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January 24, 2022 | Dr.Amna Zubair

Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women

Sexual dysfunction includes any problem that causes difficulty in achieving satisfactory sexual pleasure. Both men and women can experience it. It is often misunderstood that sexual dysfunction only refers to the physical inability to perform sexual activity, but this term includes a wide array of conditions and disorders. Cases of sexual dysfunction can be treated depending on the causes and severity of the problem. 

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction can be caused by several different causes that may vary in men and women. It can be due to physical, emotional, hormonal, or psychological factors. Common causes of sexual dysfunction include the following:

Physical causes may include urinary tract infections (UTIs), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, alcoholism, nerve injury, etc. These diseases can increase difficulty performing a normal sexual activity with your partner. 

Emotional factors are related to the relationship between you and your partner. Lack of communication and mutual understanding can decrease sexual desire and result in unsatisfactory intercourse.

Hormonal causes include changes in testosterone levels in males and estrogen in females. Irregularities in the levels of these hormones can cause difficulty in achieving sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. Females usually experience these changes after menopause. 

Psychological causes include stress, performance anxiety, depression, past sexual trauma, or other psychological illnesses. Psychological factors also include personal perceptions regarding sex and sexuality crises. 

Types of Sexual Dysfunction

Disorders associated with sexual dysfunction are widely distributed into four types which include sexual desire disorders, arousal disorders, orgasm disorders, and pain disorders. 

  • Sexual desire disorders include conditions in which you experience decreased desire to have sex, reduced libido, or lack of sexual fantasies. It can be related to emotional, hormonal, or psychological factors. Aging is also a natural factor that decreases sexual desire over time. 
  • Arousal disorders can manifest in different forms in which you may have the desire to have sex but are unable to achieve arousal due to multiple factors. In men, this condition presents as erectile dysfunction (ED), in which a male cannot achieve or maintain a normal erection. 
  • Orgasm disorders include premature ejaculation, delayed orgasm, or inability to achieve orgasm after regular sexual activity. You may also experience particular symptoms after achieving an orgasm, such as anxiety, muscle pain, headache, etc. 
  • Pain disorders are when moderate to severe pain is experienced during sexual activity. It is more prevalent in women due to physiological causes such as aging, vaginal dryness, etc. Perception of pain before sexual activity can also cause distress and reduced pleasure. 

Do You Need to See a Doctor?

Many people are afraid to talk about sexual dysfunction or seek professional help because it is considered a societal taboo and a reason for social embarrassment. You need to understand the signs or symptoms of sexual dysfunction, and it is always beneficial to discuss it with your trusted doctor. Appropriate measures can treat the majority of sexual cases. But the first step is to address the problem and its cause. 
Your doctor may require a detailed history of your symptoms, past sexual activities, relationship status, medical history, and other associated factors. If you’re seeing a general physician, in the beginning, they may refer you to a specialist depending on the cause and type of sexual dysfunction. Don’t be afraid to discuss your symptoms, and feel relaxed to mention every difficulty or inability you may have experienced to achieve the regular sexual activity.

Can Sexual Dysfunction Be Treated?

Sexual dysfunction caused by physical factors can be treated by addressing the underlying cause. Hormonal irregularities also require consultation with a specialist. Your doctor may prescribe specific medications to improve your sexual experience. 

Emotional or psychological factors can be managed by professional counseling or therapy. If one of the partners in a couple has sexual dysfunction, it can cause discrepancies in their relationship. It is beneficial to talk about this condition with your partner. Couples therapy can also be effective in achieving mutual understanding regarding this matter. Sex therapists can guide you individually to improve your sexual activity and obtain satisfactory intercourse. If you have experienced past sexual trauma or abuse, it is essential to receive therapy and counseling to overcome this trauma. 

Please do not take any medications unless a healthcare specialist prescribes them. Medications can be prescribed for physical or psychological causes of sexual dysfunction. To gain an opinion from a specialist and other reliable healthcare services, visit cura4u and register yourself and your loved ones today!

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Dr.Amna Zubair

Dr.Amna Zubair is a general dentist (BDS, RDS) and medical content writer. She has also gained a diploma in Modern Applied Pscychology (MAP). She is a healthcare enthusiast and likes writing on topics from multiple fields of medicine, including dentistry, psychology, and general health.