Not since William Masters and Virginia Johnson described vaginal changes during sexual arousal in 1966 has so much attention been paid to female physiology as it relates to sexual function, or the lack thereof.
In 1997, more than 30 years after Masters and Johnson published their groundbreaking book, Human Sexual Response, Boston University's Kwangsung Park suggested that diminished blood flow reduced arousal in the clitoris and vagina, just as it did in the penis. With animal models, he was the first to show that a woman's problems could be physiological.
The lack of consensus on definitions of what female sexual dysfunction was clinically and the fact that psychologists and physicians had been working independently up to that point laid the ground for a 1998 international meeting that delivered a roadmap for female sexual dysfunction. For the first time, a multi-disciplinary panel sponsored by the American Foundation for Urologic Disease standardized existing disorders of sexual arousal, desire, orgasm and pain for women, confirming that they could be triggered by physiological and psychological causes—the need for additional research in the area.