Woman turning her head in frustration
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

8 sexual difficulties faced by women

Sexual difficulties are very common among women of all ages. Having trouble reaching orgasm is one of the most frequent problems women experience.

You don’t need to be embarrassed when you experience sexual difficulties. Many women feel inadequate when they admit that something isn’t quite right in bed. Yet other women think their job is to please their partner, and therefore they shouldn’t complain about pain or discomfort.

But that’s not the case: women have the right to a pain-free, fun, and pleasurable sex life. So don’t hesitate to see a healthcare professional if you have issues.

Common problems for women have to do with orgasms – not being able to have one, or having it way later than expected.

But, interestingly enough, most sexual difficulties for women are described by their symptoms, such as pain or dryness. While men’s conditions are actually given names, such as premature ejaculation.

4 main causes of sexual difficulties

1. Painful sex

Painful sex is quite common and can have many different causes – from having an infection to psychological trauma. If the pain is physical, it’s sometimes called dyspareunia
Dryness and vaginism can be two very specific causes of painful intercourse.

The pain can be around any part of the vagina and vulva, anywhere on the outside or the inside. It can happen during or after sex.

Pain can lead to women losing interest in sex. This is understandable since why would you do something that causes unwanted pain?

So before pain can destroy your desires, see a healthcare professional to access the causes of your pain and seek treatment accordingly.

Because there are many different origins of the pain, the treatment will depend on your personal situation.

2. Low libido

Having low libido means that you have no or almost no sexual desire. This can be either temporary or last for longer periods of time.

Low libido is often caused by psychological factors, such as not feeling good about yourself, relationship problems, or fears associated with making love.

Low libido is very common. Many women experience it after giving birth. Smoking and drugs can also play a role, as can some medications.

Stress and depression can also play a factor when it comes to low desire.

Women with low desire will often shy away from initiating any kind of sexual contact and avoid the topic of sex with their partner. If they try to have sex, they might be having trouble getting aroused or relaxing.

In order to treat low libido, a healthcare provider will first need to figure out what causes the problem, and then develop a treatment plan based on this. This can involve psychological care or a change in medication.

3. Vaginal Dryness

Problems with lubrication can affect women of all ages.

There are many different causes of dryness, from being dehydrated to hormonal imbalances.

Dryness can cause sex to be uncomfortable or even painful, and, if it happens frequently, can affect the want to have sex.

Using lubricants can be a great short-term solution. But you should also see a healthcare provider to the bottom of the problem if it happens over longer periods of time.

Women generally also take longer than men to get aroused, so having more and longer foreplay and waiting until both partners are aroused may also help with dryness.

4. Orgasms and arousal problems

Some women aren’t able to get aroused. This can be related to having low libido. Sometimes, a woman feels desire but the physical response is missing. Both can be distressing for both partners.

Illnesses such as diabetes or arthritis can cause blood flow to the genitals to decrease; which means the physical signs of arousal aren’t happening.

Orgasms can also cause problems. They can either be delayed (it takes a long time to orgasm), or a woman may be unable to reach an orgasm altogether.

Women don’t always know how to get themselves to the point of orgasm. Getting to know your body, with your partner or through masturbation, can help. It’s okay to ask for your needs to be met.

Also, sometimes it’s a mental block, especially when women have been told it’s not okay for them to enjoy sex. Try to read up about enjoying sex and pleasure. Or talk to someone you trust about your concerns.

Other causes:

5. Hysterectomy

Having your uterus removed may cause a number of changes to a woman’s sex life.
She may experience a decrease in libido, problems with lubrication, and less sensation when having sex.

These changes can be due to tissue damage caused by the surgery or the hormonal changes associated with the procedure.

6. Contraception

Some birth control methods, especially hormonal ones, can impact a woman’s sex life. Many changes are known side-effects of family planning methods and they often go away or decrease with time.

Common changes include a decrease in desire and dryness.

If the problem does not go away, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider and discuss steps forward.

7. Giving birth

It can take up to a few months after giving birth until a woman is ready for sex again. And it can be and feel different than it was before.

This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, but you might have to adjust some expectations or change some things around.

Read more about sex after having a baby here.

8. Menopause

Because women produce less estrogen after going through menopause, difficulties may arise. Lack of desire is often associated with mood swings that come with hormonal changes. Dryness and decreased sensation can also occur. Hormonal replacement therapy can be a good treatment option.

Common causes and solutions

What you will have to resolve the problem depends on the sexual difficulty. Below we cover the most common conditions, their causes, and their treatments.

Some sexual difficulties are related to unhealthy lifestyle choices and can be prevented by leading a healthy life: eating a balanced diet, exercising, not smoking, and minimizing alcohol consumption. Basically, anything that is good for your overall health is generally good for your sexual health. But of course, living a healthy life does not mean you will be immune to having issues in bed – but it might reduce the risk.

When seeing a healthcare provider for issues, the doctor will likely ask you a lot of questions about your sexual, physical, and emotional health. The diagnosis will be made a lot easier if you answer these questions as honestly and in-depth as you can – even though it might feel awkward. The doctor will also likely examine you. Don’t be ashamed or afraid. Remember: it’s very common to have problems and you are doing the right thing by getting them treated.

What you will have to resolve the problem depends on the sexual difficulty. Below we cover the most common conditions, their causes, and their treatments.

Remember!
Sexual difficulties affect both partners!

Having sexual health issues will obviously have a negative effect on your sex life. If a woman is always worried about being in pain, it’s going to be difficult for her to relax and fully enjoy the experience – and that also means her partner might get stressed. The couple might even end up avoiding sex altogether and even intimacy in general – leaving everybody frustrated and unsatisfied.

So it’s good to address any issues as soon as they arise.

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (143)

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  2. Can you make love if your…
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      1. Hey Sara, what can we do for…
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    2. Hey Belly,…
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      https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/orgasms/her-orgasms
      https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/orgasms/his-orgasms

  3. Hey..I think I’ve reached…
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    1. Hey Shakila,…
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      1. Vaginal dryness and lack of…
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        1. Hi Shaky, 

          Vaginal dryness…

          Hi Shaky, 

          Vaginal dryness affects some women at various stages of their lives. There are a few things that can cause vaginal dryness. The most important first step is to find out the cause after this you can come up with a solution. Examples of such causes include certain contraceptives, certain medications, use of some products around your vagina, menopause, etc. Read this article to find out more: Why is my vagina dry? If symptoms persist after trying the tips given in the article, you need to see your gynaecologist for a complete diagnosis.

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  4. What does it mean or need to…
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    1. Thank you for the feedback.
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  5. I have dry vaginal I do…
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    1. Hi Nna, Arousal is key since…
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      Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/orgasms/her-orgasms
      https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/painful-sex-time-to-listen-up

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  7. I just dont like sex..what…
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  8. I have a problem whenever …
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  9. Ienjoy making love but my…
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    1. Hi Kish, You need to talk to…
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  10. I usually feel pain …
    I usually feel pain
    wen having sex wat causes

    1. Hi Lilian, So sorry about…
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  11. There’s nno medications for…
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  12. Hi.I hv a quiz.is it true…
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  13. Hi,whenever ihve sex wth mi…
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    1. Hi Jennie, So sorry about…
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  14. I had orgasm with my 1st boy…
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    1. Hey Kanjie, Now that you…
      Hey Kanjie, Now that you have had an orgasm in the past you just need to share with your partner what he needs to do to get you to orgasm. Talking about sex goes along way in making the experience better for you both. Find a good time and talk about this, remember the intention is not to criticize but to look at how make it better for you two. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

  15. I always desire to talk to…
    I always desire to talk to my partner about what I like during sex but he has no time to listen.My first sex experience was with him but it was real pain. How can I convince him on importance of foreplay and not just penetration?

    1. Caro, sorry about this. Sex…
      Caro, sorry about this. Sex should be pleasurable and enjoyable for both partners. Maybe if your partner knew that intercourse or penetration without foreplay causes you pain and not pleasure it may help to get him to want to start with foreplay. You can even share with him exactly what you would want. Have a look at this article for more tips;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

  16. Hi am sexually active but…
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    Kui

    1. Hi Kui, intimacy is an…
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  17. I always feel pain while…
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  18. Itz and helping discuss l…
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  19. is it good to kiss vagina of…
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  20. after having sex with my bf…
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  21. Hello Maggy, it is important…

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  22. wenever we meet with ma boy…
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    1. Hey Lox, the decision of…

      Hey Lox, the decision of when to have sex and with whom to have it is entirely yours. If you don’t feel ready to have sex, do let him know you are not ready. If he truly cares for you he will respect your choice even if he doesn’t like it. When you are ready and do choose to have sex, it will be important to choose and use a method that will help prevent unplanned pregnancies and also Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs). Condoms are a great choice, since when correctly used they will prevent both unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Find a good time and talk about this with your partner so that together you can agree how to proceed. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/virginity/are-you-really-ready-to-have-sex

  23. Hi, my partner don’t like…
    Hi, my partner don’t like she complain about pain during sex what can I do?

    1. Hello Dan, sex should be…

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  24. Hi,I have never had an…
    Hi,I have never had an orgasm what could be the cause and how can I get help?? I do enjoy sex but have never reached to the climax I always fake it

    1. Hi Daphne, maybe you need to…

      Hi Daphne, maybe you need to begin by not faking it. It’s important to get to know what will get you to orgasm and then share this with your partner, tell your partner what to do or even show them what to do and how to get you there. Many women won’t get an orgasm from vaginal intercourse only since this doesn’t give adequate attention to one of the most sensitive parts-the clitoris. Your partner may have to stroke the clitoris and they can also use a finger. Sex is better when partners talk about it, find a good time and talk with your partner about what you like and what you want. Check out the following articles for more tips;- 

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/orgasms/her-orgasms

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

  25. what can you do if you hate…
    what can you do if you hate having sex

    1. Hey Esther, it is important…

      Hey Esther, it is important to begin by thinking about what led you to hate sex, this way you can try find a solution for this. Take sometime and think about what could have led to this and then look at some possible solutions. 

  26. my partner is always crying…
    my partner is always crying during sex. Is this normal? I have heard that there are people who crying from pleasure how do i know if her crying is because of pleasure?

  27. I used to get orgasm…
    I used to get orgasm frequently with my ex but with my current boyfriend I don’t hata… What could be the problem ama I am still in love with my ex?

    1. Hey there, at times you have…

      Hey there, at times you have to teach and even show your partner exactly what to do to get you to orgasm. Talking about sex will help make the experience better for you both. Remember the reason for talking about this should be to find away to make sex better and not tell the other person what they are not doing right. Find a good time and talk about this. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

  28. Why is my vagina dry during…
    Why is my vagina dry during sex?

    1. Hi Elle, arousal is key in…

      Hi Elle, arousal is key in getting the vagina wet. It is important to spend sufficient in foreplay for this to happen. Talking with your partner about what will get you aroused will also help. You can also consider using water based lubricants which you can find at the pharmacy or local supermarket. Remember when the vaginal is wet it makes sex better for both partners. Have a look at the following articles for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/foreplay-turning-up-the-heat

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/lubricant-top-five-facts

  29. What could be wrong i get…
    What could be wrong i get too wet during sex kuna dawa

    1. Hey Lyn, vaginal wetness…

      Hey Lyn, vaginal wetness during sex is important since without it sex maybe uncomfortable even painful. Also, it is a sign of arousal which means that your partner knows exactly what to do to get aroused which is a good thing. However if the wetness for instance makes the penis of your partner slip out you may want to consider keeping a towel around and using it to wipe off some of that lubrication during intercourse. Unfortunately, hakuna dawa, but it is a good thing so enjoy it. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/the-myth-of-the-wet-vagina

        1. Thank you rickyumazi for…

          Thank you rickyumazi for your positive feedback buddy! Have a wonderful week ahead and stay safe! 🙂

  30. My boyfriend is just…
    My boyfriend is just satisfied with one short leaving me unsatisfied

  31. the truth is that sex I’d…
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    1. Hey Esther, indeed is better…

      Hey Esther, indeed is better in loving caring relationship. Thank you for your contribution.

  32. Hae Love Matters, my…
    Hae Love Matters, my boyfriend is so rough in bed I always feel pain during and after sex. He says that’s how he likes it. I love him but has made not look forward to sex with him.

    1. Hey Milli, sorry about this…

      Hey Milli, sorry about this. Have you talked about this with him? You have a right over your own body and you have a right to say no if something causes you pain or  makes you uncomfortable. Sex should be pleasurable to both partners. It is important that you talk about how it feels for you during and after sex. If he is unwilling to change this, you will have to make a decision as to whether you will stay with him and continue to go through this or whether you will break up. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/causing-pain-for-pleasure

  33. I am always well prepared…
    I am always well prepared when making love since my partner knows the importance of foreplay but i just get dry all over sudden in the middle of the act what could be the problem plz help

    1. Hey Essie, there are a few…

      Hey Essie, there are a few reasons that can cause vaginal dryness including hormonal issues, stress, anxiety, low libido among others. Since vaginal wetness is caused by arousal, it may help to stop intercourse and get you aroused before continuing. Alternatively, you can consider using lubricants that can be bought at a pharmacy to address the dryness when it occurs. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/lubricant-top-five-facts

  34. Can yoh have sex when a girl…
    Can yoh have sex when a girl is on her periods? Can a girl become pregnant wheb you have sex when she is on periods?

  35. Hi..am having a problem with…
    Hi..am having a problem with my partner..every time that we are having sex,,she must bleed..how can you helpme??

    1. Hi Paul, I imagine this also…

      Hi Paul, I imagine this also causes pain for your partner. Some of the reasons that cause pain include dryness and vigorous sex. On the other hand, bleeding can also be a sign that your partner has a Sexually Transmitted Disease, such as Chlamydia. Another cause can be growths on the cervix or uterus, known as polyps. You may want to begin by addressing the possible dryness first and be more gentle during intercourse. If the bleeeding continues, have your partner consult a healthcare provider for further advice. https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/sex-hurts-help

  36. Is it normal for a girl to…
    Is it normal for a girl to bleed each she has sex?

    1. Hey, a girl may bleed the…

      Hey, a girl may bleed the first time she have sex, however, bleeding each time she has sex is not normal. This may indicate the presence of an infection and it is important that she gets a check up as soon as possible. The bleeding may also be caused by vigorous sex or dry sex which causes the inner vaginal walls to tear hence the bleeding. Check pout the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/sex-hurts-help

  37. i have a lot of experience…
    i have a lot of experience in sex though the person i want to marry is a virgin I feel she will have difficulties with me when we finally get married. I dont want to push her so much but i dont want to feel bored or unsatisfied also..

    1. Hi Clifton, it is a good…

      Hi Clifton, it is a good thing that you have xperience and it is not a band thing that she doesn’t. Instead of pushing her, you could consider showing or teaching her what you like as you also giver her an opportunity to share with you what she likes. Sex becomes better for both partners when partners talk about it. Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

  38. Does sex change after a…
    Does sex change after a woman get a child?

  39. My girlfriend has small…
    My girlfriend has small breast but I like big breast what can she do to make them bigger naturally?

    1. Hey Teddie, unfortunately…

      Hey Teddie, unfortunately there is nothing she can do naturally to increase her breast size. Her option is to get a breast enlargement surgery. The size and shape of a persons breast has to do with their genes.  Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/breasts

  40. Do all have a clitoris? What…
    Do all have a clitoris? What about girls who find it difficult to ejaculate does it mean they do not have a clitoris or Gspot?

    1. Hey Eddie, all women do have…

      Hey Eddie, all women do have a clitoris even though in some it may be abit hidden. Women or girls who have undergone Female Genital Cutting may be missing the clitoris after the cutting. Secondly, vaginal sex only may not get a women to experience orgasm, for this reason sufficient attention should be given to the clitoris to increase chances of achieving an orgasm. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/vulva-and-vagina

  41. Ever since my wife had our…
    Ever since my wife had our son she has become very disinterested in sex. It is very frustrating that I have contemplated cheating on her. I don’t know why to do to get her interested anymore. Please help with ideas.

    1. Dear Leo, sex does change…

      Dear Leo, sex does change after a pregnancy. It is important to be patient with one’s partner as you both adjust to the changes. It helps to talk about sex, recognize the changes and the agree on how to proceed. It will take time but eventually you will find balance. As you may have already established, cheating is likely to make things much worse for your relationship. Find a good time and talk with your partner about what is going on and find a way to move on forward together. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/sex-after-pregnancy-myths-and-facts

  42. I dont lyk sex wat can be…
    I dont lyk sex wat can be the reason

    1. Dear Maryann, there are many…

      Dear Maryann, there are many reason that can make a person not to like sex, a good place to begin is by thinking about what exactly you don’t like about sex. Does it have to do with a past experience, or is it that it causes pain for you? Take time and think about why and what exactly you don’t like after which you can explore possible solutions. We wish you all the best. 

  43. During love making sounds…
    During love making sounds come from my vagina usually sound like someone if farting very uncomfortable. Sometimes my boyfriend thinks it’s me farting. I have no idea why this happens help!

    1. Hi Cherry, the sounds are…

      Hi Cherry, the sounds are primarily related to air being forced out of the vagina during thrusting of the penis into the vaginal. Changing the position during sex can help address this. 

  44. My partner doesn’t know how…
    My partner doesn’t know how to kiss yet I love it so much?

  45. Wawo am enjoying this…
    Wawo am enjoying this article.

  46. Is it normal while having…
    Is it normal while having sex to bleed everytime? That is my situation and I dont know why it is happening to me from the first time I had sex.

    1. Hi Lorren, it is not normal…

      Hi Lorren, it is not normal to bleed each time you have sex. Do you experience pain during sex?  One may bleed the first time they have sex but this should not happen each time you have sex. It is important that you seek medical advice since bleeding especially if it is accompanied with pain each time you have sex may mean one has an infection. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/sex-hurts-help

  47. Does using lub when having…
    Does using lub when having vaginal sex have any effect in the vagina?

    1. Hey Julia, it depends with…

      Hey Julia, it depends with which kind of lub one is using. Some people have allergic reaction to certain lubs and if this is the case the lub will have a an effect. You can however consider using organic lubs which have fewer additives. This also means one is likely not to have an allergic reaction. Check out the following article for more information on lubs;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/lubricant-top-five-facts

  48. My problem is that I don’t…
    My problem is that I don’t orgasm during sex at all I don’t know what my problem is. And then my boyfriend always finishes first. What should I do?

    1. Hey Esther, the first…

      Hey Esther, the first important step in getting you to orgasm is to get to know what will get you to orgasm and then sharing this information with your partner. Often times you will have show, teach your partner what to do and even how to, to get you to orgasm during sex. Vaginal intercourse only may not get you to orgasm especially now that your boyfriend finishes before you. Have a look at the following article for some tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/orgasms/her-orgasms

      Secondly, it appears your partner experiences premature ejaculation. It is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. Anxiety that one will not perform can make him ejaculate much earlier or stress from home or work. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and so as the young man gets older he also gains more experience in controlling ejaculation. There are a few things your partner can do to overcome Premature ejaculation, see the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/how-to-overcome-premature-ejaculation   

  49. When I have sex with my…
    When I have sex with my girlfriend sometimes farting sounds come from her v. I know this because there is usually no smell. Why is this? It makes sex things uncool.

    1. Hi Biko, I imagine how…

      Hi Biko, I imagine how uncool this makes sex for you. However, it just means that during the thrusting air is being pushed out of the vagina hence the sound. It may help to change the position if this really makes you both uncomfortable.

  50. Is it ok to have sex in your…
    Is it ok to have sex in your buttocks? can it hurt you?

  51. My wife of only 2 years is…
    My wife of only 2 years is always not in mood for sex. She says she is tired and I am getting tired of it. This started when she started anew job. I think she is cheating on our marriage….

    1. Hey Ted, it is difficult to…

      Hey Ted, it is difficult to tell for sure if your partner is cheating on you. It is however, important that you talk about your concerns with her. Let her know what you have observed from when she got her new job. This way you can agree on how to proceed together. It is possible for someone to be physically exhausted and this is likely to affect their drive for sex. Talking about it can help you come up with creative ways to revive your sex life. It is normal for couples to have different levels of libido at different times because of different reasons including physical exhaustion, psychological issues like stress from work or issues in the relationship. Talk with your partner and agree together on how to proceed. Check out this article for more tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/female-sexual-desire-ebbs-and-flows

  52. Men are always cheating on…
    Men are always cheating on me. I have broken up with the 3rd guy now because of cheating. Is it that I don’t satisfy them in bed or what happens? Soo stressed.

    1. Hi Carren, so sorry about…

      Hi Carren, so sorry about this. It is unfortunate that the guys you dated chose to cheat on you. This was not your fault, they may made a choice to cheat for reasons that are best known to them. In a relationship, both partners have a responsibility for the kind of experience they have during sex. One way is to talk about ones expectation this way their partner knows what exactly they want. Again, this was not your fault but their choice. Lastly, not all men cheat, take time to heal from this experience and once you feel ready get out there to meet someone new. We wish you all the best, have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/guide-to-recovery-for-the-cheated

  53. How about of you have pain…
    How about of you have pain everytime you have inter purse?

  54. Helo we are new in marriage,…
    Helo we are new in marriage, we cant get into each other because of size and 26yrs unbroken virginity. Help

  55. I rarely enjoy sex ..i don’t…
    I rarely enjoy sex ..i don’t experience any pain but I feel nothing during sex.av tried to set my mind during sex ,but no change.I always fake that am enjoying whereas I don’t.I wish to enjoy the game and just feel it.

    1. Hi Jane, thank you for…

      Hi Jane, thank you for reaching out to us. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal. Sex is not one-size-fits-all. In some cases, you might need to learn and re-learn your body. Next time you are with your partner have them explore your body. Try and find things you like, places you want to be touched. It could take a bit of time but if you keep at it, you will definitely find what works

  56. sometimes i feel pain when…
    sometimes i feel pain when someone fucks me so deep,is tht a health problem?

    1. Hi Judy,

      It is probably…

      Hi Judy,

      It is probably that your sex partner is too rough or does not invest enough time in foreplay. In some cases, an existing health problem such as vaginismus, infections such as yeast infections, fibroids, and endometriosis can cause pain during sex, if you have concerns, contact your gynecologist. 

    1. Well, yes to an extent. What you see in porn is not 100% real thus you should try most of the things with your sex partner.

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