How Does Female Sexual Dysfunction Affect Mental Health?


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the definition of sexual health is the state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being concerning sexuality. Sexual dysfunction is a condition where an individual or a couple cannot derive pleasure from sex or is completely unable to do it. It can be problems with arousal, reaching orgasm, lack of desire for sex, and painful intercourse.

It can be caused by a number of factors. In females, it might be caused by a number of reasons ranging from physical conditions to emotional or mental issues. Though there are limited studies on the relation between sexual dysfunction and mental health, to an extent it has been proved that the two might be interconnected. This article discusses the relationship between female sexual dysfunction and mental health.

Causes Of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Before discussing the relationship between female sexual dysfunction and mental health, an overview of its causes will be looked at.

  • Physical or Medical Conditions

Physical condition is the first factor that affects sexual performance in women. These conditions can range from severe or chronic diseases to fatigue or tiredness. These conditions make sex painful and make it difficult for women to be aroused.

  • Changes In Hormones

The levels of estrogen can, directly and indirectly, affect sexual performance. The levels of estrogen decrease with age and with decreasing levels of estrogen the blood flow to the pelvic region also decreases. This will make it harder to reach orgasm and build arousal as well as feel pleasure. Sexual desire is also directly proportional to the levels of estrogen in the body. In a person who is not very sexually active the vaginal ling becomes thinner and less elastic leading to painful intercourse.

  • Mental Or Emotional Issues

Anxiety and depression can also affect sexual performance as individuals suffering from the condition are seen to not have the desire for sex often. The connection a woman has with her sexual partner also plays an important part in sexual performance. A healthy relationship with the partner would ensure better sex. Not being confident or having low self-esteem can also have a negative impact on sex.

  • Alcohol, Drugs, And Medication

From some studies, it was found that drinking can make orgasm harder and longer to achieve. The usage of drugs can also have the same effect and affect sexual organs and performance. Some medications might also have chemicals in them that make sex a less pleasurable experience by reducing sex drive and creating discomfort in the vagina.

Relation Between Sexual Dysfunction And Mental Health

The relationship between female sexual dysfunction and mental health is a tricky one. This is because mental health and be both the cause and effect of sexual female dysfunction. And Surprisingly enough, female sexual dysfunction and mental disorders were treated as synonymous with each other in the centuries before.

Relation Between Sexual Dysfunction And Mental Health

Even though this synonymous usage was started during the post-war era due to the important part played by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, this persisted in the recent 20th century too.

➡️Mental Or Psychological Conditions As A Cause Of Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual performance is directly associated with sexual desire. Without the desire for sex, you become less sexually active. Becoming less sexually active would result in the thinning of the vaginal lining and losing its elasticity. This makes sex less pleasurable. Mental conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression can reduce a person’s desire for sex. Feelings of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can also affect sexual performance.

➡️ Sexual Dysfunction As A Cause Of Mental Or Psychological Conditions

As already mentioned above the relationship between mental or psychological conditions and sexual performance goes both ways. Just like psychological conditions are a cause of sexual dysfunction, sexual dysfunction can also cause psychological or mental issues. Sex is a pleasurable and enjoyable experience. Getting this pleasure in life is important to everyone.

Sex also plays an important role in the relationship between romantic partners. It can mend relationships and establish stronger connections. Not being able to perform good sex can affect a person’s mental health. The difficulty in reaching orgasm or suffering from pain during intercourse makes sex an activity that is far from enjoyable. This can cause frustration and irritation and can take a toll on the mental health of a person.  

ALSO READ: How Does Diabetes Affect A Man Sexually? Understanding The Impact On Sexual Functioning


Sexual health and sexual dysfunctions though as important as other aspects of the life and body, are still not talked about openly. Many people are embarrassed to open up about their concerns regarding sex or consider it a taboo topic.

Sexual dysfunctions if not treated can lead to other conditions that are psychological like depression or anxiety. It can take a toll on a person’s relationship with their partner. These factors give evidence enough to not disregard sexual dysfunction as a matter just between the sheets. 

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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