What is an arousal disorder?

Sexual arousal disorders are characterized by a lack of response to sexual stimulation (e.g., kissing, reading erotic content, touching the genitals, etc.) including mental/emotional stimulation, physical stimulation, or both. As a result, many women with sexual arousal disorders find it difficult or unrewarding to engage in sex.

What causes an arousal disorder?

A variety of factors can contribute to a sexual arousal disorder. Personal factors such as depression, low-self esteem, anxiety, stress, and relationship problems are commonly cited as interfering with sexual arousal. However, many external and physiological factors - such as your body’s reaction to prescription medications - are known to cause arousal disorders as well. It is important to carefully examine all areas of your life when determining both the cause and the treatment for an arousal disorder.

Below is a list of some common causes of arousal disorders:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low-Self Esteem
  • Stress
  • Relationship Problems
  • Prescription Medications and Drugs
  • Inadequate Sexual Stimulation
  • Low Estrogen Levels
  • Atrophic Vaginitis - thinning and drying of tissue in the vagina
  • Vaginitis (infection of the vagina)

While treatment options vary by individual and must be discussed with your healthcare provider, arousal disorder is typically treated through a combination of psychological therapy and individual or couple’s exercises.


If you believe you have an arousal disorder, or would like more information about arousal disorders, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare physicians in Grand Rapids, MI.