Arousal and anxiety in women.

Arousal in women is typically marked by a woman’s ability to lubricate. Physiologically, many things are happening to create a physical response. I have found in my work at the Center that that physical response is extremely important to women. Though arousal may be harder to physically detect in a woman than in a man, it is actually key to creating a satisfying sexual experience. Many women buy lubricants and use them to enhance their sexual activities, however one’s natural ability to lubricate can definitely help or hurt a sexual encounter. I have come to realize the emotional impact this can have on the way a woman views herself sexually and on the potential amount of anxiety she may experience during sex.

Some times it is hard to determine if the lack of arousal is the cause or result of the anxiety. “In a large community epidemiological survey, Dunn, Croft and Hackett (1999) reported that women with moderate to high scores on a self-report measure of anxiety were at a significantly higher risk for a number of sexual problems, but particularly for arousal difficulties.” (Bradford and Meston, “Behaviour Research and Therapy”, 2006) Many factors can create a decrease in arousal: anxiety, stress, medications, hormonal shifts, and relationship issues. All these aspects can be treated separately or together. But in regards to anxiety, I find that just normalizing the awkwardness and often difficult or uncomfortable aspects of sex can go a long way towards allowing women to relax, get turned on and have a good sexual experience.

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