Sexual Health Q&A

What is sexual arousal disorder?

When a woman becomes sexually aroused, her body usually experiences vaginal lubrication, some swelling, and a tingling, warm feeling in her genitals. There is also a sense of arousal in her mind.

For women with sexual arousal disorder, there are problems with the physical or mental aspect of arousal. Sometimes, the problem is with both physical and mental aspects.

For example, a woman may feel sexually aroused in her mind, but her body may not go through the physical process to prepare her for sex. Or, her body may respond, but she may not feel aroused in her mind. In other cases, neither her body nor her mind responds.

Sexual arousal disorder may be caused by an underlying illness – such as diabetes or vascular disease – that decreases physical feeling in the genitals. Hormonal imbalances, medications, and relationship issues can be other causes.

Sexual arousal disorder can be treated in many ways. Some women benefit from sex therapy, medication changes, or the use of lubricants or estrogen.