Research indicates that sexual dysfunction is a common disorder, and approximately 31 percent of men and 43 percent of women report some degree of sexual difficulty. Fortunately, most sexual dysfunction disorders are treatable, and those suffering from a related disorder should not feel alone, nor should they feel they must live with the disorder forever. It is important to discuss with your partner and doctor if you have any sexual issues. From there, you can determine the best option to treat your sexual dysfunction symptoms effectively.
What Is Sexual Dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction refers to the difficulty that occurs during any stage of the ‘sexual response cycle’ and prevents the couple or individual from experiencing sexual satisfaction from the activity. It is normal for individuals to sometimes not be in the mood for sexual activity. However, if it happens regularly and significantly affects your sex life and personal relationships, then you should certainly consult with a sexual dysfunction professional.
Types of Sexual Dysfunction
There are essentially four types of sexual dysfunction disorder:
#1: Desire Disorder– Experiencing little to no interest in sexual activities/relations constantly
#2: Arousal Disorder– When you are emotionally in the mood for sexual relations, but your body does not become aroused
#3: Orgasm Disorder– When you are emotionally in the mood for sexual activities; however, you experience an inability to climax
#4: Pain Disorder– Involves having considerable pain during intercourse
Who Is Affected by Sexual Dysfunction?
Both men and women of any age can be affected by sexual dysfunction disorder. However, it is more prevalent in individuals above the age of forty. Although it is typically associated with the deterioration of health caused by aging, sexual dysfunction is also widely associated with various psychological and medical conditions.
Sexual Dysfunction Symptoms
These are common, but not limited to, symptoms of a sexual disorder in men and women.
Common symptoms of sexual disorders in men are:
- Inability to maintain or achieve an erection appropriate for intercourse, also known as erectile dysfunction
- The incompetence to control the timing of ejaculation, such as early ejaculation or premature ejaculation
- Delayed or absent ejaculation, regardless of sufficient sexual stimulation
Common symptoms of sexual disorders in women are:
- The inability to reach an orgasm
- The inability to adequately relax the vaginal muscles to allow intercourse
- Inadequate vaginal lubrication before and during intercourse
Common symptoms of sexual disorders in men & women are:
- Painful intercourse
- Lack of interest in sexual relations
- Inability to become sexually aroused
- Lack of desire for sexual activity
Causes of Sexual Dysfunction Disorder
Sexual issues in men and women can transpire due to several reasons. Here are some of the most prevalent reasons for sexual disorders in men and women:
- Physical/Medical Causes – Numerous medical and physical conditions can lead to issues with sexual function in men and women. Some of these conditions involve heart and vascular (blood vessel) disorders, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, chronic diseases such as liver or kidney failure. In addition, alcoholism and drug abuse are also common causes of sexual dysfunction in men and women.
- Psychological Causes – These encompass anxiety and stress, depression, concern about sexual performance, feelings of guilt, marital or relationship problems, effects of past sexual trauma or experience, and body image concerns.
- Medications – In addition to medical and psychological causes, the side effects of some prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including some anti-depressant pills, can also trigger sexual dysfunction.
What Is Male Sexual Dysfunction Disorder?
Any psychological or medical issue that prevents you or your partner from achieving pleasure through sexual activity is sexual dysfunction. A common health problem affecting men of all ages is male sexual dysfunction disorder. However, it is more common in men over the age of 40. Treatment of male sexual dysfunction typically benefits people suffering from this disorder
The key types of sexual dysfunction in men are:
- Premature Ejaculation (PE) – The incompetence to control the timing of ejaculation, such as early ejaculation or premature ejaculation (reaching orgasm too quickly).
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) – Inability to maintain or achieve an erection appropriate for intercourse.
- Low Libido – Reduced interest in any form of sexual relation or activity.
How Do Sexual Dysfunction Disorders Affect Men?
The most common sexual issues faced due to sexual dysfunction are getting and keeping an erection, difficulty with ejaculation, and reduced sexual desire.
#1: Ejaculation Disorders
Ejaculation issues faced by men due to sexual dysfunction are:
Premature ejaculation (PE) – refers to ejaculation that happens immediately or too soon after penetration. The exact reason for premature ejaculation is unknown. While in many cases it is due to performance anxiety during intercourse, other factors may include:
- History of sexual repression
- Temporary depression
- Low self-confidence
- Unresolved conflict with a partner
- Lack of communication
Studies indicate that serotonin’s breakdown – a natural chemical that influences mood – may play a significant role in premature ejaculation. In addition to this, certain drugs, such as some anti-depressants, may also affect ejaculation, as can nerve injury to the spinal cord or back.
Retrograde ejaculation – In retrograde ejaculation, the ejaculate is pushed back into the bladder rather than going out through the end of the penis during a climax. This is most prevalent in men with diabetes who suffer from diabetic nerve injury. Issues in the bladder nerves and the nerves in the bladder neck push the ejaculate to flow backward. While in other sexually dysfunctional men, retrograde ejaculation may be a side effect of a drug or occur after bladder neck or prostate surgery.
Delayed or inhibited ejaculation – Ejaculation either does not happen or takes a very long time. Physical reasons for delayed or inhibited ejaculation may involve medication side effects, chronic or long-term health problems, alcohol abuse, or surgeries. It can also be instigated by psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, stress, or relationship problems.
#2: Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to maintain or achieve an erection fitting for sexual intercourse. It is one of the most common forms of sexual dysfunction in men. Around fifty percent of men between the ages of thirty and sixty-five experience some form of ED. Common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Nerve disorders
- Disorders influencing blood flow, such as hardening of the arteries
- Depression, stress, and performance anxiety
- Relationship conflicts
- Chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Injury to the penis
- Unhealthy habits like overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and lack of exercise
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
Fortunately, there are several treatments available to treat erectile dysfunction. The treatment initiates with taking care of your vascular and heart health. Your doctor can highlight risk factors that can be improved or modified for this reason.
Additionally, you may be asked to alter certain food habits, increase workouts, stop smoking, and even stop using alcohol and drugs.
Your healthcare provider might also propose treating emotional issues. These could be triggered by life’s stressors, relationship conflicts, anxiety, or depression from past issues with erectile dysfunction (performance anxiety).
#3: Low Libido
Low libido refers to the reduced interest in any form of sexual relation or activity. The condition is typically related to low levels of the male hormone ‘testosterone.’ Testosterone aids in maintaining sex drive, muscle, sperm production, hair, and bone. Therefore, low levels of testosterone can significantly impact your mood and body.
Reduced sexual desire can also be due to anxiety, depression, stress, or relationship difficulties. In addition, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some medications like antidepressants may also lead to low libido.
What Conditions Cause Male Sexual Dysfunction?
Physical or medical causes of overall male sexual dysfunction can include:
- Low testosterone levels
- Nerve injury from surgery or diabetes
- Drug abuse and alcoholism
- Blood vessel disease such as atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – and high blood pressure
- Prescription medicines such as antidepressants and medications for high blood pressure
Psychological causes of overall male sexual dysfunction can include:
- Effects of past sexual trauma
- Concern about sexual performance
- Marital or relationship problems
- Feelings of guilt
- Work-related anxiety and stress
Sexual Dysfunction in Women
Several women experience sexual functioning issues at some point in their lives, while others face difficulties throughout their lives. Female sexual dysfunction can transpire at any stage of life.
Sexual response in women involves a complex interplay of emotions, physiology, experiences, relationships, beliefs, and lifestyle. Disruption of any element can significantly affect sexual arousal, desire, or satisfaction, and sexual dysfunction treatment generally involves more than one approach.
How Does Sexual Dysfunction Disorders Affect Women?
The most common sexual issues related to sexual dysfunction in females include:
#1: Inhibited Sexual Desire – This refers to the lack of sexual interest or desire in sexual activities. Several elements can contribute to a lack of desire, such as medical conditions (cancer), hormonal changes and treatments (chemotherapy), stress, pregnancy, depression, and fatigue.
In addition to this, boredom can also lead to a lack of enthusiasm for sexual activity alongside daily sexual routines, as can lifestyle factors, such as childcare and job.
#2: Inability to Feel Sexually Aroused – For women, the inability to feel physically aroused during a sexual activity typically comprises inadequate or unsatisfactory vaginal lubrication. This inability may also be related to inadequate stimulation or anxiety. In addition, some studies reveal that problems with women’s blood flow can also lead to clitoris and vagina arousal difficulties.
#3: Painful Intercourse – Feeling severe or mild pain during sexual intercourse can be due to several problems, such as a pelvic mass, endometriosis, vaginitis, ovaries cysts, insufficient lubrication, sexually transmitted disease, or the presence of scar tissue from surgery.
A medical condition known as ‘vaginismus’ is an excruciating, involuntary spasm of the muscles that encircle the vaginal entrance. It can transpire in women who fear that sexual penetration will be painful and may also stem from a sexual phobia or a past painful or traumatic experience.
#4: Anorgasmia (lack of orgasm) – Anorgasmia refers to the absence of sexual climax, commonly known as orgasm. It can be instigated by a woman’s sexual inexperience, inhibition, lack of knowledge, and various psychological factors such as anxiety, guilt, fear, or past sexual abuse or trauma. Chronic disorders, inadequate relaxation, and some drugs are other elements that lead to anorgasmia.
When to See A Sexual Dysfunction Doctor?
It is best to see a doctor if the condition does not improve over time or are suspicious of a physical cause. You should be ready to share your entire medical history that includes a list of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
It is important to know that the longer a sexual dysfunction disorder goes on, the more your level of anxiety and stress rises, causing the problem to perpetuate. Another essential point to remember is that communication is the key to tackling sexual dysfunction. If you have a sexual dysfunction disorder, do not hesitate to share it with your partner or seek medical advice.
If you have any questions about sexual dysfunction in men and women or are searching for a sexual dysfunction clinic in Boca Raton, Florida, LifeGaines is here to help.