FSD may include a list of common physical (sensations) symptoms, yet a more comprehensive evaluation needs to include what is happening emotionally (passion), mentally (beliefs), and spiritually (meaning). Because we are a dynamically integrated system of energy, it is essential to include each aspect of being human and how that impacts sexuality. I may begin working with someone who has just had a typical yearly exam, but my questions are more likely to probe the heart and mind aspects left unattended by a medical-only approach. (Don’t worry, I’ll discuss specific treatments for FSD later in this blog series.)
Stress and personal life experiences can become a trigger for FSD or it can work in the other direction. FSD contributes to a woman’s mental, emotional and spiritual stress in a very real and life altering way. Without emotional connection and reassurances that she may not be getting from her sexual partner, a woman’s anxiety may also increase from multiple responsibilities such as work, finances, children, etc.
Gina Ogden, author and distinguished sex therapist, developed the ISIS Wheel of Sexual Experience as a tool for examining the aspects of a woman’s sexual understanding. The wheel divides the idea of a woman’s sexuality into four domains: physical, emotional, mental and spritual with the center being the integrative experience. This tool has proven invaluable in working with my patients. By encompassing and gently examining all aspects of the woman, we are able to look at a broader picture of desire and intimacy.