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Sexual Dysfunction - How It Affects You?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 94% (2748 ratings)
MB BS, MD - Psychiatry, MBA - Healthcare
Psychiatrist, Davanagere  •  16 years experience
Sexual Dysfunction - How It Affects You?

Both men and women can suffer from sexual dysfunction which in common man’s speak is a problem that prevents you from experiencing sexual satisfaction. If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction in any part of the sexual response cycle which traditionally includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution, you are not alone. Research suggests that 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction or difficulty.

It also remains a topic that many people are hesitant to discuss and resolve worldwide. Read on to know more on sexual dysfunction so that you can understand it and seek treatment for it because treatment options are available and extremely helpful.

Types of sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is classified into four categories:

  1. Desire disorders: This is a generalized lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
  2. Arousal disorders: Inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity
  3. Orgasm disorders: A delay or absence of orgasm
  4. Pain disorders: Pain during intercourse


Symptoms of sexual dysfunction
In men:

  1. Erectile dysfunction - An inability to achieve or maintain an erection for penetrative sexual intercourse
  2. Retarded ejaculation - An absent or delayed ejaculation despite sexual stimulation
  3. Early or premature ejaculation - Inability to control ejaculation

In women:

  1. Inadequate vaginal lubrication before or during sex
  2. Inability to relax the vaginal muscles for sexual intercourse to happen
  3. Lack of interest in or desire for sex, an inability to become aroused or pain during intercourse are also classified as sexual dysfunction.

Causes of sexual dysfunction

  1. Physical causes - A number of medical conditions can cause problems with sexual function like diabetes, heart and neurological problems , hormonal imbalances, kidney or liver failure, and alcoholism and drug abuse. Anti depressant use can also affect sexual function.
  2. Psychological causes - Stress and anxiety, sexual performance anxiety, relationship problems, depression etc. are some of the psychological causes responsible for sexual disorders. Feelings of not being good enough and the effects of a past sexual trauma also come into play.

Diagnosis of sexual dysfunction
The doctor will begin with a history of your symptoms, followed by a physical exam to rule out medical problems.
A major part of diagnosis is psychological. The doctor will evaluate your attitude about sex, as well as other contributing factors like fear, anxiety, past sexual abuse, relationship problems, medications, alcohol or drug abuse, etc. to understand the underlying cause of the problem.

Treatment
Most types of sexual dysfunction can be treated by addressing the underlying physical or psychological problems. Other common ways to treat sexual dysfunction are:

  1. By changing a medication which may be casing sexual dysfunction - If you have a sexual dysfunction due to hormone deficiencies, you may benefit from hormone shots, pills, or creams. Men can use Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis.
  2. Mechanical aids - Penile implants or vacuum devices can be used in men to maintain an erection. Vacuum devices are used in women too and so are dilators to help women who have an extremely narrow vaginal opening.
  3. Sex therapy - Marriage counselors and therapists help couples resolve their relationship issues that may be causing sexual dysfunction.
  4. Behavioral therapy - This helps you to seek insight into your behaviour which may be causing sexual dysfunction and address it.
  5. Psychotherapy - This type of therapy can help you resolve prior sexual trauma, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, fear, or guilt, and poor body image. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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