Merck Manual

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What Affects Sexual Function in Women?

What Affects Sexual Function in Women?

Type

Factor

Psychologic factors

Abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) during childhood or adolescence

Anxiety

Depression

Fear of intimacy

Fear of losing control

Fear of losing the partner

Low self-esteem

Worry about inability to have an orgasm or about sexual performance in a partner

Worry about unwanted consequences of sex (such as unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases)

Situational factors

Cultural background that restricts sexual expression or activity

Distractions

Relationship problems

Surroundings that are not conducive to sexual activity

Physical factors

Abnormalities in genital organs (such as scarring after surgery or radiation therapy)

Atrophic vaginitis (thinning of tissues of the vagina)

Changes in the skin around the opening of the vagina area (such as lichen sclerosus)

Infections of the genital area (such as genital herpes) or of the vagina

Fatigue

Hyperprolactinemia (high levels of prolactin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland)

Poor health

Surgical removal of both ovaries in premenopausal women

Thyroid disorders

Some nerve disorders, such as multiple sclerosis

Drugs

Alcohol

Anticonvulsants

Beta-blockers (used to treat hypertension or heart disorders)

Certain antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Opioids