Can a woman become impotent?

Dear Dr Milrod:

I am not even sure how to ask this. I have been noticing two rather unusual (for me at least) problems lately. First, I am finding that even when I am really turned on, I just don’t seem to get very wet, or in some cases, I make the Sahara look like an oasis. The problem is happening more frequently, and I am finding myself having to apologize more and more often to my man that it’s not him – it’s me, when I have to grab some lube. I am aware that as a woman ages, her body produces less vaginal fluid, but at the age of 33, I am under the impression that I should be hitting my sexual prime right about now.

The second problem I have never heard mentioned by anyone before. Is it possible for a woman’s clitoris to become desensitized from too much, or too frequent stimulation? I simply love receiving oral sex, and would happily let my man spend all his time down there if he wanted to. It is quite common for me to experience multiple orgasms from it. Lately though, it seems that I have lost sensation in my clitoris. There are times when I know it is being manipulated, but I literally cannot feel anything at all. He might as well be touching my arm for all the sensation it produces. When this happens, I notice my clitoris will not engorge either, and it is impossible for me to orgasm. Needless to say, it is very frustrating. I have never had to fake orgasms in all my 33 years, but now find myself having to resort to it occasionally because I just don’t have the heart to tell my partner that I can’t climax, and I worry he won’t believe me when I tell that the problem is NOT him. I would be grateful for any insight you can offer!

Desert Rose

Dear Desert Rose:

I can understand why you’re concerned, not only about your sex life but also over this change in general. As far as “impotence,” technically it’s always referred to males, like the terms “priapism” and “detumescence.” The word comes from Middle English and Old French and harks back to the Latin “impotens,” meaning “lacking in power.”

But enough etymology and back to your body. There are many reasons for why you don’t get as wet. They could be hormonal or psychological. And, yes, a clitoris can become “desensitized.” Whether it’s from overuse, illness, or other things, that really depends. I suggest you see an OB-gyn just to make sure there are no other compounding factors…here are some things I’d suggest:

1. Quit wearing tight jeans for a while and try to wear skirts with no underwear or very loose cotton or fleece pants. Give your vagina as much “air” as possible. Smashing your labia and clitoris into tight pants can desensitize it, believe it or not.

2. Take a sex break. If this is becoming a problem, then it’s no fun anyway, right?

3. See your gynecologist for a checkup. One problem with loving cunnilingus is that you’ve got someone licking you down there at all odd times…and who knows what’s in his saliva? What if he’s not monogamous? I don’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings, but sometimes STDs like genital herpes can go unnoticed for months. Disturbing the delicate vaginal bacterial flora with cunnilingus and overuse can actually produce dryness and a slightly “burning” feeling. The gynecologist may prescribe Aci-Jel precisely for this issue. So please let yourself “reload and relubricate,” both physically and mentally. Have a nice clitoral rest!

Christine Milrod, PhD

Comments are closed.