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Women's Sexual Health > Female Sexual Dysfunction

Women, are you suffering from anxiety? Do you find yourself so full of worries throughout the day that you can't concentrate? Do you always fear that something bad will happen to someone you love? Do you consider yourself a "worrier"?

May 4, 2005, is National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day. This is a national event where hospitals and mental health treatment centers all over the country provide free screening for anxiety, a day to stop in your daily routine and take a few minutes to do a "mental health check-in" and see if you are one of the millions and millions of people in the United States who are struggling with a diagnosable and treatable anxiety disorder.

But it's not a one day thing. Ask yourself, are you anxious, worried, or panicky.

If so, take the time to use the resources which are available at the end of this article to identify and make plans to get treatment for anxiety disorders which are ruining the quality of your life. There are many different anxiety disorders, and there are excellent sites on the internet which can help you decide if you have one.

For your sake, check them out after reading this article for useful information. This is a good time to to learn about a particular anxiety disorder which causes havoc in lives and ruins sex lives as well.

If you recognized yourself in the questions at the beginning of this article,answered two or more yes, you should contract a health care professional to see if you have a very common condition Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

GAD is a disorder characterized by long periods chronic anxiety and worry, which you can't control. Sometimes, the anxiety has specific focuses, such as work, relationships, finances, looming deadlines, or potential problems in your life or the lives of others. Other times, you will feel anxious, but not be able to figure out what you are actually anxious about.

Generalized anxiety disorder affects four to five million Americans and research shows that it affects about two women for every one man (Brawman-Mintzer O, Lydiard RB, 1996), with the median age of onset occurring during the early 20s.
(Rickels K, Schweitzer, E., 1990.)

One of the little recognized side effects of GAD is the chilling effect it has on a woman's sexuality. Typically, women with GAD do not even recognize that they have a psychological problem. They just think of themselves as "worriers." They tend to come from families of "worriers" as well, so they tend to believe that their emotional lifestyle and their thinking patterns are normal.

In more than 30 years in clinical practice, I have never met a woman in a stable, long term relationship who has untreated GAD and who is able to enjoy sex! Generalized anxiety disorder is poison for women's sexual pleasure.

There are several reasons why this is so. They are all related to the GAD- woman's inability to control her own thoughts and to focus her positive energy toward her sexual self for a sustained period of time. Being a sexual person is not just a natural process. Many times it is a learning process, and it takes focus. Let's take a look at how sexual relationships unfold for women without GAD and compare it to the process when a woman does have GAD.

In the beginning, the experience of being in love is the same for all of us, male and female, GAD-sufferers or not.

Many of us have had the experience of falling in love. In the early stages of being in love, men and women have basically become deluded. One of my friends used to say that people in love are in a psychotic state. We believe, insanely, that we have just found the PERFECT person, the person we were meant to be with.

We believe that IF we are united with that person for good, the rest of our life will be just as we wanted it to be. We feel we are destined to be with that person and with no one else. We are desperate when we are separated from them, and devour them greedily when we meet up again. We lose our appetite for food. Our appetite for sex with them is insatiable. We often can't wait to touch them. We don't know if they love us as much as we love them. We're obsessed with the idea of being with them.

When we are first in love, powerful chemicals are released in our body, which make us crave our beloved's touch and inflame sexual desire. (Fisher, 1992) This desire needs no coaxing, it just "is." The process is so powerful it eclipses the worry process of GAD. Sex is great.

But eventually, for all of us, GAD sufferers or not, if we do wind up with the person with whom we were so besotted, we get used to them! Their newness wears off, chemically. Their newness wears off psychologically, too, and we see their little quirks and faults. At this stage, the phenomenon of unremitting sexual desire changes too, particularly for women.

As men and women know, or are learning, women's sexuality is not exactly the same as men's sexuality. In fact, it is quite different, especially in long-term relationships. Many men, especially young men, continue to have a sexual drive that has a mind of it's own. Desire comes unbidden, sometimes in the midst of a flurry of other necessary activity (like getting ready for a vacation, or doing your taxes.), or in the middle of a time of little or no emotional connection between the two of you.

Past the falling in love stage, most women report that even if they love their partner madly, there may be less of an experience of intense, out-of-the-blue "lust" for their partners that pulls them out of their daily lives and demands to be satiated. At times, it is more as if desire appears on little cat feet, a soft feeling of psychological and physical anticipation of sharing pleasure with a loved partner. That desire and arousal needs to be nurtured psychologically, and it needs to be nurtured physically.

You might wonder what I mean when I say that desire "needs to be nurtured physically."

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