Sexual dysfunction affects approximately 40–50% of women across their lifetime. DSM-5 has updated the classification of female sexual dysfunction, combining hypoactive sexual desire, sexual aversion, and sexual arousal disorders into a larger category termed “female sexual interest or arousal disorder.” Additional types of female sexual disorder include female orgasmic disorder and genitopelvic pain or penetration disorders. Symptoms must be present for 6 months, be personally distressing to the patient, and meet specific severity criteria (outlined in DSM-5) to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Although female sexual disorders are common, only about one-third of women seek help from their clinicians. Thus, it is important for health care providers to invite women to discuss their sexual concerns by routinely initiating dialogue about sexual health during office visits. Patient concerns can be explored with a more complete sexual assessment that should include the onset, duration, and severity of symptoms as well as associated distress. Screening instruments can be useful for identifying specific disorders.