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Disabled and No Sexual Pleasure

Question

I have not been able to get any enjoyment from sex. I am a disabled woman, but I don't think that has anything to do with it. I just can't seem to get into sex at all. Could you give me advice on what I need to do?

Answer

Having difficulties with sexual desire is a common problem, one that can be quite frustrating. I have a couple of thoughts for you.

First, I would start to think about how long you have felt this way. Have you always had little interest in sex, or is this a more recent feeling? In order to determine what may be the cause(s) of your low desire, these are important questions to ask yourself.

Our sexual desire can be affected by many things. Changes in desire are usually associated with physical or hormonal changes and/or psychological distress. Changes in hormonal levels can be affected by age and/or medical conditions. Sexual desire can also be affected greatly by our psychological well-being. Feelings of sadness, depression, stress and anxiety can definitely decrease our interest in the bedroom!

Your question says you are not able to enjoy sex. Therefore, besides sexual desire, I would also be interested in knowing whether or not you are experiencing difficulties with physical sexual arousal. That is, when you are sexually stimulated, do you experience physical signs of arousal (e.g., nipple erection, vaginal lubrication)? This physiological signs may differ from person to person, depending upon what disability a person has. Start to pay attention to your body when you are engaging in sexual activity, and see if you notice these changes. If not, your problem could be physical.


 

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Here are some thoughts on how to start to tackle this issue:

  1. Make an appointment with your gynecologist to rule out any medical problems or changes in your levels of hormones. It can be hard to bring up this topic with your doctor, but he or she hears this type of discussion quite frequently. Don't let embarrassment prevent you from getting important information.

  2. What can you do if you're disabled and get no pleasure from sex? Some advice on dealing with low sexual desire.Think about what things may have happened in your life around the time your desire began to decrease. See if you can link it to any type of sad or anxiety-provoking event. you may want to consider seeing a sex therapist or counselor for a few sessions to begin working through any issues that may come up for you. This will help you get "back on track" to rediscovering the sexual person you are.

  3. Try doing things that have made you feel sexy in the past (e.g., wearing sexy clothes, using perfume, lighting candles), and see if this puts you in the mood. Sometimes small changes in our behavior can help swing us back into feeling sexy again. The point of these exercises is to start to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings around your sexuality.

  4. Read erotic books, play with sex toys and/or watch erotic films and pay attention to what feels good or arouses you. You may just have not experienced the "right" stimulus for you, yet.

All people are sexual, regardless of whether they are disabled or able-bodied, and all people must decide for themselves what works best for them. Keep an open mind, investigate your options and keep experimenting with new things. Your body and mind will thank you!

Dr. Linda Mona, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in disability and sexuality issues and a disabled woman living with a mobility impairment.

next: For Seniors: How to Maintain Sexual Health and Intimacy

Last Updated: 08 April 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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