Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome-About
Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS) or Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) is a phenomenon relating mainly to women’s sexual health, in which afflicted women complain of sudden and frequent feelings of genital arousal that are qualitatively different from the kind of sexual arousal that is associated with sexual desire or subjective arousal. Masturbation and orgasms offer little or no relief.
It is a very rare condition and it is possible that sufferers don’t report the condition because of the shame and embarrassment the disclosure would involve.
Dr. Sandra R. Leiblum documented the condition first in July 2001, along with Dr. Sharon G. Nathan in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. The reasons for Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome remain a medical mystery till date.
The first real research study on PSAS was conducted at Rutgers University in June 2007 and women with PSAS felt encouraged when doctors found evidence that it was not an “imaginary” syndrome. More than 400 women from different parts of the world have reported suffering from PSAS. According to a report in the Shukan Post last year, a growing number of Japanese women are suffering from PSAS. One woman said she was terrified because even her mobile phone vibration was enough to set her off and was told by her friend that she was stricken by what was called the “cum cum disease.”
It is not surprising that the women who have reported the condition are only from the developed countries, because the consequences of reporting such a syndrome by women in developing or under-developed countries or conservative societies would be disastrous. In conservative societies, women reporting this disease run the risk of being stigmatized or labeled as ‘freaks’ by others.
Interesting to Know
Some theories that are doing the rounds on PSAS are discussed below:
a. Neurological hypersensitivity - In women with PSAS the normal or minor sensation from areas such as clitoris or pelvic organs get amplified and result in a persistent or permanent state of arousal at the brain level. Treatment with anti-depressants is advocated. The hypersensitivity may also result after some minor trauma to pelvic nerves or after an episode of neurological conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis. The glans penis of male has 4000 nerve endings and in comparison the equivalent smaller female clitoris has 8000 such nerve endings.
b. Venous congestion of pelvic organs - Women with PSAS may have some form of pelvic venous congestion syndrome (Allen-Masters Syndrome). The pelvic and sexual organs are rich in blood supply and sometimes the chronically dilated varicose veins do not respond well to neurologic and hormone signals to contract to normal size especially after the resolution phase of the sexual cycle leading to persistent arousal.
c. Endocrinal PSAS - Women who suffer from the condition after menopause or during a few days before the onset of menstrual cycle may have problems related to hormones such as progesterone. This maybe caused due to over-sensitivity to the arousal effect of Progesterone.
d. Prolactin release disorder - Role of Prolactin in orgasm is well studied. It has a role in maintaining the refractory and relief phase after orgasm. Men usually have a much larger release of prolactin after orgasm than women and hence they take time to be aroused the second time. Women have a shorter refractory period due to a smaller release of the hormone. In PSAS it is possible that there maybe no release or delayed release of the prolactin hormone.
e. Oxytocin deficiency – Oxytocin release from pituitary in orgasm gives the calming effect. It reduces stress and its release in clitoral orgasm is even more. That may be the reason why you fall asleep after great sex.
f. Tourette’s syndrome variant of PSAS - Tourette’s syndrome is a compulsive tic disorder and the most common tics are of eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements. PSAS may be a variant of such a disorder that is associated with compulsive masturbation, intrusive thoughts, and there may be a family history of Tourette’s syndrome or a similar disorder.
Books and Journals
- Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy by Sandra Leiblum, Guilford Press (2006)
- Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome: A Newly Discovered Pattern of Female Sexuality. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Volume 27, Issue 4 July 2001 , pages 365 – 380