Sexual dysfunction is broadly defined as the inability to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. Specifically, sexual dysfunctions are disorders that interfere with a full sexual response cycle. These disorders make it difficult for a person to enjoy or to have sexual intercourse.
While it may not threaten physical health, sexual dysfunction can take a heavy psychological toll on an individual and/or a relationship and bring on depression, anxiety and debilitating feelings of inadequacy.
Causes of sexual dysfunction in men and women can be a result of a physical or psychological problem.
Male Sexual Dysfunction
The three most common male sexual dysfunctions are ejaculation disorders, erectile dysfunction and decreased libido.
Different types of ejaculation disorders include:
- Premature ejaculations. Ejaculations that occur before or soon after penetration. (This is the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men.)
- Inhibited or retarded ejaculation. Ejaculations that are slow to occur.
- Retrograde ejaculation. When, at orgasm, the ejaculate is forced back into the bladder rather than through the urethra and out the end of the penis.
Causes of ejaculation disorders
- Premature ejaculation is often due to a man’s nervousness over how well he will perform during sex.
- Premature and inhibited ejaculation can be cause by other psychological factors including past traumatic events, a strict religious background that causes a person to view sex as a sin, or lack of attraction for a partner.
- Certain drugs (including antidepressants)
- Nerve damage to the spinal cord or back
- Retrograde ejaculation is common in males with diabetes suffering from diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage.
- Retrograde ejaculation can also occur after operations on the bladder neck or prostrate or after certain abdominal operations.
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)
Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability to attain and/or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse.
Causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Diseases affecting blood flow, such as atherosclerosis
- Nerve disorders
- Psychological factors, such as stress, depression, and performance anxiety
- Injury to the penis
- Chronic illness
- Certain drugs
- Peyronie’s disease
Decreased libido, or inhibited desire, is a decrease in desire for, or interest in, sexual factors.
Causes of decreased libido can be either physical or psychological and include:
- Low levels of the hormone testosterone
- Anxiety or depression
- Medical illnesses (such as high blood pressure and diabetes)
- Certain medications (such as antidepressants)
- Relationship difficulties
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Types of female sexual dysfunction include:
- Low sexual desire. You have diminished libido or lack of sex drive.
- Sexual arousal disorder. While your sex drive is intact, you have difficulty or are unable to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity.
- Orgasmic disorder. You have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation.
- Sexual pain disorder. You have pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.
Some common causes include:
- Mental and emotional causes including stress, relationship problems, depression, fear, a history of sexual abuse or rape, and body dissatisfaction
- Physical causes including hormone problems, pain from an injury or other problem and certain conditions such as diabetes, endometriosis or arthritis.
- Aging, which causes changes in the vagina such as dryness, thinner walls, narrowing and shortening.
- Medical treatments for other illnesses or conditions, such as past surgeries or cancer treatments
- Certain medications, including those for depression, blood pressure, allergies and diabetes.
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Less desire for sex
- Difficulty feeling aroused
- Not being able to have an orgasm
- Pain during sex