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AN HONEST LOOK AT SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION

Hey friends,

It’s high time we address our trouble getting down. 

Yep, I want to delve into sexual dysfunction, a topic that’s often kept behind closed doors but deserves our attention. And what better time than love month? 

One thing we need to get out of the way immediately — if you are feeling any shyness or shame around this topic, please give yourself permission to release that. 

Sex is not only a legitimate area of health that absolutely informs our quality of life… SO many people are dealing with one or more types of sexual dysfunction. 

Data supports that 43% of women and 31% of men are managing sexual dysfunction on some level or another (not including, of course, those who do not report symptoms either because they don’t recognize them or don’t feel comfortable.)

So, fairly common — yes. 

But not normal and not something we should have to live with.

Whenever I share those numbers with people, they begin wondering if they’re unknowingly experiencing an issue themselves. So, let’s break down the different types of sexual dysfunction – many of which we treat. 

Sexual dysfunction or disorders can be related to hormonal components, physical components, or psychosocial components. Certainly, our expertise is in the physical components, but we also have the resources to assist in finding the right care team for all components.

There are four categories of sexual dysfunction:

  • Desire disorders are marked by a lack of sexual desire or interest in sex.  It can be caused by hormonal imbalances, stress, depression, or relationship issues.
  • Arousal disorders involve the inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity. This can be due to a range of causes, including medication side effects, hormonal issues, anxiety, or physical factors such as nerve damage.
  • Orgasm disorders present in the delay or absence of orgasm, which can be caused by a range of physical and psychological factors. An issue we frequently see and treat is anorgasmia, which is the difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm despite adequate sexual stimulation. 
  • Pain disorders are pain during intercourse and include common conditions such as vaginismus, vulvodynia, or dyspareunia. 

Other issues like pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal dryness due to (peri)menopause, and incontinence — which themselves are not classified as a sexual dysfunction — can certainly impact sexual function and comfort as well. Childbirth, trauma, or surgery are also expected common causes of painful sex. 

Pelvic floor physical therapy can help both men and women with sexual dysfunction, particularly those experiencing arousal and pain disorders. 

Through personalized care plans of integrative and manual techniques, pelvic floor physical therapy can release tension in the pelvic floor muscles, restore strength, improve blood flow, and manage scar tissue, among other benefits. 

And while we are not psychologists or counselors by trade, at Indigo, we’re always mindful of the emotional aspects at play. 

We believe that emotional support really has to go beyond training* and methodologies and intentionally keep this central to the design of our spaces and client experience. This, in turn, promotes privacy and relaxation and fosters a sense of safety and support. 

We also have a select network of vetted and trusted mental health practitioners who specialize in sexual dysfunction and its implications on mental health. 

So, please – if you think you or your partner may be managing sexual dysfunction, don’t shy away. We’re here for you. 

Dr. Sam

P.S. We’re also going to be posting loads of sexual health content over the month of February, so follow along, tag someone you care about, and share to help normalize this essential area of care. 

*As a part of Indigo’s standard onboarding experience, all Indigo practitioners receive training in trauma and sexual assault to ensure a consistent level of trust and credibility across all of our teams and locations. 

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