Lack of Sex Can Destroy Relationships

ByABC News
February 17, 2004, 7:02 PM

Feb. 18 -- It's the kind of thing no one wants to talk about, but it's the kind of thing that can destroy a relationship. What it is ... is sex. In the case of many couples, it's the absence of sex.

While Americans have grown accustomed to seeing advertisements for all sorts of products aimed at treating male sexual dysfunction, there hasn't been much talk about women's libidos or sexual health.

A recent study concluded that almost half the adult women in America are not happy with their sex lives and they don't know why. Many are too embarrassed to talk about it with their partners, or to get help.

But more and more women are finally beginning to admit to an awful feeling they've avoided discussing. Sex isn't enjoyable for them.

Female Sexual Dysfunction

"Women are feeling more entitled to their sexual response and are being more proactive about doing something about it," says sex therapist Laura Berman.

She and her sister, Dr. Jennifer Berman, a urologist, are pioneers in the new field of female sexual dysfunction, or FSD.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, some 43 percent of sexually active women of all ages experienced sexual dysfunction.

The Bermans say FSD includes four particular complaints: trouble achieving orgasm, not being aroused properly, pain during sex, and the one they hear most often: low libido.

To learn more about the Bermans' work, visit their Web site:

Often, doctors have told women that their problems are emotional, not physical. But the Bermans feel differently.

In their work, the Bermans emphasize the importance between the mind and the body and physiological responses to emotional issues.

Sorting Out the Emotional From the Physical

Low libido is the most common female sexual complaint, and the Bermans recommend couples counseling.