Female Sexual Arousal Disorder: Causes and Treatment Options

Female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) is a type of female sexual dysfunction. It occurs when a woman experiences distress due to the absence or reduction in their sexual interest. As a result, responding to sexual stimulation becomes extremely difficult. Female sexual arousal disorder affects different people and has different causes and treatment options.

Arousal and FSAD Causes

Arousal is the physical and emotional changes that happen with sexual stimulation. Some women with arousal problems may not feel mental or physical excitement from sex. Other women may only feel mental excitement or only physical excitement.


Various factors can affect arousal, and women with FSAD often experience an overlap in symptoms with other forms of sexual dysfunction. The most common factors of FSAD include:

  • Negative changes in how a woman feels about herself or her body
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Lack of exercise
  • Not getting sufficient sleep
  • Taking medications for depression
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Relationship issues

Treatments for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder

There are many ways to treat female sexual arousal disorder. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Your provider will do a complete exam to rule out any underlying conditions and help you figure out what treatment may work best for you, including:

  • Kegel exercises
  • Talking with your partner about your likes and dislikes
  • Using lubricants or moisturizers (if you’re using condoms, choose a water-based lubricant)
  • Adopting stress management techniques that help reduce stress and improve your mood
  • Limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking, and using drugs
  • Exercising regularly can give you more energy and improve your mood

Women exercising

If you’re in menopause, below are some medications your doctor may prescribe that help with FSAD:

  • Hormones (estrogen or testosterone) come in a cream, gel, tablet, or ring that you insert into your vagina if lubricants or moisturizers aren’t helping.
  • Ospemifene is a pill you take once a day by mouth to help with pain caused by vaginal dryness.
  • Prasterone is a pill that you put in your vagina every night to help with pain caused by vaginal dryness

Females with sexual arousal disorder

If you have FSAD, you can help increase care options by becoming a clinical research volunteer. To learn more about enrolling FSAD studies here at Seattle Clinical Research Center, call us at (206) 522-3330 or visit our website.