Anxiety and Low Desire

Women with low levels of sexual desire often have high levels of anxiety

Upset CoupleI often hear from the vaginismus sufferers that they have a low desire for sex. I have felt for a long time that there may be a correlation between anxiety and low desire for sex (low libido). The higher the anxiety, the lower the desire for sex. This is especially true with women who suffer from vaginismus because they do have high anxiety regarding sexual matters.

Anxiety versus Arousal

According to a study researcher Gert Holstege, a uroneurologist at the University of Groningen Medical Center in the Netherlands, the brain can either be anxious or aroused (or neither), but not both. During orgasm, he has found, activity in brain regions associated with anxiety plummets. This phenomenon may explain why women with low levels of sexual desire often have high levels of anxiety, Holstege said. It makes sense; if you’re looking around, focusing on visual details, scanning for danger, it may not be so easy to focus on arousal, he said.

Therefore, his research suggests that if a woman has a high level of anxiety, it may be harder for her to get aroused — because her brain may be so distracted from getting turned-on in the first place.

The vaginismus sufferer and anxiety

A woman suffering from vaginismus does have anxiety; therefore, it is important to lessen her anxiety. I have found that after a woman is treated with Botox, she becomes successful with her progressive dilation, she achieves intercourse and her desire increases as her anxiety decreases.

Roses and candlesHowever, if a woman is still experiencing a high level of anxiety and low desire after her Botox treatment, which sometimes happen, then it is important to explore how one can reduce the anxiety. Maybe taking a warm bath with scented candles and soft music, having a romantic supper at home and dancing afterwards, performing erotic massages on one another or maybe taking an evening walk under the stars. One needs to communicate with one’s partner to explore all the different possibilities on reducing the anxiety associated with vaginismus or everyday life – be open to all possibilities.

The key is to reduce the anxiety, which in turn will increase the arousal and the enjoyment of the sexual experience.

One patient writes:

“I find that having a glass of wine is kind of nice and relaxing prior to intercourse. In addition to this, I’ve also found that lighting scented candles and taking a warm bath is also very relaxing prior to intercourse.”

Another patient writes:

“I knew I was physically ready to transition from my dilators to full intercourse with my husband but I was still anxious about this thought. My husband and I talked about this many times and we came up with the perfect plan. We booked a little weekend vacation for us at the ocean – sort of a “second honeymoon” or maybe a “redo of our first honeymoon”. We arrived at the ocean, walked the beach, talked about our future and having a family, had the most relaxing supper imaginable at a really nice restaurant with fine linens, candles and soft music. When we arrived back at the hotel, I was totally relaxed. My husband was very gentle, caring, loving and provided a safe atmosphere for us to go forward. We achieved penetration but not full thrusting, which I was thrilled about. It is just the beginning but I feel that we now have the foundation for a great sex life!”

If you have any questions about our Botox treatment for vaginismus and progressive dilation under anesthesia, please contact us via our contact us form.

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About Dr. Pacik

Peter Pacik, MD, FACS is a recognized pioneer in treating patients with Botox for vaginismus and the author of When Sex Seems Impossible: Stories of Vaginismus and How You Can Achieve Intimacy. He has been in practice for over thirty years and belongs to a small group of prestigious surgeons who are double board certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In 2010, Dr. Pacik received FDA approval to continue his study to treat vaginismus using intravaginal injections of Botox together with progressive dilation under anesthesia.
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