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Avoid sexual dysfunction: Having multiple partners may actually be good for you

Many women experience problems with sexual function and for some it may be there throughout their lives.

A new study has identified the factors behind a woman's risk of sexual dysfunction. It also sheds light on the effectiveness of hormone therapy to treat this condition.

Ladies, if you have a greater number of lifetime sexual partners, there is good news for you. A new study has revealed that such women are less likely to experience sexual dysfunction in life. In contrast, women with more anxious behaviour during sexual activities and those with more severe menopause symptoms were more at risk for sexual dysfunction, the researchers noted. Many women experience problems with sexual function and for some it may be there throughout their lives. It can happen to anyone and at any age. The causes are many and it can be anything from health problems to emotions to experiences. Even long held beliefs, lifestyle and previous relationships can play a role here as can hormonal imbalances.

The new study, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), identified the determinants that affect a woman's risk of sexual dysfunction and sought to determine the effectiveness of hormone therapy in decreasing that risk and modifying sexual behaviour. These results are consistent with the findings of prior studies.

Factors that lead to better sexual function

According to them, sexual dysfunction often accompanies the menopause transition. Yet, not all women experience it the same. The results of this study "emphasize that factors other than the use of hormone therapy, such as higher importance of sex, positive attitudes toward sex, satisfaction with one's partner and fewer genitourinary symptoms associated with menopause appear to be protective and are linked to better sexual function across the menopause transition.

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Hormone therapy does not mitigate risk

For the purpose of the study, the researchers involved more than 200 women aged between 45 to 55 years. Hormone therapy was not found to mitigate the risk of sexual dysfunction, nor did it play a major role in determining sexual behaviours. However, women using hormone therapy typically had higher body-esteem during sexual activities; better sexual function in all domains, except for desire/interest; better quality of relationships; and fewer sexual complaints (other than arousal problems) than those women who do not.

Overcoming the problem of sexual dysfunction

Of importance to helping maintain a woman's sexual function were positive sexual experiences, attitudes about sex, body image, and relationship intimacy. Sexual dysfunction is often the result of either an underlying physical or psychological problem. The key to successful treatment lies in recognizing the underlying problem and successfully treating it. Providing the right education to all women regarding the human anatomy, sexual function and age-related changes can help to a great extent as it can help her overcome her fears and anxieties about sexual performance. This is a treatable condition but for that women must come out and talk about it. Mild sexual dysfunction is often the result of stress, fear, or anxiety, which can be dealt with proper counseling and education.

(With inputs from IANS)

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