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Sexual Dysfunction

(Also Known As: Sexual Disorder, Male Dysfunction, Erectile Dysfunction, Female Dysfunction)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a disturbance that affects the sexual response during the sex cycle, often with associated pain during intercourse or arousal. Sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women with involved disturbance on the physiological sexual response cycle. The changes are seen from the desire, arousal, orgasmic response and performance (particularly in men). Women are affected mostly with pain disorders such as vaginismus, with involuntary muscle spasm of the vaginal wall that prevent intercourse, and dyspareunia, which is painful intercourse. Men commonly suffer from erectile and ejaculatory dysfunctions. 1 Sexual dysfunctions have several subtypes. It can be a lifelong problem that has always been present or it can be acquired as it develops after a period of normal sexual function. There are different types of sexual dysfunctions affecting men and women: 2

Female Sexual Dysfunction

  • Sexual arousal disorder
    • There is inhibition in the general arousal of the sexual aspect of a person. Women suffer from failure to lubricate and also fail to feel erotic sensations.
  • Vaginismus
    • The muscles around the outer third of the vagina have involuntary spasms in response to the attempt for vaginal penetration.
  • Orgasmic disorder
    • This involves impaired orgasmic component of the female sexual response. The female can experience sexual arousal but can never reach orgasm.
  • Dyspareunia
    • This is a condition that involves painful intercourse which can occur at any age. The pain can appear at the beginning or midway of the intercourse, or at the time of orgasm. Cramping, burning, sharp searing pain can be experienced.

Male Sexual Dysfunction

  • Premature ejaculation
    • There is rapid ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before, on or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it.
  • Erectile dysfunction
    • There is an impairment of the erectile reflex.
  • Ejaculatory incompetence
    • There is the inability to ejaculate within the vagina despite firm erection and high sexual arousal level.
  • Retarded Ejaculation
    • The bladder neck does not close off properly during orgasm resulting in the semen spurting backward into the bladder.

Sexual dysfunctions can rarely affect physical health of a person however it is capable of taking a heavy psychological toll that can bring about depression, debilitating feeling of inadequacy, and anxiety. Sexual dysfunction disorder is classified into 4 categories as follow: 3

  • Sexual Desire Disorder
    • Involves a decreased libido that can be caused by decreased production of estrogen in women and testosterone in both men and women. It can also be caused by aging, pregnancy, medications, aging and psychiatric conditions.
  • Sexual Arousal Disorder
    • Better known as frigidity in women and impotence/erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Orgasm Disorders
    • There is persistent delay or absence of orgasm that follows after the normal sexual excitement phase. SSRI can possibly cause the delay of orgasm achievement.
  • Sexual Pain Disorder
    • Affects women exclusively and medically known as dyspareunia or painful intercourse and vaginismus or involuntary spasm of the vaginal wall muscles which interfers with intercourse.

Could You Have Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual Dysfunction Topics

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