Q. Does hormonal imbalance interfere with sexual satisfaction?
Perimenopause and menopause surgeries that remove bilateral ovaries that secrete the sex hormones can result in vaginal dryness, causing painful sexual intercourse which may make women avoid sex completely.But this can be prevented by using a lubricant or an estrogen containing gel around the vaginal area or using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). But before using any of them, consulting a gynecologist is advisable.
Q. Is pregnancy a cause for sexual dysfunction?
A lot of pregnant women worry about having sex thinking that it will harm the fetus. But this is not true. They can continue having sexual intercourse, but may sometimes need to change the positions so they can avoid pressing on the protruding abdomen.
Q. Do Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and heart disease interfere with sexual activities?
Yes, they can interfere with sexual activity by reducing the desire. Cancer can cause discomfort and fatigue due to the disease as well as medication. Breast surgery for cancer results in changes in body image. Diabetes impairs arousal and ability to experience orgasm. Arthritis and heart disease may reduce the physical ability to engage in sex and psychiatric problems due to disease or medications can affect a person’s sexual relationships.
Q. What about medications?
Some medications also can reduce the sex drive and make the vagina dry thereby reducing the desire to have sexual contact (anti psychotics and anti depressants).
Q. How do Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STIs) affect a person’s sexual activities?
STIs can cause sexual problems due to discharge, small lesions and redness on the vaginal area. Women avoid intercourse when they have such conditions because of the pains they experience during the intercourse.
Q. How do male impotency and other problems in men during sex affect women?
Male sexual dysfunctions may also have some negative effects on women’s sex lives. In the case of premature ejaculation (ejaculating too early) the woman may feel unsatisfied. Some men due to their inability to get an erection may avoid having sex or postpone it daily where the women may also, after sometime, avoid sexual activities or may look to other men.
Q. What about attitudes to sex? Some women, because they are brought up in conservative households or due to bad experiences think sex is shameful or bad?
This is sometimes observed in relationships. Especially if women had a bad experience during their childhood, they would perceive sexual relationships negatively. They may also experience pain during sexual intercourse. Some such women get vaginismus and they do not allow their partners to have sex with them even after many years of marriage.
Q. How important is knowledge about sex in minimizing women’s sexual problems?
Just knowledge is not enough. They need to have accurate knowledge to understand sex and sexuality. They must know the difference between men and women not only physically, but also psychologically and the way they are aroused and way they act.
Q. what is the role of cultural beliefs about sex, especially with african women?
In Africa cultures, sex is seen as a taboo subject. The kids are sometimes not taught the physical and psychological changes taking place in their body by their parents. Most start learning this after marriage or during a relationship. As this subject is not spoken about openly, particularly women are very shy even to talk about it with their partners. Specially what they like and dislike and what they want from a relationship as they feel speaking openly may brand them a woman with ‘bad characters’. This sometimes inhibits the woman even more in showing her desires.
Q. How can sexual problems be resolved?
For solving all sexual problems, medicine is not essential. Simple counseling and discussions between partners is enough to identify the problems and come up with solutions. There are doctors trained on psychosexual medicine as well as sexual health specialists and psychologists. If any women feel that she has a change in her sexual behavior or relationship, she should seek help soon rather than waiting till it escalates.