LGBTQIA+: Genital Arousal Disorder

Genital arousal disorder occurs when one has trouble getting, becoming, or staying aroused which also leads to undue worry and stress about it. This condition can be caused from one or more of many factors like hormones, emotions, physical health, experiences, lifestyle, beliefs, and relationships. By addressing the underlying issues causing your genital arousal disorder, you can work to reclaim your intimacy and orgasms. While this condition is not solely limited to those in the LGBTQIA community, it is more prevalent and common for those who deal with copious amounts of stress on a regular basis.

Some of the most common causes of genital arousal disorder are:

  • Medicines like antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and chemotherapy
  • Menopause
  • Problems with blood flow or the nerves in your sex organs
  • Problems with your body image
  • Recent pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding
  • Stress
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Problems with your partner
  • Tiredness
  • Sexual abuse or trauma in your past
  • Low sex hormone levels
  • Medical problems like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, or bladder problems

Treatments for Genital Arousal Disorder

There are many different treatments and methods of dealing with this disorder, which will depend on the cause of your troubles. Your medical care team will help you to determine the causes, and the best ways to go about treating your condition. They may ask you about your overall health and any mental health problems you are facing. They will also ask personal questions about your sex life that you need to answer openly and honestly.

Note: This can be one of the hardest parts for people, especially those within the LGBTQIA+ community, as many feel that their doctors and medical team do not support their choice of lifestyle. Regardless of their acceptance, try to be as open as you can. If you cannot do this with your current medical team, consult with an LGBTQIA+ organization that can point you in the right direction of a more inclusive and open medical practice in your area.

The doctor or nurse may give you a physical exam and have blood drawn to check and rule out any other possible medical conditions. After all tests and exams have been done, they will then cover treatment options. Some of the treatment options include:

  • Kegel exercises
  • Exercising regularly to improve your mood and give you more energy
  • Physical therapy for your pelvic floor (the muscles around and near your genitals; males and females can practice this)
  • Talking with a counselor who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationship problems
  • EROS Therapy Device: A hand-held device for vulvas with a small plastic cup. It improves blood flow to your genitals to increase vaginal wetness and help you have orgasms.
  • Penis Pump systems: hand-held devices that aid in restoring erection function.
  • Talking with your partner about your likes and dislikes
  • Exploring porn (movies, magazines, websites, other entertainment) that brings you sexual pleasure
  • Masturbating or using masturbator devices
  • Using therapeutic aids or sexual devices
  • Using lubricants or daily moisturizers (if you are using condoms, choose a water-based lubricant)
  • Reducing stress to improve your mood through things like getting more sleep, meditation, and breathing exercises
  • Limiting alcohol and avoiding smoking and using drugs

If you are in menopause or close to starting, some prescription medications that may help with this disorder are:

  • Hormones (estrogen or testosterone): a cream, gel, tablet, or ring that you put in your vagina if lubricants or moisturizers are not helping.
  • Ospemifene: a pill you take once a day to help with pain caused by vaginal dryness.
  • Prasterone: a pill that you put in your vagina every night to help with pain caused by vaginal dryness

It is important to remember that addressing the underlying cause will help you to move forward and better understand this disorder. Many people face this challenge in their lives with the ebb and flow of stressors, life changes, and major decisions.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy



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