• Pathophysiology of Desire;
  • Pathophysiology of Arousal

Summary of Committee. For the complete report please refer to Sexual Medicine: Sexual Dysfunctions in Men and Women, edited by T.F. Lue, R. Basson, R. Rosen, F. Giuliano, S. Khoury, F. Montorsi, Health Publications, Paris 2004.


Introduction.  Data concerning the biologic pathophysiology of desire, arousal, and orgasm in women are limited.

Aim.  To gain knowledge of biologic pathophysiology of female sexual function.

Methods.  To provide state-of-the-art knowledge concerning female sexual dysfunction, representing the opinions of seven experts from five countries developed in a consensus process over a 2-year period.

Main Outcome Measure.  An International Consultation in alliance with key urological and sexual medicine societies convened over 200 multidisciplinary specialists from 60 countries into 17 consultation committees. The aims, goals and intentions of each committee were defined. Expert opinion was based on grading of evidence-based medical literature, extensive internal committee dialogue, open presentation, and debate.

Results.  Three critical physiologic requirements, including intact sex steroids, autonomic/somatic nerves, and arterial inflow/perfusion pressure to women's genital organs play fundamental roles in maintaining women's sexual function. Despite this, there are nominal data supporting a direct pathophysiologic involvement of abnormal sex steroid values, and/or damage/injury to neurologic and/or blood flow integrity in women with problems in sexual desire, arousal, and/or orgasm. This summary details the available literature concerning hormonal, neurologic, and vascular organic pathophysiologies of women's sexual dysfunctions.

Conclusions.  Additional research on clinical pathophysiologies in women's sexual dysfunction is needed. This chapter encompasses data presented at the 2nd International Consultation on Sexual Medicine in Paris, France, June 28–July 1, 2003.