to two sons—3.5 and 18 months old—aka the Small People.  In her previous life she coordinated a very specific component of clinical trials which afforded her the experience of dealing with super-egos, tantrums, and uber picky people.  She was shocked to learn how applicable her work experience would be in the dealings and negotiations with the Small People.  In addition to being a successful ADHD Mom, she is a failed housekeeper, a budding gardener, a novice blogger (www.scattermom.com), and a novice crafter.

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