FEMALE SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
“The Singapore government is worried that our population is declining, and news articles say it’s because women are choosing careers over babies. But what if our declining birth rate is not because we are career minded, but because there is a substantial level of sexual dysfunction amongst us?”
Do we have female sexual dysfunction and are we having less babies because of it?
The Singapore government is worried that our population is declining, and news articles say it’s because women are choosing careers over babies. But what if our declining birth rate is not because we are career minded, but because there is a substantial level of sexual dysfunction amongst us?
If our country hopes to halt the declining trend, we’d have to find our soulmate marry and start families between 25 and 29 years of age. They worry for us that getting pregnant will be more difficult as we age.
An article published by CNA in 2019 reports that the number of babies born in Singapore falls to the lowest in eight years, according to data released by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). In the report, the ICA said that women “seem to be delaying the birth of children till a later age”. In 2016, a Straits Times article suggests that the rising number of singles is the reason for our declining birth rate. In 2018, an article in The New Paper again pointed to the high singleness rate in Singapore to the leading cause of low fertility rate. On top of that, a publication by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said that a large proportion of singles chose to pursue educational or career success over dating. Are we choosing to remain single because that’s the sacrifice we’d have to make if we want to advance in our careers?
Of course, remaining single is not the only reason why our birth rates are falling, though it is one that is regularly brought up; the government even has an enabler fund that helps to support new entrants into the dating industry.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Female Sexual Dysfunction refers to a sexual problem or dysfunction during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity.
A pilot study evaluating the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction among allied health workers in a tertiary hospital in Singapore pointed out that the only study involving Singapore with regard to sexual dysfunction in women was performed by the Asian Global Studies of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviours in 2002. Since then, the findings from that year on female sexual dysfunction have not been further investigated nor analysed.
A research paper published by the BMC Women’s Health found that female sexual dysfunction affects 41% of reproductive-age women worldwide; a sizeable statistic. The factors and contributors surrounding female sexual dysfunction vary from country to country and culture to culture.
In a mixed male centered sexual regime, some listed risk factors contributing to female sexual dysfunction are young age at marriage, female genital mutilation, higher education, restrictive upbringing, arranged marriage, rural living, genital infections, and sexual harassment. In countries with very high human development, risk factors included poor mental health, poor physical health, older age, menopause among others.
Singapore, belongs to the cluster that is the mixed male centered sexual regime, and also of very high human development. These two clusters perhaps coincide to compound the complicated circumstances that lead to female sexual dysfunction. Could our first world stresses be affecting us into not wanting to have sex so much? Worse, could these stresses be causing us to not enjoy sex?
Female sexual dysfunction is not just the physical pains and problems, or the tangible issues. Understandably, stress and anxiety of everyday life can lead to an ultimate lack of desire or satisfaction in sexual activity, and avoidance altogether.
An article by KK Hospital pointed to a case study of a female patient and her husband, referred to the hospital’s subfertility clinic for dyspareunia (a form of female sexual dysfunction). requesting for in-vitro fertilisation treatment, and it was discovered during the consultation that they were each other’s first sexual partners had no pre-marital sexual activity. Pain was always felt by the female patient at during attempted penetration. Attempts at intimacy and mutual arousal by the couple failed at consummation of the marriage.
Female sexual dysfunction, if left untreated, could lead to negative effects on couples’ relationships that would then domino onto the couples’ sex life.
Perhaps, apart from the desire to climb up the corporate ladder that is seemingly killing our fertility rates, there is a larger conversation that needs to be had around female sexual dysfunction, and the softer side of procreation away from numbers and statistics.
Because, let me tell you, as a woman who’s closer to 40 than she is to 30, no matter how difficult, I’d gladly fight an uphill battle every single day to have a baby.
And I’d have that job as your boss.