The diagnostic criteria of female sexual arousal disorder revolve around inability to attain or maintain adequate sexual arousal, including vaginal vasocongestion, lubrication and vaginal expansion to allow satisfactory sexual activity. This disorder may manifest itself as a dyspareunia but is not classified as such if arousal difficulties are the primary aetiology. The use of fantasy with or without masturbation is an important strategy in the treatment of female sexual dysfunctions which centre around insufficient arousal. By its nature hypnosis allows absorption in fantasy and since in the hypnotic state a hypnotized subject may respond to fantasy as if it were reality, hypnotic techniques provide good opportunities for rehearsal of effective sexual functioning. Hammond (1990) provides some ideas about the appropriate suggestions to use to enhance sexual arousal and encourage vaginal lubrication. These strategies may be similarly applied in hypo-active desire disorders, dyspareunia and anorgasmia. Detailed mental rehearsal of successful sexual arousal; increased absorption and amplification of initially small sexual responses; metaphors of arousal and lubrication such as an analogy with sweating and a healthy journey of discovery through the sexual organs and finding the sites of sexual pleasure; these may all be used in heightening arousal.
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