188 Sexual Health
➤ Touching oneself
can be a good way
for a woman to learn
what kinds of sexual
touch feel best.
Touching oneself for pleasure
A woman can learn to touch herself in a way that gives
sexual pleasure. Touching oneself does not use up sexual desire,
and can be a good way for a woman to learn about her body
and what kinds of sexual touch feel best. Many communities
have beliefs that touching oneself is wrong, so sometimes it
makes people feel ashamed. But it does not cause harm as long
as a woman feels comfortable with it. Any object that is put in
the vagina should be as clean as possible.
Choose a time and place when you will not be interrupted.
It may help to think about a lover or a situation that made
you feel very sexual. Try touching your breasts or genitals in
different ways and see
what makes you feel
excited. There is
no right or wrong
➤ If a woman has
been raped or forced
to have sex, she may
need time—or to
talk with someone
she trusts or a
trained mental health
wants to have
Lack of desire
Many things can affect how much sexual desire a woman
or man feels. For example, when life seems exciting—such
as when starting a new relationship or a new job—a woman
or man may feel more sexual desire.The amount of desire a
women feels may change throughout her monthly cycle, or at
certain times during her life. It is common for a woman to feel
less desire when she:
• feels tired from hard work, not enough food, illness, or a
• is very worried about something.
• has a partner she does not like.
• fears that others will see or hear her having sex.
• is afraid of becoming pregnant or getting an infection.
When a woman lacks desire, her body makes less of its
natural wetness, and she may need to use lubrication, like saliva,
so that sex is not painful. When a man lacks desire, it is more
difficult for his penis to get hard. He may feel ashamed, and this
may make it more difficult for him to get hard the next time.
If you or your partner do not feel like having sex, try to
forgive each other and to talk about it. Allow time for sex
when you both want it, and try to do things that you both will
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012