Why some women just don't enjoy sex
MOST men dream of having sex the way they do in porn movies. But for some women, sex is a nightmare.
Most women we spoke to do not like sex and say it is boring, painful, repetitive and dirty, among other things.
They use it just to hold on to and make their men happy. Some women claim to have a headache when it's time for sex, while others pretend they are too tired.
What is going on? Is there something our men are not doing right?
Yes, says Priya Naidoo, a Durban-based sex expert. Most men do not know that in order for a woman to enjoy sex, her body needs to be ready. Not just mentally or emotionally ready, but physically and biologically ready too.
Naidoo says some partners don't bother to nurture their women mentally, emotionally or physically. They just want to satisfy their own needs.
"That is why it is easy for a man to sleep with a prostitute or a helper he has no feelings for, than it is for a woman to just pick any man," Naidoo says.
She says another big problem is that many men are not aware of certain things women feel uncomfortable about while having sex.
Many women don't enjoy sex because they were sexually abused in childhood, or raped in adulthood.
Naidoo adds that in some societies sex is presented as being disgusting, dirty, ungodly and immoral. She says she finds this mostly in religious couples.
"The majority of the women who come to me for help are religious women who have rigid ideas about sex. Some think it is dirty while others think that it is only men who are meant to enjoy it. Others feel sex is primarily for reproduction and that pleasure is a by-product."
She says there are also medical reasons why some women do not enjoy sex.
"Some women suffer from what is called Female Sexual Arousal Disorder, which leads to lack of libido."
She says conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, anaemia, childbirth, hormones, lack of sensation due to decreased muscle tone, painful intercourse, menopause, hysterectomy, and any medical problems that affect the sex hormones can result in a decreased sex drive.
She adds that ageing, inadequate or ineffective foreplay, depression, poor self-esteem, sexual abuse, feelings of shame or guilt about sex, fear of pregnancy, stress and fatigue, unhealthy diets, excess weight or obesity, stressful lifestyles, depression, anxiety and other emotional problems, or a combination of physical or psychological factors also affect sexual desire.
Who Is affected by sexual dysfunction?
Both men and women. Sexual problems occur in adults of all ages. Among those commonly affected are the elderly, which may be related to a decline in health associated with ageing.
But Asiphe Ndlela, a psychologist, ties lack of sexual interest to a woman's relationship with her partner.
Ndlela says men need a place for having sex, women need a purpose.
"Female sexuality is complex. At its core is a need for closeness and intimacy. Women also have physical needs. When there is an emotional or physical problem, they can have sexual problems."
She says lack of interest in sex can also be triggered by family problems, illness or death, financial or job worries, in-law problems, childcare responsibilities, managing a career and children, previous or current physical and/or emotional abuse, past history of sexual abuse, fatigue and depression.
For women, the inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity often involves insufficient vaginal lubrication, she says.
"The inability to become aroused also may be related to anxiety or inadequate stimulation. In addition, researchers are investigating how blood-flow problems affecting the vagina and clitoris may contribute to arousal problems."
Ndlela says the biggest problem is that most men get sex education from their friends, TV and porn movies.
She says in porn movies, women are portrayed as objects that just get aroused without proper stimulation; who have swift orgasms.
"Pornography leads single men to believe that other men are getting a lot of sex. And they wonder why they aren't getting it. In normal lives, sexuality is far different from how it is portrayed in porn and they fail to understand this."
She says women are much more interested in romance and relationship than in casual intercourse.
And while some women love sex (sometimes more than their partners) surveys show that they typically enjoy sex less than men do, and want far fewer partners.
"Although most women's sexual responsiveness peaks in the late 30s and early 40s, a woman can have satisfying sexual experiences throughout her life.
"The quality of her experiences is affected by individual differences, by life situation, by age and hormonal levels, and by overall health and well-being."
Is there hope for women affected by sexual dysfunction?
Ndlela says psychological counselling can play an important part in treating women with sexual problems, as can coaching in sexual foreplay and stimulation techniques.