Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual Dysfunction Image

Sexual dysfunction coves a broad array of conditions that impair one’s ability to perform at any point during sexual contact, from desire to the end of the act itself. The condition can be the result of physical and/or emotional problems. Sexual dysfunction can occur when people are young or as they age. It can also happen “out of the blue” or develop over time.

Causes of Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction can occur because of physical problems such as:

  • adrenal gland problems
  • blood supply problems
  • low estrogen
  • low testosterone
  • nerve damage
  • thyroid problems.

In addition, some drugs can contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Psychological problems that can lead to sexual dysfunction include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fear related to sex
  • guilt related to sex
  • interpersonal problems within a relationship
  • stress.

Sexual Dysfunction Prevention

Communication is an important key to keeping any relationship healthy, and this includes your sexual relationship. Discuss your sexual feelings and preferences with your partner and respectfully listen to what your partner has to say.

Another effective way to prevent sexual dysfunction is to minimize the amount of alcohol that you drink and take drugs only as prescribed. If you are prescribed a drug, check the listed side effects to see if any of them tend to have an impact on sexual activity.

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Women can experience several types of sexual dysfunction, including:

  • Anorgasmia, or the inability to reach an orgasm, can be the result of a lack of knowledge, past abuse, chronic diseases or certain types of drugs.
  • Dyspareunia, or experiencing pain during or after sexual intercourse, can be caused by factors such as vaginal dryness due to lack of lubrication, urinary tract infections or endometriosis. Dyspareunia can occur in men as well, but is uncommon.
  • Vaginismus occurs when the muscles of the pelvic floor contract involuntarily, causing the vagina to tighten. The vagina can become so tight that it is, in effect, closed.

Male Sexual Dysfunction

Types of male sexual dysfunction include:

  • Erectile dysfunction, or male erectile disorder, is the inability to become or stay erect during intercourse. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by hardening of the arteries, depression, or nerve disorders. Erectile dysfunction is also called impotence.
  • Male orgasmic disorder is the long delay or total inability to achieve an orgasm.
  • Premature ejaculation occurs when the male ejaculates too early, sometimes even before penetration.

Sexual Dysfunction Treatments

Treatments for sexual problems can range from taking medication to participating in psychotherapy, depending on the type of dysfunction. Some therapists recommend special herbs for sexual dysfunction. You should discuss any over-the-counter herbs or medications with your physician before you take them; they may be expensive and ineffective or have unexpected side effects.

An occasional “problem” with sexual function is not always a sexual disorder. However, if you are experiencing sexual problems on regular basis, contact your physician. Your doctor will conduct tests and evaluate your condition by examining your medical history.

Resources

Aetna Intel Health Inc. (2007). Painful sexual intercourse (Dyspareunia) Retrieved April 25, 2008, from the InteliHealth.com Web site: http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/10950.html.

Gregoire, A. (1999). ABC of sexual health. Retrieved April 25, 2008 from the Bmj.com Web site: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/318/7179/315.

National Institutes for Health. (2006). Sexual problems overview. Retrieved April 25, 2008, from the NLM.NIH.gov Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001951.htm.

MedicineNet, Inc. (2007). Sexual problems in men. Retrieved April 25, 2008, from the MedicineNet.com Web site: http://www.medicinenet.com/sexual_sex_problems_in_men/article.htm.

MedicineNet, Inc. (2007). Sexual (sex) problems in women. Retrieved April 25, 2008, from the MedicineNet.com Web site: http://www.medicinenet.com/sexual_sex_problems_in_women/page5.htm.

Vaginismus.com. (n.d.). What is vaginismus? Retrieved April 25, 2008, from the Vaginismus.com Web site: http://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/vaginismus-questions/what-is-vaginismus/.