Female sexual problems are common, frequently overlooked and have a significant impact on the lives of women. Research in the last decade has brought to the understanding and recognition of a number of standpoints, mainly the broad range of normative function. In 2003, the American Urological Association Foundation convened an international committee of experts in the field of women's sexuality, to reconsider the existing definitions of women's sexual dysfunction. Based on the circular response cycle developed by Basson, the group emphasized motivations that might move a woman from being sexually "neutral" to making a decision to be sexual with her partner, as a normative alternative to the need for spontaneous sexual desire as the trigger for sexual behavior. Etiology may stem from medical as well as psychological factors, thus assessment must include a complete evaluation. Treatment includes psycho-education, improvement of interpersonal communication, cognitive behavioral treatment and elucidation and treatment of medical problems, if necessary. Several pharmacological treatments are under investigation, with modest results and uncertainties about their long term safety. This review presents the female sexual response as it is understood today and the current diagnostic and therapeutic understandings and directions.
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