3 Ways to Put the Wow! Back in Your Sex Life
Having trouble getting aroused? Rekindle your desire with these life-changing treatments.
A woman’s brain is such an integral part of sexual arousal that experts say some women can reach an orgasm with sexual thoughts alone. But the opposite is also possible: Women with female sexual arousal disorder can’t get excited enough to even have sex.
Women who are affected by this sex disorder don’t experience swelling and lubrication of the genitals when they’re sexually stimulated, says psychologist and sex therapist Stephanie Buehler, PsyD, author of Sex, Love, & Mental Illness: A Couple’s Guide to Staying Connected and director of the Buehler Institute in Irvine, Calif.
Fortunately, there are many approaches that can help you overcome sexual arousal problems.
Sex Therapy for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
Sex therapy is an integral part of treatment for female sexual arousal disorder. Explains Dr. Buehler, “For most women, arousal is a psychological, subjective experience.” So it makes sense that treating any psychological aspects responsible for a lack of arousal will be the most important part of overcoming the disorder.
A certified sex therapist can help women and their partners:
1.Better understand the role of foreplay in arousal
2.Talk about past trauma that may leave a woman too emotionally and physically numb to experience arousal
3.Explore how a woman’s upbringing about sex may be causing negative thoughts about being sexual
4.Get over feeling embarrassed about the body or sexual pleasure
5.Get treated for depression, anxiety, or another mental illness that can inhibit arousal
Pros: Sex therapists can do everything from helping to solve relationship issues that may lead to arousal problems to helping change a couple’s sexual routines in order to spark arousal.
Cons: Sex therapy can be expensive — about $150 a session, depending on where you live. Health insurance may cover the cost in some cases, but if not and cost is an issue, consider a sex therapy clinic, which tends to cost less than going to a private therapist.
Hormone Therapy for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
If dryness or problems with elasticity are making sex painful and interfering with arousal and libido, your doctor may recommend using an estrogen product — available as a cream, patch, ring, tablet, or oral pill — to help with lubrication. Some doctors also prescribe testosterone therapy to boost women’s libido, although it’s an off-label use because testosterone hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women.
Pros: Hormones can be effective in helping treat vaginal dryness and increase desire and arousal.
Cons: There are concerns that hormone therapy, both estrogen and testosterone, can increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. These risks must be considered when you’re talking about therapy with your doctor.
Hormone therapy tends to be covered by insurance, but if you have to pay full price out-of-pocket, a tube of estrogen cream costs more than $100 and the estrogen ring can cost almost $200.
Clitoral Therapy for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
An FDA-approved device called Eros Clitoral Therapy uses a vacuum system to help engorge the clitoris and increase arousal.
Pros: Small studies have found that Eros really does increase arousal in women who have a sexual dysfunction.
Cons: The device costs about $400 and you’ll need a prescription to get it in the United States. However, the company that makes it says some insurance companies may cover it.
Another option that may help with arousal is an all-natural botanical fluid called Zestra, which causes tingling near the clitoris and can help with arousal. A study of 256 women ages 21 to 65 with sex disorders found that using the cream for 16 weeks significantly increased desire and arousal.
Pros: You can easily find it at the drugstore and it’s inexpensive — less than $10 for a package with three doses.
Cons: Some women may experience mild or moderate burning when they use Zestra.
An arousal disorder doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life. Working toward increasing your arousal in a variety of ways can help make sex an integral part of your life again.