Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem happening during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity. The sexual response cycle traditionally include excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Desire and arousal are both part of the excitement phase of the sexual response.
While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common it is a topic that many people are hesitant to discuss. Because treatment options are available, it is important to share your concerns with your partner and healthcare provider.
What are the types of sexual dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction generally is classified into four categories:
- Orgasm disorders —delay or absence of orgasm
- Pain disorders — pain during intercourse
- Desire disorders —lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
- Arousal disorders —incapability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity
Who is affected by sexual dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction can affect any age, although it is more general in those over 40 because it is often connected to a decline in health associated with aging.
What causes sexual dysfunction?
Physical causes — many physical and/or medical situations can reason problems with sexual function. These situations contain diabetes, heart and vascular (blood vessel) disease, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, chronic diseases such as kidney or liver failure, and alcoholism and drug abuse. In addition, the side effects of some medications, including some antidepressant drugs, can affect sexual function.
Psychological causes — these contain work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, concerns about body image, and the effects of a past sexual trauma.