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Do women have erectile dysfunction?

Written by Funmi Akingbade
~Punch Nigeria. Friday, September 9, 2016.

Funmi Akingbade
There has been a lot of controversy over the subject of erectile dysfunction in women. Some groups of researchers say women do not have this type of complications. They argue that women do not have erection challenges; hence they could not possibly have issues with erectile dysfunction. But another group of sex and sexuality scholars believe that women actually undergo erectile dysfunction. They argue that the clitoris has same properties with the nerves of the penis. According to them, clitoris responds to sex like the penis.

While research suggests that sexual erectile dysfunction is more common in men, 43 per cent of women have reported some degree of this problem. I must say that it is actually a topic that many women are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Fortunately, most cases of erectile sexual dysfunction in women are traceable to ignorance, lack of desire, childhood sexual abuse, mind-set, hormonal problems, premenopausal issues, depression, medication, unhappy marital relationship and sicknesses. Female sexual dysfunction can also be as a result of a physical or psychological problem. These conditions include diabetes, heart disease, neurological diseases, hormonal imbalances, menopause, plus such chronic diseases as kidney disease or liver failure, and alcoholism or drug abuse. In addition, the side effects of certain medications, including some antidepressant drugs, can affect sexual desire and function. Psychological causes include work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, or the effects of a past sexual trauma.

The most common problems related to erectile sexual dysfunction in women include inhibited sexual desire, which involves a lack of sexual desire or interest in sex. Of course, many factors can contribute to a lack of desire, including hormonal changes, medical conditions and treatments (for example, some menstrual pain drugs, cancer and chemotherapy), depression, pregnancy, stress, and fatigue. Ironically, even boredom with regular sexual routines may also contribute to a lack of enthusiasm for sex; lifestyle factors such as careers, the care for children and family life can also cause it. 

The inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity with many African wives has actually be en traced to a feeling of not getting enough love, attention and affection from their husbands or sense of rejection by husband's family. This inability also may be related to anxiety or inadequate spiritual, soul and bodily participation. 
In addition, researchers are investigating how blood flow problems affecting the vagina and clitoris may contribute to arousal problems. Lack of orgasm (anorgasmia which is the absence of sexual climax, orgasm in women) can also be caused by a woman's sexual inhibition, inexperience, lack of knowledge and psychological factors such as anxiety, fear of sex or a past sexual trauma or abuse. Other factors contributing to anorgasmia include insufficient foreplay and clitoral stimulation, certain medications and chronic diseases. Another reason can also be pain during intercourse and this can actually be caused by a number of problems, including endometriosis, a pelvic mass, ovarian cysts, vaginitis, poor lubrication, the presence of scar tissue from surgery, especially badly managed episiotomy or a sexually transmitted disease. Another cause of this is a condition called vaginismus and this condition is very common in Africa which is a painful, involuntary spasm of the muscles that surround the vaginal entrance. It may occur in women who fear that penetration will be painful. It may stem from a sexual phobia or a previous traumatic or painful experience.

Aside from treating every disease, illness and medical challenge, my response to all husbands desperately looking for a way out of their wives' erectile sexual dysfunctions and challenge is simply this; give your wife lots and lots of love, affection, attention, good romance along excellent foreplay or love play. By this, almost half of the job is done. Then on the part of the wives, I always encourage them to try and explore every sexual arousal available. The truth of the matter is that your body, especially your sexual organs, may feel different from the way they normally should and your response and arousal may be problematic. But if you take time to put your mind into wanting to improve, you will solve almost all the problems.

I recommend that you stay very close to your husband, lock the bedroom door, relax, and take up to 15 minutes and let your husband feel every part of your body by just caressing it.
While he is caressing you, try and figure out what feels good, what doesn't, and what hurts. This is just about taking stock of what your body feels while you are with your husband. Share what you've learned. Once you have a sense of what feels good, tell your husband, who may have been nervous or worried about accidentally hurting you or not getting you aroused enough. Besides, one major trial you have to overcome is fear; you have to be bold in the bedroom. See your erectile sexual dysfunction as an opportunity to try different things in bed. Try new positions. Your old standbys, like the missionary position, may be too conventional; try something comfortable and at the same time fantastic. Whenever you feel some pain [which most times are psychosomatically induced], you can go ahead and use pillows or rolled-up towels to support parts of your body to make you more comfortable. Also try oral sex or let your husband use his hands more on your breasts, nipples, clitoris, the tip of your vagina and even a good 'G' spot caressing.

Vaginal dryness can subtly be a major common symptom of female erectile dysfunction. So, buy a water-based lubricant and use a lot of it. I also want to encourage wives in this category to try and redefine sex. By trying to focus more on the experience and less on checking off the perfectness, sex doesn't mean you have to have intercourse. You and your husband don't have to climax. You can still have an intimate – and sexy – experience. Many wives with erectile dysfunction challenges do not take time to actually prepare for sex because they have programmed that there is a problem. You have to prepare. Good sex doesn't have to be spontaneous. Plan ahead. Decide on a day and time. Anticipation might build your excitement and kill dysfunction of any kind of whatever level. Choose the time of day when you feel best. For instance, you may have more energy in the morning than at night. Do not frustrate your husband; do everything and all things to work on your mind, when you trash the organic problems, illnesses and diseases always give way and many wives have a good story to tell.

Wives, please never live in a mirage, believing that men would always want sex. Yes, they may but when constant, continual, daily sexual frustration sets into your marriage relationship, many husbands lose interest in sex and would barely ever initiate sex anymore. This is done sometime in order to escape the vulnerability of being the initiator or simply to take a break from depending on their wives to meet their sexual needs, so seeking sexual fulfilment elsewhere. Often high percentage of such men use pornography because they may think it's easy, exciting or efficient, but at the same time, destructive. Many argue that it spares them the sexual negotiation with un-sensitive wives.

And sometimes, some husbands could lose attraction for their wives after many months or years of frigidity or lack of cooperation as a result of sexual dysfunction; they no longer want to have sex with them - this is true. But it's important to remember that, in long-term marital relationship, attraction is a complex emotion - it's a mix of visual pleasure and sexual chemistry, as well as feelings about the relationship. Loss of attraction can also be a psychological defence. If a husband is feeling suffocated by the lack of sensitivity of the wife, he may experience loss of attraction as a way to create some space and avoid the closeness that sex brings. And believe you me, when a man lacks attraction for his wife, his prostate suffers and low testosterone sets in. The psychology of low testosterone in husbands of wives with erectile sexual dysfunction is this: While they are still willing to have sex and looking for solution to their wives' sexual challenges, most of these men have a great supply of testosterone, the "hungry-for-sex" hormone, all their lives. But when interest is lost due to prolonged need for sex, the desire begins to wane leading to reduced desire and often poorer erections.

Whatever your sexual challenge as a wife, never allow boredom in your bedroom. The truth is, sometimes men want to just have good sex when they feel the urge. With a body full of testosterone, it can be discouraging when they have a wife who cannot fathom what it feels like to ignite instantaneously. And when a husband hears his partner's complaint of "all you want is sex," it can feel like male-bashing. The truth is, while he desperately wants sex and is physiologically programmed to want sex, he wants sex with you his wife specifically, and also wants you to express both desire and love in spite of your sexual challenges. Occasionally, husbands need reciprocity of pure lust: "You want it, so I want it!" They'd love an aggressive wife, who would put her problems aside, be a wild animal for a moment, an uninhibited encounter that is free.

Questions and answers

My husband compares me with porn stars
From the look of things, it seems my husband compares me with women in porn movies, don't you think he is being unrealistic?

Mrs Faith Apeojuha
From a realistic point of view, most men do not wish their wives look like those women. Rather they wish their wives were as comfortable with their bodies and with sex. Women are a lot harder on themselves than men are. All you need is a heart and body that is soft, smells and tastes good. Keep the sex bed adventurous and hot. As much as you can, put on seductive outfit you feel comfortable in and forget the elaborate bustier. Not all husbands are into lingerie, and there is nothing worse than squeezing into some skimpy things.

Is sex a do or die thing?
You talk about sex as if it must be a do or die thing between couples; can't a couple be happy without sex?

Mrs. Wemimo Yellow
As a sex therapist, I can tell you that when a couple who have not been sexually active suddenly have a good experience, you can see the difference. They come in laughing and talking; there is definitely more physical affection between them. It is better than any therapy you can ever imagine. On the other hand, there are couples out there who simply do not care very much about sex. In addition, there are more sexless marriages than you would think of. However, relationships that are bonded, loving and devoted have the basic ingredient in them and that is committed sexual union. For many spouses who do not see any big deal about sex in marriage, I need to say that such people should not have got into marriage at all, because sex in marriage is one of the reasons for a good marriage. If you are not ready for sex in marriage, don't go into one.

Don't I deserve a sex break?
I just gave birth to our first child, I have no sexual feeling and I feel sex should be on hold for now because I am always feeling tired but my husband has a different opinion. Don't you think he should be considerate? He behaves as if sex is a lifeline.

Nursing mother
For nursing mothers, sheer fatigue is perhaps the biggest roadblock to feeling sexy again, especially at the beginning when a new baby is usually awake to feed every two or three hours around the clock. This pattern can go on for months. About 30 per cent of babies still aren't sleeping through the night by the first nine months. But men are still more likely to be interested in sex. To them, it's often a way to relax and help feel emotionally close to their wives and they don't need much of a warm-up before diving into sex. In contrast, nursing mothers need some comforting talk and foreplay to become aroused. If fatigue is what's keeping you from getting your sex life back, the first thing to do is talk with your husband about it. Then do some creative problem solving. I suggest you ask your husband or any trustworthy close relative to watch the baby, so you can rest and get into the mood. Also, aim for early morning sex, when you've both had a chance to catch some sleep.
There is a need to watch out for your mood also because hormones are part of the sex problem; estrogen levels go down after delivery. This can cause a shortage of vaginal lubrication which can make sex painful or less pleasurable. Hormonal changes after childbirth might also be related to postpartum depression which can harm sexual desire. These feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability may last for a few weeks or even months. Constant nursing or pumping milk can make your breasts feel so tender and nursing mothers don't usually want to be touched there.

My wife doesn't appeal to me sexually
For some times now, I have been having erectile dysfunction and my wife no longer appeals to me sexually. It looks like I'd have to take pills for the rest of my life. My friends said it is more common among older men, and that I just have to live with it. Recently, I tried having sex with another woman and I immediately got an instant hard on erection. Why do I have to get an erection with someone else and not with my wife?

Mr. Solomon Zach
It's not unusual for older men to need more stimulation to help get them aroused than they did when they were younger. But there's no reason you should accept a lack of sexual function as one of the inevitable consequences of getting older, because there is cure. Many men are able to get erections and enjoy sex well into their senior years and there's no reason that you can't be one of them. There are many reasons why a man might experience erection problems, although lack of sexual attraction towards one's wife might be one of them but definitely not the major reason. Having one night stand with some other woman apart from your wife would not actually solve the problem, reason being that the same thing will occur again with the other woman after you must have got used to having sex with her. What you need to do is to get some cure and bring your wife's sexual performance to match your sexual fantasy level. This will increase your attraction towards her and revive sexual passion in you.

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