Female sexual arousal disorder subtypes: Conceptualization, diagnosis and treatment

Sexual dysfunctions play a significant role in depression, anxiety, stress, and marital/relationship satisfaction. Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) affects approximately 1/4 of women aged 18-59. However, there are no established treatments for this disorder, with drug therapy trials yielding inconclusive and contradictory results. Recently, researchers and clinicians have disputed the current classification of FSAD as it only involves impairments in physiological sexual arousal and ignores the subjective aspect that the majority of women report. As a result, experts in the field have proposed a new classification involving three specific FSAD subtypes. Building on her research as a MSFHR-funded Master’s student, Carolin Klein is conducting a series of three experiments using alternative modes of activating the sympathetic nervous system to extend and replicate previous findings on these subtypes of FSAD. Carolin aims to better understand sexual functioning and the relationship between physiological and subjective sexual arousal in women in order to improve treatments. If further research continues to support the delineation of FSAD into separate subtypes , it may explain why treatments that increase physiological arousal appear to have no, or only a minimal effect on subjective arousal, and vice versa. Accordingly, separate treatments will be needed depending on the FSAD subtype.